The factory was built between 2008 and 2010 on a brownfield site in Swarzędz, east of Poznań, home to Volkswagen and Imperial Tobacco. Twinings – part of Associated British Foods – was originally founded by Thomas Twining in 1703. The world's third-best selling tea brand (after Lipton and Tetley) and number one premium brand, Twinings produces 400 different blends of tea in Swarzędz, as tea bags, in pyramids, and loose tea.
The purpose of the meeting held on 21 April 2017 was to bring together managers responsible for energy usage in manufacturing facilities across the Wielkopolska region. There were two presentations – one from energy distributor Enea, and second from law firm/consultancy KDG Piotr Bober.
Before the substantive part of the meeting, Twining's plant manager Artur Kanigowski presented the history of the Swarzędz factory and its contribution to AB Foods' strong position in the beverages sector.
Sławomir Dorożko and Mateusz Kowalski from Enea talked about demand-side response (DSR), the mechanism whereby intensive users of energy would be paid to resign from the power they've contracted to buy. The purpose of DSR is to forestall blackouts in the hottest months of the year, when cooling the power generators is most problematic. Dr Piotr Bober and Dr Jacek Masiota from KDG Piotr Bober talked about the legal solutions that manufacturers can turn to to compensate themselves in cases when production is interrupted by power outages. The most important element to securing your business financially is a properly drafted contract with your energy supplier, said Dr Bober.
After an open discussion focused on the balance of power between energy suppliers and intensive consumers, it was time for the factory visit – seen as the compelling part of any Manufacturing Industries group meeting.
Participants had the chance to see how Twinings blends and packages tea – from best-sellers such as the classic English Breakfast and Lady Grey through to fruit-scented mixes. Many interesting facts were imparted; each batch of English Breakfast is made of slightly different compositions of seven or eight teas, but human expertise is paramount in ensuring that the taste is consistent from batch to batch. In an era of high automation (pallets are packed by robots; boxes of tea move along conveyors to the right destination like little trucks on motorways), there's no substitute for human taste-buds!