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Go4SET Kanes Foods Factory Visit

Students in Y9 are helped to design an eco-factory by Kanes Foods

Go4SET  Kanes Foods Factory Visit

This year we are taking part in the Go4Set project to design an eco-factory. In our project we wanted to challenge ourselves to produce every detail needed to build a fully functioning eco-factory, which is built with only recycled, renewable or sustainable materials. At the start of Go4SET, we chose to do our project on eco-factories because factories today cost the National Health Service £10 billion a year in air pollution damages. Factories contribute massively to global warming and so we wanted to research what changes can be made in new factories being built to make them more ecologically friendly, to reduce their carbon footprints and to ultimately replace the materials they use that emit greenhouse gases.

We designed an eco-factory that manufactures hydrogen fuel cells. We chose to do research into hydrogen fuel cells because another huge contribution to global warming is over 1.2 billion cars burning petrol. By 2035 it is predicted that there will be over 2 billion cars.   

To help us in designing our eco-factory, we visited Kanes Foods factory in Worcestershire which produces salad. It is an eco-factory that supplies salad to ASDA, Sainsbury’s, Subway and other large companies. The site is 28 acres, and they have many eco features such as: a green roof, storm water management system, and an aqua-bio plant which cleans water for re-use. Kanes recycle 350 tonnes of cardboard and 25 tonnes of metal tins annually which we found useful to incorporate into our factory as well.

Upon arrival at the factory, we were greeted by two workers who introduced themselves as Richard Thomson - Chief Engineer, and David Cleaver - Health and Safety Officer.  They then gave us a presentation about the key features of the factory and after that we put on high-visibility jackets and hats, removed all of our jewellery and prepared for our tour around the factory.

We first went to the salad part of the factory where we went through two stages of sanitation to enter. The first stage was to put on sterilised wellies and two hairnets, then we thoroughly washed our hands and went downstairs to the second stage of sanitation. In the second stage of sanitation, we put on noise cancelling headphones and large, white jackets, then we washed our hands again. The production line was also kept at a temperature of 2°C to keep the product fresh, and it was washed in a mixture of water and chlorine dioxide to make the product safe to eat. The salad factory was very interesting as we got to see the processes that the salad goes through to make it safe to eat and to also package it ready for shops.

After visiting the salad factory, we visited the aqua-biotics in the factory. In the aqua-biotics, dirty water is put through stages of cleaning until it is fully sanitised. Once it has been cleaned, the water is too clean to drink and so it is then mixed with Severn Trent water to make it safe to drink. The factory recycles 60% of the water they use for cleaning food, with 74,000 litres passing through the system each hour, and 1.8 million litres daily.

The visit helped us gather information which we could not find online and gave us a really good insight into how factories work. The trip was really informative and enjoyable and we really appreciate Kanes Foods for letting us visit.

By Alex Farren, Y9