Booming demand for bottled water has seen job numbers soar by 20 per cent in five years at Princes Eden Valley.
The business employs almost 150 people, 12 of them recruited in 2014.
Its site at Low Plains, near Armathwaite, has three high-speed production lines bottling 250 million litres of water every year.
Ruth Simpson, corporate relations director at Princes, said: “Production at our Eden Valley site has increased to meet the growth in demand and the consumption of water as a soft drink option.
“We’ve made significant investment in recent years, and the staff numbers have risen along with our output.”
She added: “We’re committed to providing long-term, sustainable jobs at all of our production sites.”
The plant started production in 1991.
It traded as Well Well Well until its acquisition by Princes Group in 2004.
Almost immediately, Princes announced a £5m investment, including a new bottling line, to boost annual output from 170m to 250m litres. That investment has continued.
The site has installed a natural reed bed to minimise waste water and built a new warehouse to cut road miles.
A recent packaging-reduction initiative led to 200 fewer tonnes of plastic being used in its water bottles. The plant draws water from the Penrith aquifer, arguably the largest underground water source in Europe, and holds a licence to extract up to three billion litres of water each year.
Its Aqua Pura label is the largest British natural mineral water brand with a market share second only to Evian.
The water market in the UK is worth £801m, selling 1.6bn litres annually.
Growth is among the strongest in the soft drinks category with bottled water significantly out-performing other types of soft drinks growth.
Liverpool-based Princes, which is owned by Mitsubishi of Japan, is the UK’s largest supplier of canned food and is the 10th largest food and drink company in the country.
The group’s other brands include Crisp ’n’ Dry, Crosse & Blackwell, Jucee, Mazola, Napolina, Shippam’s and Trex, as well as Princes itself. It also produces Batchelors, Branston, Flora and Olivio products under licence.
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