Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster is pictured with Trevor Lockhart, Chairman of Linden Foods.
Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster announced the creation of 85 new jobs as she officially opened Linden Foods Ltd’s new £10million facility in Dungannon, today.
The state-of-the-art retail packing and product development facilities will bring new capabilities to Linden Foods’ operations, allowing it to enhance its competitive position and lead the way in terms of new product development and innovation in the meat processing sector.
The facilities are the result of a £10million investment by the company which will create 85 new jobs over the next three years bringing Linden’s total employment figure to 520. Invest NI has also offered assistance totalling £497,000 part funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
The new 5,740 sq m premises are located adjacent to the company’s main processing site and include an innovation centre incorporating a development kitchen as well as new preparation, production and dispatch areas.
Performing the opening the Minister said: “These new facilities strengthen Linden Foods’ ability to increase productivity and expand its activity on new product development, both essential elements for future growth. The new packaging technology in this facility will also have clear benefits for end users and will position Linden as a leading provider of packed products for the retail market.
“The food industry is a key contributor to Northern Ireland’s economy and one that has shown an impressive resilience to the economic downturn, better than virtually every other sector.
“The Focus on Food strategy launched earlier this year urges local companies to focus resources on innovation. Companies like Linden Foods are leading the way by investing in new technology and new product development for future growth.”
Linden Foods anticipates that as a result of the investment in the new facilities and in new product development the company will be able to increase sales by 32%, most of which will be in markets outside Northern Ireland.
Speaking at the official opening Gerry Maguire, Managing Director of Linden Foods, said: “Linden Foods business strategy remains focused on innovation. We are committed to providing our customers with a range of exciting new products that are well ahead of current trends within the food retailing sector.
“This new facility, which includes a dedicated development kitchen where new recipes can be trialled and crafted, is the next natural step for the company’s growth and will allow us to bolster our position as market leader within the meat processing industry. I would like to thank all the organisations who have helped us secure and develop this site including the Northern Bank.”
Trevor Lockhart, Chairman of Linden Foods, said: “It gives me great pleasure to see this new facility declared officially open. This plant represents a significant investment by Linden Foods in our business in Ireland and underlines our commitment to both our customers and employees. By specifically dedicating resources towards infrastructure and the people needed to bring ideas to life we are convinced we can underpin the future growth and profitability of our business.”