Jobs boost as Finnebrogue opens new £3m vegan factory
CLOSE to 100 jobs are being created in Co Down as part of a £3 million investment in the north's first-ever vegan and vegetarian factory.
Finnebrogue Artisan, the UK's leading top tier sausage producer, is making the major diversification into meat-free products.
The state-of-the-art vegan and vegetarian facility will open on a site adjacent to its existing food-processing plant outside Downpatrick.
The family-owned Finnebrogue business - where sales have spiralled from around £5 million a decade ago to more than £80 million - has revolutionised the bacon and ham market in the last 12 months by launching the first mass-produced nitrite-free alternatives.
It has been producing vegetarian and vegan products for three years, but the opening of this new factory marks a significant up-scaling of the firm's meat-free production.
It is expected to turn over £30 million a year when at full capacity and will provide up to 90 new jobs.
Managing director Brian McMonagle said: “Finnebrogue has always prided itself on providing consumers delicious, innovative products, and given the increasing demand for vegan and vegetarian alternatives, this new factory was the obvious next step in our extraordinary growth.
“We are determined not to stand still and are always looking to make food the best it can possibly be, without being bound by the way it's always been done.
“More and more people are switching to a vegan or vegetarian diet – and even meat eaters are increasingly seeking a day or two off a week."
Finnebrogue is one of the fastest growing food manufacturers in the UK. As well as its soaring sausage business and ground-breaking naked bacon and naked ham, it is a top supplier of venison and wagyu beef to many of the nation's leading retailers.
Figures from market research company Mintel show 34 per cent of meat eaters reduced their meat consumption in 2018, with a further 21 per cent saying they would be interested in limiting or reducing their meat consumption in the future.
Mr McMonagle added: “Alongside the opening of our new factory, our new product development team is doing extensive work to make some of the tastiest meat-free products on the market.”