Business

Kestrel Foods in £2m expansion in bid to boost exports

Kestrel Foods' Lorraine McAfee

CRAIGAVON based Kestrel Foods is spending £2 million to boost its global sales - and is creating 20 jobs in the process.

The company produces a range of premium dried fruit and nut snacks and is celebrated a year of record sales.

The family-run firm exports to 36 countries and has brands including Forest Feast and Acti-Snack.

The firm, which launched 20 years ago, has recorded revenue of £14.2m for the year to April - more than 17 per cent up on the previous 12 months.

And managing director Michael Hall said he wanted to grow that figure to £20m by 2020.

All of the firm's products are packed its facility in Carn Business Park, Portadown.

It has invested more than a £750,000 in recent years in new processing and packaging technology to grow efficiency and capacity.

Mr Hall said the company's success was aided by its close relationships with suppliers and growers.

“This hands-on experience of the different characteristics of nuts, fruit and seeds from various, often vastly dissimilar growing regions ensures that the final consumer product is always second to none," he said.

“Our 20-year relationship with the PREDA Fair Trade foundation, based in the Philippines, has been a major factor in building a sustainable future for the communities from which we source and has helped both businesses grow significantly over the years.”

Financial Controller, Lorraine McAfee said Kestrel was projecting further export growth for Forest Feast and Act-Snack over the next three years.

“Forest Feast has successfully established itself in the premium snack sector and we envisage unveiling even more new product options in the next 12 months. Over the next three years we anticipate growing our export base, especially in regions such as the US and Asia," she said.

“Acti-Snack, meanwhile, is gaining a solid foothold in the UK and Ireland’s health and fitness sector and proving itself as a fantastic product for those seeking energy pre, post and during exercise. We have huge confidence that sales of Acti-Snack will continue to rise this financial year and beyond.”

She said the business would invest £2m over the next three years in a programme of brand support.

It is anticipated that will see the workforce reach 90 from 72.

“The money will be spent up-weighting our resources across marketing, advertising and communication with more than £100,000 dedicated to developing our digital presence," she said.

"These are exciting times as we gear up to meet increased demand for our Forest Feast and Act-Snack brands and continue towards achieving our long term goals through our 2020 strategy.”

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