‘Malt brand is ideally located in Suffolk – but A14 needs an upgrade’
PUBLISHED: 06:00 17 February 2020 | UPDATED: 07:48 17 February 2020
Malt firm Muntons is in the middle of future-proofing the business with a multi-million pound investment programme in its Stowmarket site – but its boss would like to see a major upgrade of the nearby A14.
The factory investment will see increases in capacity, upgrading of existing plant and diversification into "exciting new areas" over the next few years.
MORE - Malt business strengthens foothold in Asia after taking over Thai factory
Virtually all the firm's malted ingredients are made using malting barley sourced from with a 50-mile radius of the town, and it remains firmly committed to Suffolk.
But the A14 - the main artery for transport in the region, providing access to the Port of Felixstowe, the midlands and the rest of the country - needs an upgrade, group managing director Mark Tyldesley suggests.
He describes the firm's location in Stowmarket as "ideal, not just for easy access to some of the finest barley's in the world, but, having the bustling port of Felixstowe on our doorstep provides easy access to export destinations".
He would like to see improvements in the county's transport infrastructure - which can buckle under pressure.
"Our county suffers from a lack of motorways, meaning that the current road infrastructure is stretched, often to breaking point," he says.
"It has long been suggested that the A14 should be upgraded to a three-lane motorway which would prove beneficial for local businesses."
Location is key for the brand, he says.
"Our reputation has been built on quality, so our maltings are situated amongst prime malting barley regions."
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The £100m turnover company - which employs 360 people globally including 280 in Stowmarket - was founded in Bedford in 1921 by the Wells and Munton families, and remains a family-owned company to this day.
It moved to Stowmarket in 1948 and built another maltings in Yorkshire in 1965. Since then it has increased its capacity significantly, recently opening offices in Singapore and Holland, built a factory and new product development (NPD) centre in Thailand and formed a company in the USA to service the requirements of the North American market.
Although investing heavily in its Stowmarket headquarters, this does not preclude adding manufacturing plants in other parts of the world, he adds.
"Our range of products has increased to meet the requirements of our global customers," explains Mark.
"We ship our products to more than 76 countries, supplying our ranges of malts, malt extracts, homebrew kits, flours and flakes to the creative food and drink industry.
"Our programme of continued investment has made the Muntons group one of the most forward-looking malt and malted ingredient manufacturers in the world."
Mark, who took up his role in January 2018, previously held senior positions with Proctor and Gamble, Tesco, Premier Foods and was latterly as chief executive of Jeyes Group. Although born in Beverley, Yorkshire, he grew up and was educated in Hadleigh in Suffolk and went on to study law at Nottingham University.
His international experience has included roles in Africa, Europe and the Middle East. He would love to see Suffolk lead the way in championing diversity, encouraging more girls to study STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects and engineering, he says.
"We are privileged to have not just easy access to our prime raw material here in Suffolk, but also to a loyal and trustworthy workforce. This has helped support and endorse the quality of our brand," says Mark.
He adds: "Our strong belief in sustainability ensures that we continue to lead the field when it comes to environmental issues, making us the greenest maltster in the world."