Hello Fresh, the country's leading meal kit provider, has opened its third national distribution centre in Derby.
The giant centre, which is called The Orchard, will receive fresh produce which will be packaged into personalised meal kits for customers across the UK.
Hello Fresh is confident that The Orchard will create 350 jobs for people in Derby within its first few months.
Hello Fresh UK CEO, Laurent Guillemain was at the opening of the facility and said that the day represented a huge investment into the business, which saw massive gains during the lockdown.
He told Derbyshire Live: "We're delighted to move to Derby. There are multiple reasons why. First of all, the talent that is in Derby was one of the main attractions. Secondly, it is a great location as a hub in the centre of the UK with very good access, which is very important for us. Thirdly, there is this a fantastic building.
"It is a futuristic food production hub and we really bought into the vision and the values behind this park."
Kate Hancock, director of SmartParc told Derbyshire Live: "SmartParc is a new venture for food manufacturing and logistics here in Derby. We are providing specifically-built facilities for the food industry across 120 acres."
The completion of SmartParc is four years in the making, says Hancock, although work at the Spondon site started last year. She said:
"This park is going to provide manufacturers and logistics providers with a specific place built and designed just for food manufacturing.
"It is going to bring together all of those companies who can work collaboratively so smaller companies can then have the weight of a larger company because they are going to work together on the park. We are also providing fantastic sustainability options for tenants of the park, which can share energy, which would not be possible if they were setting up on their own."
Hello Fresh's facility, The Orchard has a giant warehouse space which is chilled to 3°C to keep food as fresh as possible. In the facility there are three packing stations and it spans 118,000 square feet (equivalent to the size of one and a half football pitches).
Each packing station is dedicated to either ice, food that requires chilling or food that does not, such and vegetables and spices. Completed boxes are weight checked before moving to giant shelving units ready to be distributed across the UK.
The company has set up a collaboration with Solid Rock Derby, a local food bank, which will receive surplus food as donations to cut down on food waste.
Hello Fresh says that after an item is packed, the customer will receive their box of meals by the next day.