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Business Secretary praises Nottingham packaging firm on 'plastic switch'  


The Secretary of State for Business and Trade has visited one of the UK's leading food packaging manufacturers to see how it is helping its customers find alternatives to plastic.  

Kemi Badenoch MP visited The Wilkins Group last week in recognition of its efforts in spearheading the national drive towards net zero, by working with many of the UK's major food producers on their sustainability efforts.  

The family run firm based in Colwick, Nottingham, employs over 340 people at its HQ and has worked on numerous innovative packaging designs that have seen many of the leading supermarkets switch certain products from plastic packaging to carton board.  

Justin Wilkins, joint managing director, said: “To be recognised with a ministerial visit today was truly fantastic. Special thanks have to go to our constituency MP Tom Randall who made today’s visit possible. 

“We have established a reputation as a ‘go to’ company for innovation, design and competitive production, but to be recognised for our efforts at such a high level is a great achievement for all. We wanted to highlight the plight of many packaging firms when it comes to recycling & environmental initiatives.   

"Firms like ours are finding that we are creating designs in a bid to eradicate single use plastics wherever possible, but the recycling centres are not recycling the products effectively due to a lack of investment." 

“A headline trend over the last few years has been to reduce packaging in general. Our team often gets asked to reduce plastic packaging and suggest alternatives, and this is something we proactively promote to our customers.” 


Justin said: “Plastic packaging suppliers have very valid arguments along the lines of recyclability and sustainability and Co2 emissions; but it’s the perception – when consumers see something in plastic, they immediately think it's not as environmentally friendly compared to board. Our job here is to present viable alternatives to our customers." 

Business Secretary, Kemi Badenoch MP, said: "It has been a really interesting visit, I don't meet many family run businesses and it's a really interesting dynamic. I need to get out to see more businesses like The Wilkins Group who are making a difference, to see how they can be best supported."

The Wilkins Group was also recognised last year as a Business Champion, when Andre Wilkins, head of the Wilkins family and group executive chairman, was invited to represent the company at a reception at 10 Downing Street. 

After praising the Wilkins family firm back in 2023, Jeremy Hunt MP said: “Local businesses are vital for our economy, our day to day lives and our communities. Creating jobs, supporting growth in a huge variety of sectors, their tireless hard work does not go unnoticed." 

Praise from Government representatives are the pinnacle of a number of achievements for the Wilkins Group over the past few years. The firm was named Midlands Family Business of the Year, Best Business in the Pride of Gedling awards and it launched its multi-million-pound 50,000 sq. ft Phase 3 factory extension at its UK headquarters at Colwick Industrial Estate. 

The three-acre addition to the site also aims to bring further investment in numerous new machines, capable of assisting in the current demands of the wider food packaging sector. 

The firm - well-known for designing the LED light base for Marks & Spencer’s festive snow globe liqueurs – is setting its sights on achieving a £70m turnover in the next five years. 

The Wilkins Group now has manufacturing hubs in Colwick, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, India, China and the USA, employing 340 people in Nottingham and around 500 globally. 

To find out more, please visit www.wilkins.co.uk.