Finnebrogue the Downpatrick-based artisan food manufacturer, is to create up to 125 new jobs following its £17m investment in its state-of-the-art nitrite-free bacon facility.
The Invest Northern Ireland-backed investment has enabled the company to establish a manufacturing facility in Downpatrick for the production of its nitrite-free bacon, hailed by many experts as a breakthrough in the food processing sector.
We refused to make a single rasher of bacon until we could figure out a way to make it better and safer.Denis Lynn, Chairman, Finnebrogue
Denis Lynn, Chairman of Finnebrogue Artisan, explained: “It has been known for decades that nitrites used in curing meat can cause cancer. That’s why, despite being the UK’s leading top tier sausage maker, we refused to make a single rasher of bacon until we could figure out a way to make it better and safer.
“We always set out to make food the best it can be, without being bound by the way it has always been done. And so, after much research, we discovered a process that uses fruit and spice extracts to flavour the pork, keep it pink and retain shelf life. We are using this technology in our Naked Bacon and we’ve had a great response from both retailers and consumers.”
Production of Naked Bacon began last year in Downpatrick and for the first time in the UK and Ireland nitrite-free bacon is now widely available in leading supermarkets.
Invest NI has offered the company over £1.3m of support towards the capital investment and to create the new jobs. The 125 new posts will be created by 2022, with 30 already in place.
Commenting on the investment Brian Dolaghan, Executive Director of Business & Sector Development, Invest NI said: “Northern Ireland’s reputation as a region that produces innovative, quality food has been enhanced by the innovation and development of nitrite-free bacon by Finnebrogue. The product has been welcomed by top food scientists as a significant advancement in food safety and has already found a market among health conscious consumers.
Agri-food is one of our priority sectors and it is great to see the new facility operational and producing this cutting-edge product. Our support is ensuring Finnebrogue is able to capitalise on its innovation and realise growth. The local economy will also benefit from this fantastic food innovation as the 125 new jobs will deliver over £3m to the economy each year in salaries.Brian Dolaghan, Executive Director, Invest NI.
In 2018 Denis Lynn was awarded Northern Ireland’s Business Director of the Year for Innovation for the development of Naked Bacon.
Finnebrogue Artisan also produces and sells The Good Little Company range of healthy sausages and recently opened a vegetarian factory producing innovative, meat-free meal options. It is one of the fastest growing food manufacturers in the UK with its turnover increasing from £5m to over £90m per year over the last ten years.
The company is anticipating that sales of Naked Bacon will add £23m to its turnover by 2022.
Northern Ireland’s food and drink is renowned for its Pure Natural Quality.