McColgan’s Quality Foods in Strabane is investing £6 million on improvements in capability and manufacturing efficiency to enable the company to expand sales of its pies and other convenience foods in markets outside Northern Ireland, Leslie Ross, Managing Director Business International at Invest Northern Ireland, said today.

Mr Ross announced the new Invest NI-backed investment with Brian McColgan, Managing Director of McColgan’s Quality Foods, during a visit to the company’s premises at Dublin Road Industrial Estate in Strabane.

Said Mr Ross: “This is an important project by an ambitious company to enhance its competitiveness through substantial investment in the new products that it requires to expand in target markets such as the buoyant food services sector in the Republic of Ireland.

“Invest NI has developed a business solution with management in line with our Principles for Business Support that provides customised assistance focused on innovation and marketing.

“New product development has become exceptionally important because the company is operating in convenience foods, a marketplace that is being driven by the ever growing demand from consumers for new ideas in quick meals and snack foods.

“The project also fits well with our overall strategy for the food processing sector which encourages local companies to focus on the development of new convenience foods and to explore opportunities in food services,” he added.

Mr McColgan said the company had established a new product development team to enable it to pinpoint opportunities for its manufacturing expertise.

He said: “Overall, the investment is enabling us to build on our established competitive advantages which include flexibility, a good client base, a reputation for quality products, on-time delivery and the ability to offer a combination of products, including frozen/chilled and wrapped/unwrapped, to suit customer requirements.”

As well as an enhanced focus on new products, the investment involved an extension of the existing 45,000 sq ft factory by 44,000 sq ft including new cold and chilled storage facilities.

Mr McColgan added: “Our ability to compete for new business from existing and potential customers is also being strengthened by our investment in new production plant and storage facilities. This is enabling us to offer competitive prices by maintaining tight control over costs while undertaking the longer product runs that multiple retailers in particular demand.”

The company is also working with Invest NI’s Business Improvement Services on an agreed Company Development Programme that is designed to enhance efficiency by providing practical and financial support for training and development activities aimed at raising the skills levels of managers and workforces.