Firstplay Dietary Foods is adding digitalisation to the menu

A specialist food manufacturer has experienced a huge boost in productivity and profit after investing in automation technology, with the support of Made Smarter.

Firstplay Dietary Foods, based in Stockport, makes a range of low protein products for people with metabolic conditions like Phenylketonuria (PKU) which leave people unable to eat protein without risking brain damage.

With a growing international demand from patients and dieticians, due to the increased number of countries delivering newborn screening, the business has invested £120,000 in new digital machinery, increasing its blending capacity, while replacing a manual weighing and packing process with automation.

The business was supported by grant funding from Made Smarter’s North West adoption programme, a government funded industry-led initiative helping SME manufacturers invest in new technology and digital skills.

As a result, Firstplay has increased production capacity 10-fold, reduced human error and waste, and is forecast to increase turnover by 30%.

In addition, two operators are now focussed on more value-add activities such as sales and complex packing tasks.

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