Mash Direct cooks up rise in sales and profits

It's a family affair for Mash Direct's directors (from left) Tracy, Jack, Lance and Martin Hamilton

COMBER firm Mash Direct increased both its turnover and profit in its last trading year, which it then followed by being named as the UK's best company in the UK at the Food Manufacture Excellence Awards in London.

The family-owned firm, headed by Martin Hamilton and his wife Tracy, reported sales just shy of £15 million in the 12 months to February 29 last - up 5.7 per cent from £14.2 million a year earlier.

Its gross profit came in at £6.1m against £4.9m a year earlier, and its retained profit more than trebled from £301,517 in 2015 to £945,410 over the period.

The company - which produces more than 30 vegetable and potato dishes which it supplies to retailers across Britain and Ireland as well as to overseas outlets in New York and Dubai - attributed its improved performance to increasing exposure and launching new products.

"The sustained investment in the market of the company's brand has raised awareness of the company's product portfolio away from its home mark of Northern Ireland even further," said Mash Direct said.

More than half (53.8 per cent) of its sales are generated on the UK mainland, said Mash Direct, which employs 163 staff.

The company is now the biggest brand in the chilled side-dish category of the supermarket sector in Britain and Ireland, where it increased sales in Britain alone by more than 38 per cent last year.

In November it beat off the likes of Coca-Cola, Moy Park, Weetabix and Kellogg's to secure the UK Food Manufacture Excellence Award, which recognises outstanding performance and innovation in manufacturing businesses.

Director Jack Hamilton, son of the founders, said: "Even to be named among big companies such as Coca Cola means a huge amount to the team, and to take the big prize back to the farm in Comber is unbelievable.

"Having only started out 12 years ago as a small farm diversification supplying to local stores in Killyleagh and Killinchy we are astonished to have won company of the year."

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