04 March 2019

McDougalls picks up the pace for pancake day  

At Premier Foods’ McDougalls flour mill in Andover, no time is busier for the millers than the build-up to pancake day, which sees the nation flipping 15 million pancakes. To keep up with demand for the annual event, McDougalls relies on the skills of well-trained millers to ensure the mill is producing excellent, quality grade flour.  

Pancake day or Shrove Tuesday began as an opportunity to use up foods such as milk, sugar and eggs before the fasting season of Lent, and McDougalls has helped continue this tradition through its flour production since 1864. The mill produces around 46,000 tonnes of flour annually and at this time of year operation steps up a gear from twenty-four hours, five days a week to seven days a week - increasing production by 40%. As a result an extra 500,000 bags of flour are produced. 

Andy Tobin is a 60-year-old Mill Process Technician with 39 years’ service at the site. The Andover mill has been a massive part of his life and he always enjoys the build-up to pancake day. He makes his own pancakes at home opting for the traditional taste of lemon and a sprinkle of sugar, much to the delight of his 15 grandchildren.  

Andy has passed down his skills as a miller to not only colleagues, but members of his family who have also worked at the site over the years. It has become an integral part of his family with three of his brothers, his sister and his daughter all having worked at the mill. The family connection to the mill runs deeply, starting with his father who introduced Andy to the business. His then wife-to-be worked alongside him for a while when he first started and his two young grandsons affectionally refer to the mill as ‘the castle in the sky’.  

The McDougalls site makes self-raising and plain triple X flour via traditional milling methods and machinery which rely on the skills of millers such as Andy, whereas most modern mills nowadays use automated methods.  

McDougalls has been providing consumers with high quality flour for baking since the company was founded by the McDougall brothers, Alexander, Isaac, Arthur and John, along with James Thomas, in 1864.  McDougalls is now owned by Premier Foods which manufactures some of Britain’s best loved brands including Oxo, Mr Kipling and Batchelors. 


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