Food Technology Centre case study
Established in 2013, Mountain Produce grow leafy salad products, selling to pubs and restaurants in the local area. More recently, they have moved into the production of cold pressed sunflower and rapeseed oils as they continue to expand their range for customers.
Based on a farm on the Minera Mountain near Wrexham, Mountain Produce was born using hydroponic growing - the science of growing plants without using soil but feeding them on mineral nutrients salts dissolved in water in polytunnels. Growing their produce in polytunnels also extends the growing season and protects the produce from the weather and pests.
The hydroponic systems used are a highly-efficient growing method, using up to 90% less water than field grown crops – it also allows more produce to be grown in the area as the produce can be grown on multiple levels. The produce has all the nutrients it requires and never runs out of water when it is growing.
Support received from Food Technology Centre
With funding from Project HELIX, the Food Technology Centre was able to support Mountain Produce to extend their current shelf life of their leafy produce, and sell to the retail market during the COVID pandemic.
Mountain Produce grow a lot of green salads, peas and edible plants for local restaurants. As these outlets were closing down due to COVID restrictions, they needed to find a new market for their short shelf-life produce.
With the support of the centre, a selection of salads were microbiologically tested in order to assess their quality and validate their safety for retail sale.
The client also needed help determining the nutritional content on two new products grown and manufactured on their property. These included a cold pressed sunflower oil and a cold pressed rapeseed oil.
Some microbiological testing was performed to validate the quality of the ingredients and cleanliness of the processing; this was carried out before in-house assessments through the centre’s nutritional software. The centre was therefore able to generate a full nutritional breakdown for both oils for labelling purposes.
Benefits of the support
Chris Boyle, owner and founder of Mountain Produce said, “We have been producing leafy salad products for many years and going to the Food Technology Centre for support during the COVID-19 pandemic was a lifeline for our business. It meant we could validate the shelf life of our products and expand our client base.
“The Food Technology Centre has been great. The team of food technologists have supported us throughout and it’s always great to have someone on the end of the phone to take you through all the different procedures.”