100 new jobs created at Co Antrim paper straw plant for McDonald's
A GLOBAL packaging company has opened a new Co Antrim factory, creating 100 jobs.
Finnish firm, Huhtamaki will make paper straws for fast food giant and long-term client, McDonald's from its new base in Kilbegs Business Park, Antrim.
It is the first facility of its kind on the island of Ireland and the company, which also has a presence in Belfast, Lurgan and Lisburn, plans to invest approximately £12 million in the factory over the next five years.
The major investment comes less than a year after McDonald's announced it would introduce paper straws to more than 1,300 UK and Irish restaurants in 2019.
Earlier this year Huhtamaki announced a global investment in its paper straw capacity within its foodservice business segment, starting in Northern Ireland.
Ciaran Doherty, general manager of Huhtamaki Food Services Belfast said they are proud to continue the business relationship with McDonald's at the new factory.
“We value McDonald's trust in us and today celebrate another landmark in a relationship that now spans over 30 years," he said.
“Our sustainably sourced paper straws are made with new, purpose-built machinery to deliver a premium product with 100 per cent of paper used in all straws and wrapping, PEFC certified.? Starting with Antrim, Huhtamaki plans to expand its manufacturing capacity into other key markets across Europe and globally."
McDonald's chief financial officer for UK and Ireland, John Park opened the new paper straw facility and described Huhtamaki as a "trusted partner".
"Last year our customers asked us to change our plastic straws to paper ones, we listened and are making that switch with the support and partnership of suppliers like Huhtamaki," he said.
"We are proud to be doing the right thing in rolling out paper straws across our UK and Irish restaurants, and will continue to invest in making our business as environmentally sustainable as possible – this is just one step on that journey."
The investment from Huhtamaki has been supported by £480,000 from Invest NI.
Alastair Hamilton, CEO of Invest NI said the new manufacturing facility will bring positive benefits to the Antrim area.
“This latest investment and innovative project will create new jobs, support the local supply chain, and also help deliver environmentally through the production of sustainably sourced paper straws."
“Huhtamaki Food Services Belfast has a long track record of innovation and a reputation for delivery. It has grown to become a significant employer and an important Northern Ireland manufacturing business," Mr Hamilton added.