Food firm's international growth spurt brings 45 new jobs

Deli Lites owners Jackie and Brian Reid with George McKinney, Invest NI's director of technology, services and scaling
Gary McDonald Business Editor

WARRENPOINT food-to-go manufacturer Deli Lites is creating 45 new jobs at its factory in Milltown industrial estate as part of an Invest NI-backed £4.3 million investment to support growth in global markets.

And when the new jobs are in place, it will generate £1.3 million of additional salaries a year in the Newry, Mourne & Down District Council area.

Founded in 1998 by Jackie and Brian Reid, the firm supplies a range of hand-crafted food-to-go products to a raft of major retailers across Ireland, the UK, Europe and the rest of the world.

It produces more than 40 million products annually and employs 200-plus staff.

Chief executive Brian Reid said: “Over the last five years we've experienced exponential growth, securing new contracts with major multiples, cafe chains and blue chip customers worldwide.

“We've been working in partnership with Invest NI since 2007, and over the years it has supported us to upskill and grow our team and purchase new equipment which has enabled us to extend our product range and introduce Industry 4.0 technologies.

“Almost 70 per cent of our business is now export-led, which has been strengthened by introducing new innovative award winning ranges which are disrupting the ‘food to go' industry, whilst delivering on the changing consumer demands and proving popular in the Baltics and Scandinavia.”

He added: “The 45 new staff will help us to fulfil growing demand for our product ranges, expand our export reach in Europe, the UAE and the US.”

George McKinney, director of technology, services and scaling at Invest NI, which has offered the firm £499,800 towards the new roles and marketing development activities, said: “We identified Deli Lites very early on as having the potential to scale at pace, and we weren't wrong.

“Over the years, we've offered multiple supports to expedite its growth and the company is now experiencing strong export sales on the back of a commitment to innovation and service excellence.

“The Department for the Economy's 10X economic vision recognises the need to ensure Northern Ireland becomes a more innovative region that supports new business development, and our support to help Deli Lites create 45 jobs in Warrenpoint is helping to deliver this vision.”

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