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Private label or brand consumers are switching sq2

A tightening economy sees increased focus on private-label production, driving the demand for quality, cost-efficiency and sustainability

Private label or brand consumers are switching
Private label or brand? Consumers are switching

But is this change all about price?

Not according to Circana, a global leader in consumer behaviour.

Their research reveals a major part of the shift is from traditional trusted brands to retailers’ own mid to high-end Private Label ranges.

”…Sixty per cent of shoppers in Europe now think private labels are as good as national brands, and crucially: 21% of consumers who buy both, many of whom are middle-income cohorts, now think they are better than national brands”

Steph Cullen, head of Circana

Customer trust in Private Label brands has been won through retailers’ constant focus on innovation and quality.

Retailer’s manufacturing partners have a deep understanding of this market dynamic. As a result, they are ready to invest in mixing capability that helps meet retailers’ demands.

Brand Switch 2022
A clear switch to Private-Label

The Greaves Experience

In Greaves’ own experience, private label manufacturers are often more willing to embrace new methods than brand competitors as they seek our help to meet the exacting standards of leading food retailers.

Rapid mixing, repeatability, consistency and swift batch changes are always top of their agenda.

However, there is also a new focus on sustainability. Goals include reduced energy consumption, lower processing waste and extended shelf life.

The Greaves Effect

Greaves engineers work collaboratively with manufacturers’ technical teams. We first evaluate current performance and then offer innovative ways of achieving their objectives whilst complying with certification requirements.

Our initial consultation involves a “deep dive” into existing processes. This is key in identifying what additional gains might be achieved beyond our customer’s initial expectations.

We find customers are frequently surprised at the significant capacity and quality gains achievable through a relatively small investment.

Automation Benefits
Automation Benefits

Often, the number and size of machines required are less than anticipated. New mixing technology can dramatically reduce cycle times.

Furthermore, process waste can regularly be reduced to insignificant levels. As a result, this helps customers achieve their sustainability goals and deliver additional cost savings.

Greaves Deliver

In summary, Greaves’ collaborative approach enables our customers to consistently deliver quality products with the extended shelf life that meets retailers’ sustainability goals.

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A-Chem wins in Derby

Since its foundation in 1965, Derby-based A-Chem has become well known for providing liquid solutions to a wide range of industries.

Throughout that time, Greaves has been proud to supply the company with mixing technology. Our latest collaboration has delivered significant process improvements:

“….batch processing time reduced by up to 93% and a more stable product with a longer shelf life…”

A-Chem has developed a strong reputation for using its chemical expertise to develop speciality products in:-

  • Car care  (valeting & detailing)
  • Wood care (stains, treatments, paints & preservatives)
  • Industrial cleaning  (specialist cleaning and maintenance solutions)
  • Janitorial cleaning  (for general cleaning & catering applications)
  • Odour control (industrial odour neutralising & control products)

Early in 2017, James Davis, A-Chem’s Commercial Director got in touch with Greaves to discuss how the companies might work together to develop a new manufacturing base and lay the foundations for the next phase of A-Chem’s growth.

Implemented over a 3 year programme, A-Chem’s revitalised manufacturing capability has proved to be invaluable as the Company has successfully weathered the Covid storm.

“ We were ambitious to build on our reputation for creating innovative products, but our success has generated a number of challenges. To remain flexible and meet customer requirements we needed to be able to switch rapidly between different products whilst maintaining productivity and quality. We also needed the capability to manufacture in a wide variety of batch sizes so customers can order the quantity they require without being restricted to large minimum order quantities.

Another challenge arose from the wide variety of product properties, including flammability, foam generation, and low to high viscosities. Switching in and out of high viscosity mixes can be particularly disruptive – and costly when products require a long clean downtime.”

James Davis, Commercial Director, A-Chem

Greaves worked closely with A-Chem to understand the the detail of their issues and opportunities. This enabled Greaves to propose a staged investment plan with solutions to each of these challenges and importantly a clear business case to invest at each stage.

A-Chem has been a great customer to work with over the past 3 years.

