Cushendall-based Glens of Antrim Potatoes has invested £1.25m in a second factory and new packaging machinery. Part of the investment was funded by Danske Bank and a PMG Grant Scheme from the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD).
The company was established in 1972 by the McKillop family. The firm is the largest employer in the Glens area with 60 plus employees and is currently exporting its products across Great Britain and Ireland to a large multi-national client base.
The latest expansion has the potential to create up to five new jobs.
Michael McKillop, director at Glens of Antrim Potatoes, said: “In 2009 we first opened a 25,000 square feet storage and production unit in Ballymena. Since then we have experienced exceptional growth and have completed stage two of our development plans by opening a second 21,000 square feet unit and purchasing new packaging machinery.
“We grow new varieties of potatoes each year and spend time researching the best use for them and their cooking abilities. For the last year we have been developing a new quad pack product that we will be launching in the autumn. The pack is unique in that it sits upright on the shelf making the information clearer to read and the pack less likely to fall over. Our new varieties will go into these packs detailing the best use for them.”
Mr McKillop outlined the company’s future plans: “We want to break into the European market and further afield. We are looking at developing different types of packaging and varieties to target different markets as well as producing microwavable products.
“Danske Bank have been very supportive of our expansion plans and have been there whenever we have needed advice.”
Roger Hamilton, business manager at Danske Bank, commented: “The agri-food sector plays a significant role in the Northern Ireland economy, contributing £1bn a year. Local companies have a strong track record of export with 70% of all sales coming from outside NI.
“Glens of Antrim Potatoes is a market leader in the food industry and we are proud to have supported the company in their latest expansion.
“It is a great example of a family run business which has had tremendous success locally and across Great Britain and Ireland. They are continually investing in research and development and bringing new products to market.”