Image by Harrison Photography
Pictured (L – R) are Brian Dolaghan, Invest NI, and Michael Hall, Kestrel Foods.
Kestrel Foods, the successful UK dried fruit and nut business, is investing over £750,000 in new processing and packaging technology to drive export sales, supported by Invest Northern Ireland.
The Portadown based company, which owns the Forest Feast and Acti-Snack brands, is receiving assistance of £60,000 from Invest NI towards supporting its export growth strategy, which includes the introduction of the new production and packaging machinery and the creation of 11 additional jobs.
Brian Dolaghan, Invest NI’s Director of Business and Sector Development, announced support for the expansion during a visit to the company.
Mr Dolaghan said: “This is a very important strategic expansion by a company which has invested steadily in its products and sales outside Northern Ireland. Kestrel Foods’ expansion includes the introduction of new technology and staff to enable it to achieve a significant uplift in sales outside Northern Ireland, particularly in emerging markets it has pinpointed such as Brazil, Uruguay, Spain, Italy and Asia Pacific.
“Kestrel is an impressive export-led company, a tremendous role model of what a smaller business can achieve from ongoing investment in innovative products and processes focused on sales abroad. As a result, the business now has very solid platforms in Europe and Hong Kong on which to build further international sales. The new machinery and resulting additional products will enable Kestrel to go further, faster, in global markets,” he added.
Outlining the investment strategy, Michael Hall, Managing Director, Kestrel Foods, said: “Our objective in making this investment is to strengthen our presence in new and existing international markets.
“By enhancing our production facilities, we will be able to increase production capacity, introduce new packaging formats and develop bespoke products to meet the needs of our target customers at retail, wholesale and foodservice level. We will be creating 11 new positions including a new Foodservice Manager to help deliver this strategy with maximum impact.
“2014 has been a significant year for our business. We have experienced both domestic and international sales growth for our Forest Feast brand and had an excellent response to our new sports nutrition range, Acti-Snack, across the UK, Ireland and international markets. In fact, our brands are now available in over 36 countries.
“This investment represents our ongoing commitment to innovation - ensuring we stay ahead of the curve - and the competition - in an increasingly fast paced industry,” Mr Hall said.
Kestrel Foods currently employs around 70 people in its plant at Carn, Craigavon.