Hewitt Meats in Loughgall officially opened a new £750,000 expansion at its meat processing plant today as part of the company’s focus on faster export growth of red meat products.
The expansion, which was opened by MEP Jim Nicholson, was welcomed by Maynard Mawhinney, Director of Invest Northern Ireland’s Food Division, which provided £130,000 towards the costs of the development.
Hewitt Meats currently exports around 50 per cent of its products to customers outside Northern Ireland.
The family-owned business plans to create an additional 28 jobs and increase turnover through the investment in value-added beef products. Currently 32 people are employed at Hewitt Meats.
The expansion also includes the development and marketing of a new red meat brand offering premium quality cuts.
Mr James Hewitt, the Managing Director, who founded the business in 1974 to develop a market opportunity he had identified, said: “As well as developing new value-added products for key customers, this expansion includes a very significant investment in marketing activities that will raise our profile and enhance our reputation especially in regions outside Northern Ireland, where we expect growth opportunities to be strongest.
“Our focus on new branded products is designed to move us away from high volume sectors which have low margin and are fiercely competitive.”
Welcoming the investment by Hewitt Meats, Mr Mawhinney said: “This is an entrepreneurial business that is determined to achieve continued and sustained growth by focusing on innovation and on international sales through the partnerships it has developed.
“We are also assisting Hewitt Meats and other red meat companies to develop exports through ongoing marketing initiatives in the Netherlands, Italy, Sweden, Denmark, Germany and France.”
He added: “A group of Swedish meat buyers will be visiting Northern Ireland in April for a series of meetings with local producers. Encouraging and assisting red meat companies to look beyond the local market is a strategic priority for Invest NI.
“The company has recognised that the best route to sustainable growth is through greater investment in higher value products for clients that it has identified as offering access to substantial new markets.”
“The expansion builds on the company’s existing reputation as a quality supplier with a strong commitment to highly professional customer support services. It is also developing a reputation as a provider of quality and innovative products that often surpass market requirements. These advantages give the company substantial scope for faster and profitable growth in both short and long terms,” he concluded.