Established in 1993, PFF Group is one of the UK’s largest independent food packaging manufacturers providing innovative packaging solutions to supermarkets and multi-national food manufacturers.
Based in Keighley, West Yorkshire and Washington, Tyne and Wear, the family-owned firm is now a £45m+ turnover business and prides itself on being at the forefront of the latest manufacturing technologies and cutting-edge processes. It is an advocate of the complete recycling process which makes plastic easier to reprocess and repurpose than many other materials.
To facilitate the company’s further growth ambitions, PFF Group acquired Sedgefield (Teesside) based Sirap UK in November 2021, a leading producer and supplier of thermoformed rigid plastic food packaging to the British market. The acquisition increased PFF’s brand share of the UK thermoforming sector and created the opportunity to manufacture a wider variety of products to a broader customer base, creating a new chapter for the business which PFF is confident will deliver its strategic ambitions.
During the pandemic, PFF used its packaging sector knowledge and expertise to diversify into healthcare manufacturing while maintaining its core food packaging function. In 2020, the business won a contract from the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) to produce 360m disposable polythene aprons for frontline NHS and healthcare workers, investing £2m in new machinery and additional staff.
The PFF team was described by Michael Gove MP in the House of Commons as: “savvy smart Yorkshire businesspeople” who had “adapted their business models to help this country … it (PFF) exemplifies the best of British and the best of Yorkshire.”
The business subsequently set up a PFF Health division, specifically to manufacture PPE and medical product packaging and components. Components in many procedure packs are over-specified and use more material than necessary, leading to a high volume of waste and PFF Health are convinced that we can help to reduce this.
In PFF’s core sector of food packaging there has long been a focus on manufacturers being more resourceful and innovative when developing new products that look good, are sustainable and fit with the price requirements of customers. Using this expertise. PFF recognised waste in the healthcare sector could be significantly reduced by engineered redesign and using production technologies such as injection moulding to achieve a better result at a potentially lower cost. PFF sees substantial business opportunities for new and more sustainable products in the healthcare sector.
PFF Group has driven engagement about the use of plastic and how it can be reduced which it believes is fundamental to the industry’s future. PFF constantly challenges itself to be more efficient, sustainable and at the forefront of the latest manufacturing technologies and processes.
The business is an avid advocate of the complete recycling process. PFF produces its own sheet plastic from high quality food-grade post-consumer recycled (PCR) polymers. It converts more than 8,000 tonnes of post-consumer waste PET bottles and trays back into rPET food packaging each year.
PFF’s championing of sustainable packaging solutions has seen the business invest in the technology and systems to support this.
Recent investments have included £200,000 in new transformer technology to reduce PFF’s carbon emissions by 5% and a five-figure sum invested in new extrusion measuring systems to ensure less waste, as well as the launch of a ground-breaking, fully recyclable packaging product (IMPAC-T) which uses less plastic than equivalent PET packaging and is suitable for all food applications.
Across both its food packaging and health care divisions, PFF is focussing efforts on sustainable new product development and increased use of recycled plastic, PET in particular, into production systems as well as working closely with recyclers. Both divisions of PFF are members of Made in Britain which champions UK manufacturing.
PFF’s commitment to the environment has been recognised by Operation Clean Sweep - an international initiative that aims to ensure that plastics do not end up in waterways – and evidenced by membership of the NEXTLOOPP global initiative, helping deliver the world’s first commercially available recycled high-quality polypropylene (FGrPP), boosting sustainability and environmental targets.
As an entrepreneurial business, there are many opportunities at PFF for young people keen to work in a vibrant part of manufacturing. PFF Group anticipates the recruitment of a substantial number of additional staff at the former Sirap UK site.