Copyright: Michael Cooper
In picture is (left), Ian Murphy, Invest NI’s Managing Director of Clients and Entrepreneurship, with John Woods, Managing Director of Linwoods, with some of Linwoods whole sun-dried goji berries.
Linwoods in Armagh is being assisted by Invest Northern Ireland to expand export sales as part of a £4.3 million expansion programme.
The company is aiming to grow its existing sales of bread and milk products in the Republic of Ireland and to expand exports of its health foods to new markets including the US and Europe.
The company has already established business for its health super foods in key European markets including Great Britain, the Republic, The Netherlands and Spain.
The expansion plan was announced by John Woods, Managing Director of Linwoods, and welcomed by Ian Murphy, Invest NI’s Managing Director of Clients and Entrepreneurship, during a visit to the company’s premises at Hamiltonsbawn Industrial Estate, Armagh.
Invest NI has offered assistance totalling £300,000 to the expansion, which will also lead to 21 new jobs in bread and milk, and 13 in a new seeds line for its fast growing health foods over the next three years. Linwoods currently employs 250 people.
Mr Woods, outlining the project, said: “This is an important strategic investment that will result in a significant growth in our business outside Northern Ireland.
“Over the next three years, we expect the expansion programme to lead to a 52 per cent growth in sales, all of which will be outside Northern Ireland. To support the expansion in the Republic, we are investing in a new dairy line and exploring opportunities for innovative nutritional products.
“The global opportunities that we’ve identified to grow our health food business are extremely exciting. Our marketing initiatives in Great Britain and other European markets have been very successful and indicated the immense potential of our branded and packaged seeds in these and other areas. Indeed, a recent marketing drive in the US attracted substantial interest and important leads that are currently being followed up aggressively by our sales team.”
Mr Murphy said: “This is an impressive growth project that we are encouraging because of the strength of the company’s focus on innovation for markets outside Northern Ireland, particularly in the US and Europe.
“The new jobs will provide an additional £708,000 in salaries and wages to the local economy. It will also see significant investment in new products and marketing which will provide good quality employment opportunities.
“The investment in its packaged super foods will strengthen its position as a leading player in functional foods, a niche sector that is now experiencing fast growth in Europe and the US.
“The company has developed an extensive portfolio of attractively branded and packaged products that have enabled it to gain a market leading position and a reputation as the innovator in this important sector.
“Linwoods has used a number of Invest NI programmes successfully, including our Food Sector Marketing Advisers, to explore and exploit the business opportunity now developing from its strong commitment to innovation,” he added.