James and his team have been open to our suggestions at each stage and have been willing to continue investing in their business to create an incredibly efficient and flexible facility. This enables A-Chem to produce some really innovative solutions on Greaves lab machines with confidence they can be replicated in bulk whether the batch size is 5 Kg samples, 200Kg, 1000Kg or up to 8000Kg

Edward Greaves, Greaves Mixers

James Davis continues…

“The new laboratory and manufacturing equipment range is now extensive and has transformed what we can offer our customers. It is a base that we can grow our business on, offering reliable and repeatable solutions across a wide range of product types. The accuracy when scaling up from the laboratory mixers to production equipment has reduced wastage of batches, and allowed improved our right first time targets, ensuring the customer receives exactly what they have approved during the development stage. With regards to High shear mixing, the closer tolerances between the impeller and shear stator mean batch processing time reduced by up to 93% and a more stable product with a longer shelf-life. In addition, the Greaves Flexi-batch system with fixed mixers and interchangeable mobile vessels ensures quick clean down with flexible batch sizes – something that is important to ensure efficiency when growing in various markets across very different product types.”

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Covid -19 Update – Greaves supports HMG Paints to expand sanitiser production

As the nation adapts to the impact of CV-19 we are all moving to a “new normal” in the way business operates and how we live our personal lives. This means many changes in the consumption of goods and services. A particularly important impact is the increased use of PPE and hygiene products. As a result, at Greaves, we have been working with several customers to support an increase in supply of the health and hygiene products the NHS, business and consumers need to stay safe.

Paint to Hand-sanitiser

HMG Paints in Manchester is the UK’s largest independent manufacturer of innovative paints, coatings and adhesives. HMG supply products for a wide range of speciality applications. Over a number of years, Greaves has helped HMG  develop a versatile mixing and manufacturing capability. A key feature is the ability to quickly switch between a diverse range of technical products. Early in the current crisis, HMG saw an opportunity to support the national need by repurposing part of this capacity to the production of hand sanitiser gel. They turned to the Greaves technical team for help in making this switch. The results can be seen in the following video clip.

HMG Sanitiser capability in action….

Consequently, HMG can offer manufacturing capacity to any brand seeking to produce its own liquid and gel product  – contact

As more people return from lockdown, the product is now being utilised by construction and manufacturing sites, retailers and utility companies.

Furthermore, the sanitiser is now available in 250ml Flip Tops and 5 Litre pack sizes, and can be purchased from,

 If you are looking for technical mixing advice for your production project, please contact us here at Greaves.

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Covid -19 Update – Collaboration helps global leader rapidly build production of sterile wipes

We are in a rapidly changing world. Consequently, little did we realise how much business would be turned upside-down in only 3 months. There is a long-established saying that change delivers innovation. The Greaves’ team is proud of our ability to adapt to meet customer needs. Inevitably, collaboration is a key element of this process.

Sterile wipes…in a hurry

Based in the East Midlands, PAL International is a global leader in the manufacture of infection control and hygiene products. Their products are widely used by the NHS and in healthcare settings around the world – expanding to 46 countries in 2019.

Covid -19 has led to a significant rise in demand for PAL’s Medipal disinfectant wipes. By mid-April, it became clear that PAL needed to expand production capacity so they contacted Greaves with an urgent request to supply 3 x 5000 litre bespoke mixing units.

Typically, it can take several weeks to finalise technical specs and place orders for this type of project. It can then be up to a further 12 weeks for procurement of materials, manufacture, 

assembly and testing. In the current situation, a lead time of 4 months+ would not work. The project needed a special approach.

Greaves, PAL and our suppliers collaborated as a team, reorganising production schedules and extending working hours. As a result, the entire process has been reduced to less than 6 weeks. All vessels and mixers are now in production and Greaves will deliver the first two units at the end of May.

While the Covid-19 pandemic is presenting significant challenges for many businesses and people, this is a clear example of adversity driving positive innovation that can deliver benefit into the future.

If you are looking for technical mixing advice for your production project, please contact us here at Greaves.


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COVID-19 Update – Methylcellulose base for Hand Sanitiser

The coronavirus lockdown persists in presenting significant challenges. Also, a central focus is increasing the production of Hand-sanitiser, a key to the UK’s national response to the Covid-19 crisis.

Recently, we have been receiving reports of difficulty with the supply of suitable gel thickening agents, typically Carbopol. However, methylcellulose may offer an alternative.

One of our long-standing partners, John Ryland, is a Director at process engineering specialist Ryland Research,

John contacted Greaves to tell us about the work his company has done in the manufacture of gelled alcohol fuel. This is very similar to hand cleaner in composition. Furthermore, the primary thickener used was methylcellulose, a common ingredient in food production.

