National potato supplier Branston has appointed a general manager for its new protein extraction facility.

Tom Seagrief has been appointed to the position in preparation for the company’s full-scale production and commercialisation of potato protein in early 2024.

Branston said Seagrief brings several years of experience in the food industry with him to the role and is returning to the company through this role, having originally joined the team on its graduate programme over a decade ago.

Speaking on his appointment, Seagrief said: “I’m excited to be re-joining Branston to take on the challenge of leading the new protein extraction facility and bringing our UK grown and processed potato protein to market.

“I’m hungry to keep developing and progressing in my career, and Branston has enabled me to do that through its aspirational culture and mission to continually innovate.

“This is a hugely important time for us, with Branston investing in driving sustainable change and better industry practices.”

Tom Seagrief

After placements in technical and finance, Seagrief gained experience in operations before being promoted to managerial roles within Branston’s site services and raw materials departments, the company said.

He also worked as a space planning officer at the University of Lincoln and in further managerial roles in production and operations at wholegrain food brand, Jordans Dorset Ryvita. 

Branston said Seagrief will be working with “a highly skilled team” to optimise the technologies within the factory, to convert large volumes of the low value by-product into a high-quality functional protein to meet customers’ exacting specifications. 

Managing director of Branston, Jim Windle, said the company was delighted to welcome Seagrief back and to appoint him as general manager of its protein factory.

“His production knowledge and experience with high care food factory environments will be invaluable,” he said.

“Tom has already fully embraced our ongoing mission to utilise all of the crops we handle, and to get the best quality, and most sustainable return for the end to end supply chain from every single tuber.”  


Branston said Segrief’s appointment follows on from its multi-million investment into its protein factory in partnership with RootExtracts Ltd.

The team began working on the most effective way to extract protein from potatoes in 2013, starting from a lab-based level and gradually scaling up to a commercially-viable operation. 

“The world is our oyster when it comes to the potential uses of potato protein, with the market for plant-based foods continuing to grow,” Seagrief said.

“I am thrilled to be part of the Branston journey as we fine-tune and scale up our operations to meet the demand for UK-grown functional protein.

“With the official factory opening due in early 2024, we’re focusing on recruitment to expand our highly skilled team.

“We’re also testing and optimising the final product, now in its pre-production phase, and working closely with potential customers to ensure we’re ready to gear up for full production.”