Photograpy by Michael Cooper
In picture are (left) Maynard Mawhinney, Invest NI Food Director, Peter Hannan and Paul Clarke of En Place Foods in Cookstown
En Place Foods (UK), a start up company in Cookstown, is investing over £500,000 to develop innovative products for export, with support from Invest Northern Ireland.
En Place was established by experienced chef Paul Clarke and Peter Hannan, Managing Director of Hannan meats in Moira. Hannan Meats is known for its ‘Moyallon’ branded meat products.
The investment will provide eight new jobs over the next two years at En Place, which is based at the Loughry campus of the College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE). Invest NI has offered the company £46,800 towards the start up costs including marketing.
Maynard Mawhinney, Invest NI’s Food Director, said: “En Place has identified a significant business opportunity for a range of freshly prepared foods such as flavoured oils and essences, pestos, tapenades, savoury marmalades, jams and chutneys, for both the foodservice and retail sectors.
“Over the next two years, the company aims to grow sales of its attractively packaged products, particularly in Great Britain, to over 90 per cent of turnover and to establish a foothold in key export markets such as the Republic of Ireland.
“The products already developed and being planned by this enterprising and ambitious company will help to enhance Northern Ireland’s reputation as a source of high quality and original speciality foods for upmarket retailers, professional chefs seeking convenience products and for home meal preparation.
“The company is also benefiting from the expertise, knowledge and facilities that are readily available from CAFRE staff,” he added.
Paul Clarke, of En Place, said: “We are positioning the company in the speciality food market producing products based on innovative recipes, quality packaging and high sensory flavour properties to achieve uniqueness and premium pricing.
“Our primary market is foodservice, especially professional chefs seeking different products for creative menus. To achieve this, we are developing a range of gourmet ‘short cut’ products that are natural in flavour and appearance enabling chefs to save time without compromising quality.
“The retail sector will initially generate 20 per cent of turnover and will focus on a relaunch of the ‘Moyallon’ brand particularly for the high end stores and hampers. The initial product range will include fresh oils, infused and flavoured oils, pestos and tapenades, reductions and essences, chutneys and relishes and oriental pastes and dressings.
“Market opportunities for the products we are developing are significant. Irish speciality foods have a predicted growth rate of 65 per cent over the next 10 years with sales via the Internet and delicatessen or speciality stores forecast to have the highest growth rates.
“Research shows that the UK speciality food market has experienced above average growth over recent years, with Datamonitor projecting growth of 5.5 per cent year on year. The market is valued at over £3 billion.”