"We have the know-how to set up gelled alcohol manufacturing plants using methylcellulose. As a result,  we would be happy to
support any company wishing to explore these options for the manufactureof hand sanitisers or similar.”
John Ryland, Owner, Ryland Research

In addition, Ryland Research has proved to be an invaluable partner over many years to Greaves and our customers. Consequently, we would urge anyone who is interested in options for alternative base thickeners for their hand sanitiser project to seek their help:-

Call: +44 (0) 1420 732237

Focusing on the positives

Since the early days of the pandemic back in mid-March, hand sanitiser has been on the radar for many manufacturers and the Greaves team has already helped several customers switch their capacity away from traditional high viscosity products to the manufacture of this greatly needed item.

We continue to work flat-out helping customers.

If you are looking for technical mixing advice for your production project, please contact us here

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Fighting Covid 19 together, safely

There is no doubt that the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak is presenting a considerable global challenge. As a result, it’s awe-inspiring to see how all in the manufacturing sector have pulled together in a period of massive change.

We are very proud of our own terrific team. We have worked together to create our Safety First plan to safely maintain production and support the needs of our customers in key industries including food supply, pharmaceuticals and healthcare.

Greaves’ Safety First Plan includes:-

  • Working from home wherever possible
  • Improved workflow to minimise contact
  • Minimum 4m between workstations
  • Rigorous cleaning and sanitisation procedures
  • Use of new digital production planning tools

With these measures we are on target to deliver current orders and have taken on several new fast track projects. Furthermore, Greaves are supporting our customers in increasing output of products key to the fight against Covid 19, including

  • Hand sanitiser
  • Anti-viral and anti-bacterial cleaning products
  • Food production

A time for positive action

Greaves help manufacturers adapt production


We have also helped a number of established customers reconfigure their production capability to address shortages of high demand items. Most noteworthy, within the past week we have advised two manufacturers of paints and coatings in the use of existing Greaves mixing systems to produce anti-viral hand sanitiser.

We are now in the process of contacting other customers with similar equipment and advising them how they too can join the national effort to produce these vital products.

Finally, if you would like to know more or feel might be able to help you in these challenging times, please get in touch.

Phone: 01706 824 191

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High-Performance Mixing Systems in Pharma & Food

In this article, we looked at the growing demands for mixing performance from 21st Century manufacturers

Here we focus on three recent examples of applications where Greaves has developed and delivered high-performance mixing systems for our customers…..

1. Contract manufacturer of healthcare and pharmaceuticals

Greaves client is a volume manufacturer of gels, lotions and creams. As a trusted manufacturing partner of major healthcare and pharmaceutical brands, hygiene and bio-security are of prime importance, alongside the ability to switch products rapidly and ensure consistent quality.

The solution – A 3000L CosMix System featuring:

  • Vacuum degassing & pressurised reactor
  • 4 fixed mixing tools – homogeniser, disperser, incorporator and helical anchor scraper
  • Fully isolated heating & cooling jacket
  • Direct injection of powders and liquids
  • Multi-jet high-intensity cleaning system
  • Touchscreen programme controller

4 alternative mixing tools permanently installed

Overview of the system in operation

2. Veterinary healthcare and pharmaceuticals

Greaves client specialises in the manufacture of veterinary pharmaceutical products> Prior investment with Greaves they had experienced problems shelf life and product quality and experienced particular problems with emulsion instability and processing heat sensitive products.

The solution – A 1000L ViscoShear System featuring:

  • Electro-hydraulic removal of mixing tools for easy cleaning & batch change
  • Interchangeable/portable vacuum degassing & pressurised reactor
  • 2 installed mixing tools – High-shear homogeniser and helical anchor scraper
  • Fully isolated heating & cooling jacket
  • Multi-jet high-intensity cleaning system
  • Touchscreen programme controller

3. Premium Chocolatier

Greaves client manufacturers premium quality chocolates and confectionery.

Batch volumes are low to medium but have a high value and products are often very sensitive to excess heat resulting in historically high levels of waste.

Product changes are frequent, so the client required a system to facility rapid batch switching.

The solution – A 400L ViscoShear System featuring:

  • Electro-hydraulic removal of mixing tools for easy cleaning & batch change
  • 2 installed mixing tools – High-speed disperser and anchor scraper
  • Quick release, easy clean scraper blade system
  • Fully isolated heating & cooling jacket
  • Spray ball high-intensity cleaning system
  • 0.5Ra polished 316L stainless steel free of residue traps
  • Touchscreen programme controller
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100 years and still improving – The Move to High Performance Mixing

2019 is our centenary year. Over the past 100 years, Greaves has built an enviable reputation for our knowledge and expertise in mixing processes and systems. While the technologies have continually developed to meet the growing needs and expectations of our customers, we have witnessed a significant acceleration in the sophistication of mixing requirements over the past 20 years.

