Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster has announced that local food processor Finnebrogue is investing £2.5million to expand exports.
The Minister made the announcement during a visit to the Downpatrick firm, which is based at Finnebrogue Estate. It has already created 35 new jobs since June as part of the investment project and it currently employs 65 people.
Finnebrogue is being assisted by Invest Northern Ireland, and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development through the EU Processing and Marketing Grant scheme, to expand its successful range of added-value sausage and venison products. The premium products have already been listed by major food retailers including Marks and Spencer, Waitrose and Tesco and are available throughout the UK and Ireland.
Arlene Foster said: “This is an immensely important investment by a company which has established an impressive record in offering major retailers highly innovative products, backed by excellent customer-focused services. The company’s sharp focus on new products, sales outside Northern Ireland and the additional employment that this will provide are an important boost for a predominantly rural community. It will also offer local suppliers opportunities to expand their business.
“Finnebrogue’s success is a further example of the huge contribution that the local food and drink processing industry is making to the wellbeing of the rural economy. It’s a progressive and ambitious industry that is increasingly winning business in Great Britain and further afield, through a commitment to new products and thorough professional marketing.
“As a result of this focus, food and drink processing is now our second biggest manufacturing exporter, with exports having increased by nearly 20% in 2007. In 2008, total food and drink processing sales increased by 6.3% to reach nearly £3billion, some 18% of our total manufacturing sales. More recent data indicates that the number of employee jobs in the Manufacture of Food Products Sector increased by 3% over the year to September 2009.”
The Minister concluded: “The company is also demonstrating an impressive commitment to the developing world through its brand ‘Good Little Company’. For every pack bought, a staple meal is donated to someone who needs it most, every day, for two weeks. In just 10 months the company has supplied over 2.5 million meals to families in under developed countries.”
Finnebrogue Managing Director Denis Lynn said: “We are making this strategic investment to enable us to strengthen further our competitiveness in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland markets. It increases our production capacity and capability in key areas such as financial management, marketing and new product development.
“Our success in very dynamic and demanding markets is based on working closely with major multiples on the development of premium brand products, that meet both existing and anticipated requirements. Over the years, we’ve focused significant resources on providing them with a highly flexible and responsive service.
“A key feature of this new investment is the strengthening of our brand portfolio. This will help us to achieve our objective of trebling turnover by the end of 2012.”