General Manager Appointed for New Protein Extraction Facility

Tom Seagrief re-joins the Branston team

Branston has appointed a new general manager for its pioneering protein extraction facility, in preparation for full scale production and commercialisation of potato protein in early 2024.

Bringing with him several years’ experience in the food industry, Tom Seagrief has returned to Branston, having joined the team on their graduate programme over a decade ago. After placements in technical and finance, Tom gained experience in operations before being promoted to managerial roles within Branston’s site services and raw materials departments.  

Building on the expertise he gained at Branston, Tom also worked as a space planning officer at the University of Lincoln and in further managerial roles in production and operations at wholegrain food brand, Jordans Dorset Ryvita.

Tom said: “I’m excited to be re-joining Branston to take on the challenge of leading the new Protein extraction facility and bringing our UK grown and processed potato protein to market. I’m hungry to keep developing and progressing in my career, and Branston has enabled me to do that through its aspirational culture and mission to continually innovate. This is a hugely important time for us, with Branston investing in driving sustainable change and better industry practices.

“The world is our oyster when it comes to the potential uses of potato protein, with the market for plant-based foods continuing to grow. I am thrilled to be part of the Branston journey as we fine-tune and scale up our operations to meet the demand for UK-grown functional protein.”

The appointment follows on from Branston’s successful multi million investment into its protein factory, which is the first-of-its-kind in the UK, in partnership with RootExtracts Ltd. The team began working on the most effective way to extract protein from potatoes in 2013, starting from a lab-based level and gradually scaling up to a commercially-viable operation.

Tom will be working with a highly skilled team to optimise the technologies within the factory, to convert large volumes of the low value by-product into a high-quality functional protein to meet customers’ exacting specifications.

Jim Windle managing director of Branston, said: “We’re delighted to welcome Tom back to Branston to head up our Protein factory at this exciting time. His production knowledge and experience with high care food factory environments will be invaluable. Tom has already fully embraced our ongoing mission to utilise all of the crops we handle, and to get the best quality, and most sustainable return for the end to end supply chain from every single tuber.”

The potato protein product is set to offer a highly nutritious and natural ingredient for the food manufacturing industry, with technical applications stemming from binding, gelatinisation and emulsification properties at its core. It can be used across a number of food types including baking products, plant-based meat alternatives, the deli sector and much more.

Tom added: “With the official factory opening due in early 2024, we’re focusing on recruitment to expand our highly skilled team. We’re also testing and optimising the final product, now in its pre-production phase, and working closely with potential customers to ensure we’re ready to gear up for full production.”