Investment and innovation are two of the key drivers which will enhance the competitiveness of indigenous businesses by supporting them to diversify and prosper, Leslie Ross, Managing Director of Business International at Invest Northern Ireland stressed today in welcoming a major investment by John Mackle (Moy) Ltd which will consolidate its position as a key player in the pet food market.

Invest NI is supporting the £2.34m investment which will result in increases in production levels, efficiencies and overall competitiveness as the company instigates a move away from canned foods towards higher added value complete dry pet foods, a shift from economy to premium products and introduces more innovative and flexible packaging solutions.

Established in 1972 by its current Chairman, John Mackle, the company is one of the two operating pet food manufacturers in Northern Ireland and is best known for its Brandy range of canned and bagged dog foods, in addition to canned cat foods under the Cat Club brand.

Welcoming the investment, Leslie Ross said: “Mackle’s is a prime example of a local business which is prepared to invest and innovate in order to maintain and expand its market share. In undertaking this investment, the company and its management team are clearly demonstrating their belief in the future growth opportunities for the business and ensuring that they have the capability to address these. As a result it will significantly increase its competitiveness and be better positioned to compete at the premium end of the market.”

The investment will entail the immediate replacement of the dry dog food production equipment which will increase production capacity six fold and support the introduction of more innovative and flexible packaging types and sizes.

In addition, production plant for canned products will be completely replaced over a 2-3 year period, improving efficiency and supporting the introduction of new products to exploit market opportunities, particularly in relation to premium or gourmet pet foods.

Company founder and Chairman, John Mackle, said: “Whereas in the Republic of Ireland the preference is for canned products, in Great Britain there is a definite shift towards bagged dry product. As a result of this investment in more efficient and flexible plant, we are enhancing both our capability and our capacity to build on our position in our main markets, with a growing emphasis on higher added-value premium products.

“In support of this, we have developed a range of new products such as dried cat foods, which as a direct result of this investment, we will now be able to bring to market. “