County Down food producer Finnebrogue Artisan plans to create 300 jobs

A food producer based in County Down is building a new factory and plans to create 300 new jobs.

Finnebrogue Artisan, which is based in Downpatrick, is investing £25m as it enters the plant-based food market, which will take the company’s head count to 1,200 by the end of 2021.

The new plant will be Finnebrogue’s fourth new factory in five years.

Managing director Andrew Nethercott said there has been a surge in demand for plant-based products.

“Plant-based food does not have to be nutritionally barren or extortionately expensive,” he said.

“There is surging demand from an educated and discerning consumer base for more delicious, nutritious, sustainable and affordable food and particularly plant-based food.

“These flexitarians or meat reducers are our market.

“The people who buy our bacon without nitrites and our preservative-free sausages are the same people who are increasingly seeking one or two days off meat a week.

“This new facility will enable us to provide our consumers with the more nutritious and sustainable food they are demanding.”

The new plant will be the company’s fourth new factory in five years

Finnebrogue is also a supplier of sausages and burgers to several supermarkets.

Ten years ago it employed 30 people and turned over £3m. The company plans to reach a turnover of £220m by 2023.

UK Environment Secretary George Eustice welcomed the announcement.

“I am very pleased that Finnebrogue’s brand new investment will provide a valuable boost to local employment opportunities in Northern Ireland, advancing the company’s ambition to create and promote fantastic and affordable UK food,” he said.