If you’ve always wondered what goes on inside Melton’s petfoods factory you will get a unique opportunity on Thursday evening when Channel 4 broadcasts a special television documentary about it.
Britain’s Giant Pet Food Factory, which airs at 9pm, focuses on operations at the Mars Petcare UK plant, on Mill Street, and its associated pet nutrition and science centre at Waltham.
The plant, which manufactures one million pet food pouches every day, has been one of the town’s biggest employers in the 70 years it has operated.
The 60-minute programme gives an insight into the staff and the jobs they do to help feed the nation’s pets and keep them healthy.
Viewers will see how employees carry out their roles at the factory, which runs continuously for 24 hours every day, from measuring chunks in the pet food by the millimetre to personally tasting dishes themselves.
One member of staff highlighted at the 14-acre Waltham science centre, which employs over 1,000 animals and 250 humans, is animal trainer Debi, who is shown collecting urine and poo samples for scientific trials.
The show also demonstrates how staff are encouraged to bring their pets to work to improve the happiness of their work environment.
Mars Petcare UK said the film crew quickly became friendly and familiar faces at the factory, office and at the Waltham centre from when they started filming for the documentary 18 months ago.
A spokesperson said: “It was very exciting.
“We all love, and are passionate about, what we do here at Mars Petcare UK so to be able to showcase that to the nation is something we’re all thrilled about.
“Even though a number of us were a bit nervous about getting in front of the camera it was a fantastic experience and something everyone is incredibly proud to have been a part of.
“We can’t wait to watch it on television this week.”
The spokesperson added: “The documentary is an authentic look behind the scenes at what makes Mars Petcare tick, and by presenting the business in this transparent and honest way we hope to change some of the perceptions on pre-prepared pet food and give insight into exactly what goes into developing and manufacturing our products, which is something a lot of consumers aren’t aware of.
“We’re pet people, we know that pets make our lives better.
“That’s why we’re confident in opening our doors and showing viewers the way we work, how our products are made and the philosophy by which we live.”
Joe Leveridge, site research and development manager at Mars Petcare UK, said: “We know how much love there is for pets in this country.
“That’s why I’m delighted to be opening our factory doors for the first time and showing everyone just how much research, expertise and passion goes into creating products that feed so many of Britain’s furrier friends.
“I’m so excited to take the viewers on this journey with me and my colleagues and share how we are guided by our purpose of making a better world for pets.”
Describing the one-off documentary, which is narrated by comedian Robert Webb, Channel 4’s factual entertainment commissioning editor, Becky Cadman, said: “This is an eye-opening insight into what goes on behind the scenes at one of the UK’s biggest pet food manufacturers.”
The programme was made for the channel by Whitworth Media, whose creative director, Hugh Whitworth, said: ”This has been an amazing journey into a rarely glimpsed world of poo-centric science, pet-mad employees and what really goes into making mass-produced pet food.”
Britain’s Giant Pet Food Factory will air on Channel 4 at 9pm on Thursday.
The programme follows just a month after millions of viewers tuned into a prime time BBC1 documentary based on Melton’s hosting of the annual British Pie Awards.
The viewer numbers were further boosted by online and TV catch-up viewings of the show and the makers expect that will also be the case with this week’s Mars Petcare programme.