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CARR’S MEETS UNPRECEDENTED DEMAND AS PRODUCTION INCREASES ALMOST THREE-FOLD

Carr’s Flour experienced an unprecedented spike in demand for its flour during the coronavirus lockdown. The Kirkcaldy-based business adapted, increasing production from 150,000 bags a week to a record 430,000 bags a week at the height of the pandemic. To meet that demand, the number of shifts increased from two to four each day, equating to 168 hours a week, which essentially involved running the mill 24/7.

Managing Director of Carr’s Flour, Rob Munro spoke to fbm Update. He said:

We’ve had to be flexible and able to adapt quickly. As a business we were already fully engaged with home working and flexible working, which helped us initially. But the biggest initial challenge was the additional risk assessment and safety measures to put in place due to COVID-19 and the need for social distancing, without Government guidance, as it was happening in real time. We had to act fast, take the initiative and make things happen literally overnight.”

The nation discovered a love of baking during lockdown, which Carr’s expects to continue in the future. The last financial year saw a 3.7 per cent increase in turnover from £91.6 million to £94.9 million to the year ending 31st March 2020, and the hope is that further growth will come this year, as Carr’s introduces an online shop (www.carrsflour.co.uk) for direct purchases. It has also installed a new automatic packing arm at the Fife site, which employs 60, and has committed to additional investment at the site soon.

During the pandemic, when Carr’s was already extremely stretched, it set up the Carr’s Crisis Fund to help provide support locally, as part of its response to the COVID-19 crisis. In the case of the Fife mill, it worked closely with Dr Angus Turnbull, an Intensive Care Trainee at Victoria Hospital, Kirkcaldy, to purchase camp beds for the medical and nursing staff, at various hospitals, to use during busy night shifts. It also donated an industrial microwave to the temporary Wellbeing Hub for nursing and medical staff to use, at the Victoria Hospital, which is local to the Kirkcaldy mill.

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