A £2million investment by a leading Northern Ireland bakery has been announced by Enterprise, Trade and Invesment Minister, Barry Gardiner, MP.
Allied Bakeries Ireland is upgrading its pancake line, increasing production capacity by some 160%.
Mr Gardiner, who visited the company to officially switch on the new state-of-the-art hotplate, said he was delighted to be announcing the significant investment which will benefit not only the company but also local suppliers.
“This investment will allow Allied Bakeries to grow the pancake market in Northern Ireland and to secure additional export sales in Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland. The local bakery industry has faced some challenges in recent years and it is encouraging to see this level of confidence, innovation and bold management.
“The recent report by the Food Strategy Group, entitled ‘Fit for Market’, outlines the way forward for the agri-food industry in Northern Ireland and encourages local companies to be innovative, develop capability, and ensure they understand the requirements of the market. Allied Bakeries is clearly demonstrating that it has embraced this approach and as a result is enjoying rapid growth and success.”
Allied Bakeries Ireland currently employs 350 members of staff in Northern Ireland. It already sells over one million pancakes per week and its main brands include Kingsmill, Sunblest, Allinson and Burgen. Alan Hempton, managing director of Allied Bakeries Ireland, said: “This investment represents a massive commitment on behalf of Allied Bakeries to the Northern Ireland bakery industry and in particular to the pancake category which we believe is ripe for development. Our pancake volumes have experienced 7% growth year on year over the past four years, with some 35% of our sales being exported to the Republic of Ireland.
“In order to facilitate continued growth and develop the market, we have invested heavily in a completely new pancake production line which will enable us to produce well over three million pancakes per week.”
The new hotplate production line will be the biggest in Ireland, stretching to 200 feet.