Above all, with market forces driving a relentless pursuit of product quality and consistency, our clients have been pressed to constantly improve their manufacturing processes. As a result, enhanced technical performance and mixing productivity are now essential. These advances have primarily been achieved through process systems delivering ever more flexible control automation and a corresponding reduction in the need for human intervention.

In today’s manufacturing world, the Greaves Team sees a constant requirement for High-Performance Mixing Solutions and Integrated Mixing Systems. Furthermore, we have seen this shift across all of our markets whether industrial chemicals, food or pharmaceuticals.

Examples of 21st Century integrated mixing systems from Greaves

Consequently, many features that might have been considered as optional ‘add-ons’ or costly luxuries in the 1980s and 90s are now common requirements:

  • Hygienic design with no “hang-ups” to avoid cross-contamination
  • Highly-polished stainless steel
  • Integrated cleaning systems for rapid product change
  • Rapid heating and cooling for energy efficiency
  • Pressurised/vacuum vessels to control cycle times
  • High-performance shaft sealing technology to eliminate product leakage
  • Automated filling and discharge to expedite production turnaround
  • Programmable cycle control with batch recording for end-to-end traceability
  • Material and finish certification, FAT & SAT acceptance for comprehensive documentation

Notwithstanding these rapid changes, we are proud to maintain our position at the forefront of industrial mixing technology.

So, here’s to the next 100 years.

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2018 – Another Record Year

2018 has seen another positive year of growth at Joshua Greaves & Sons Ltd with numerous highlights.  Most noteworthy are not only the overall growth in the business but also the technical development of our mixers.We are seeing interesting trends with more mixers being supplied to the cosmetics and food sectors. This reflects a steady increase in the sophistication of equipment specified by our customers, both in terms of mixing capability and environmental consideration. Check out our newest and most sophisticated mixer ever pictured above.

2018 has also seen a record number of mixers delivered by us during the year.

Managing this growth demands continuing focus on developing the business.  Especially relevant is our sustained commitment to investment.

The importance of investment

Some highlights of our technical investment during 2018:

  • Investment in design
    • New CAD modelling software
    • Design engineering capacity growth
  • Investment in manufacturing
    • 10% productivity uplift
    • 20% capacity uplift
  • Investment in innovation
    • New CosMix Quad
    • High-level Pharma & Food compliance – URS/FAT etc.

Expanding workforce

Alongside our technical investment, we have expanded our team and our network

  • Expansion of the procurement team
  • 3 new Apprentices
  • 1 additional Assembly Engineer
  • A new Metal Finishing department

All in all, 2018 has been another encouraging year and we are confident of further growth, looking forward to more innovation in 2019

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Fast, Fresh, Flexible…

The world of food production is ever changing. A significant trend over recent years has been the massive growth in prepared and pre-processed food and ingredients. People simply don’t cook for themselves as much as in the past!

This shift in customer needs has been matched by a demand for ever-more flexible and efficient process equipment from manufacturers in the food & beverage sector. The Greaves’ team has stepped up to the mark to design, manufacture and install/commission class-leading mixers and vessels to keep their customers at the forefront of food manufacturing for the modern world.

Here are just 3 recent examples….

Pies and Desserts

Greaves designed and manufactured this system for one of the UK’s largest producers of fruit pies and desserts

Factors important to the customer were:

  • Shorter mixing time
  • Improved heat transfer
  • Rapid clean down
  • Product Flexibility (high/low viscosity), smooth/textured sauces
  • A design that could overcome a historical issue of product burning at the vessel walls


Stocks and Sauces

Produced for one of the UK’s largest food ingredient manufacturers, this large capacity, fast cycle mixing kettle is dedicated to the production of stocks and sauces.

Factors important to the customer were:

  • Short cycle time
  • Rapid clean down
  • Product Flexibility (high/low viscosity)
  • A design that could overcome historical steam jacket failures caused by fatigue
  • Comprehensive Certification



Chilled Ready Meals

Bespoke-designed for a well well-known manufacturer of chilled ready meals. This a versatile system excels in producing a variety of different recipes with two key stages:

  1. Sauce base dispersion
  2. Careful incorporation frozen vegetables

Factors important to the customer are:

  • High daily output
  • Product consistency
  • Retain vegetable integrity
  • Low operator input
  • Easy product discharge
  • Semi-automated control
  • Self-cleaning system

Again, we are proud to have delivered a solution that meets (and exceeds) our customer’s expectations.