The Northern Irish food sector is set to experience a major jobs boost thanks to increased investment from a manufacturer.
Linden Foods announced that it will be putting £5 million into creating new positions within the production part of its operations. The company expects to make 179 roles available as it reacts to the increased demand that is coming from the convenience food sector. Officials explained that the investment would be put into improving its meat plant in Dungannon and will be supported by the local government agency Invest Northern Ireland.
The company is market leader within the country for sourcing top quality beef and lamb and has already received strong interest from supermarket chain Morrisons. Invest Northern Ireland has offered £520,000 under its Jobs Fund to ensure the firm is able to reach its goals within the food retailing industry.
Speaking at a visit to the company's site, Arlene Foster, minister for enterprise, trade and investment, said: "This investment is very welcome news for the food industry which is a key contributor to Northern Ireland’s economy.
"The 179 new production and managerial positions, to be created in Dungannon with support from the Jobs Fund, will generate over £2.5 million annually in additional salaries. This is a fantastic boost to the local area, the local community and to the wider Northern Ireland economy."
Trevor Lockhart, chairman of Linden Foods, praised the support that has been provided by Invest Northern Ireland and stated that it will help its "leading position within the meat processing industry". The company opened a purpose-built facility near to its processing site at Granville in 2011 and has been constantly looking at ways it can improve its operations and produce the best possible products for customers.
Linden Foods also confirmed that alongside Morrisons, the company also supplies major retailers such as Marks & Spencer and Lidl with this latest announcement aiming to boost growth within its operations as well as stimulating the jobs markets within Northern Ireland.