Willowbrook Foods have announced a £700,000 investment into a new factory at their site in Newtownards, County Down.
The investment has created a new production facility which is state of the art and will seriously increase their output.
Developing new lines
After making the large investment, Willowbrook Foods are now looking to increase their production capacity, begin innovating new products, and support growth across the UK and Ireland.
They currently produce more than 20 cooked, mashed, and prepared vegetable lines, but they plan to more than double production of these with the new facility. It will take them from 120t to 250t per week. This will give them the opportunity to rise to the challenge of new demand, with new customers coming in for 2018 on the back of recent successes.
Along with the expansion comes the creation of new food jobs in a number of sectors, including some specialised roles thanks to the modernisation that has taken place throughout the site. They now have blast chillers, steam boilers, and floored drainage systems in place. They have added new technology to increase the amount of food products they can manufacture whilst still maintaining the same level of quality that their customers expect.
Movement of staff and production
Some shuffling has gone on since the changes were made. Their existing Killinchy base has been depleted, taking all of their cooked product lines from Killinchy to Newtownards. Killinchy will remain the site of the company’s main offices, as well as a few other features: their Food Innovation Centre, salad production, and bagged continental lettuce production.
The company has stated they may redevelop Killinchy in the future, but for now, the change has seen all of the cooked foods staff relocated from the old site to the new. In addition, they are currently undergoing food recruitment to bolster the numbers and live up to their new production capabilities.
Willowbrook Foods Managing Director John McCann called the facility “a new chapter”. He said that the company would be focusing on product innovation and maximising growth for the foreseeable future.
“Our prepared mashed vegetable products – potato, carrots, turnips, swede and parsnips, butternut squash and sweet potato – will be key during the year ahead, particularly within the foodservice and catering sectors,” he said. “Willowbrook’s core priority is developing quality convenience projects which reflect trends in modern consumer eating habits. We have spent a lot of time fine-tuning a high-quality product which has been proving extremely popular with customers over the last 12 months and this continued growth has helped facilitate our recent reinvestment.”
Willowbrook Foods won the fresh produce manufacturing company of the year category for 2017’s Food Manufacturing Excellence Awards. They have recently capitalised on this by securing an additional €2.5 million in business in the Republic of Ireland for 2018. They have also embarked on appointing dedicated sales staff for Scotland, England, and Ireland, an expansion on the previous arrangement which saw one single team covering all sales. It seems that they are looking to go into the future with big ambitions, and considering their recent achievements, it feels likely that they just might reach them.
There will be a range of different positions opening up at the company over the next year, including the immediate future. If you wish to stay informed of the latest job opportunities, and be able to get your application in first for those which fit your skills and requirements, then make sure to sign up for our job emails. These will land in your inbox whenever a position becomes available that would be suitable.