Irish food maker Kepak has invested in the expansion of its Cork production facility.

The investment, supported by the Irish government's Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation through Enterprise Ireland, has resulted in the creation of around 100 jobs.

The expansion is part of on-going innovation, growth and investment at Kepak's consumer food facility it said.

The plant comprises two main businesses. The core business portions and packs retail ready chilled meat packs for the Musgrave Group's SuperValu and Centra stores in Ireland. The facility also processes a range of ‘slow cooked' own-label and branded consumer meats and the Big Al's branded burger range. 

"Both businesses are focused on the EU retail sector and rely on innovative customer focussed solutions to maintain growth," the company said.

Total sales for the Kepak slow cooked business are projected to reach around EUR50m in 2013 as a result of the expansion. 

"The company is the market leader in this new and growing category both in Ireland and in the UK where it enjoys a 38% market share," the company added.

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The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney T.D. has announced the creation of 100 jobs as a result of on-going innovation, growth and investment at Kepak's Consumer Food facility in Watergrasshill, Co Cork. This expansion is supported by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation through Enterprise Ireland.
Speaking during a visit to the plant today (26th October, 2012) Minister Simon Coveney said; "Kepak Cork today employs almost 600 people across a wide range of activities with 60 of those positions alone created this year. I am pleased to announce that this is projected to grow by a further 40 during 2013 thanks to the success of the Kepak Cork team in developing highly innovative meat products to serve the retail and consumer foods market. That's an additional 100 jobs created in just over a 12 month period."
The Kepak Cork facility comprises two main businesses. The core business portions and packs retail ready chilled meat packs for the Musgrave Group's SuperValu and Centra stores in Ireland. The facility also processes a range of ‘slow cooked' own label and branded consumer meats and the Big Al's branded burger range. Both businesses are focussed on the EU retail sector and rely on innovative customer focussed solutions to maintain growth.
Kepak's ‘slow cooked' ‘range has evolved from a marketing concept to a vibrant consumer food business through the innovative endeavours of the team in Cork and this business unit alone will employ 150 people by the end of the year. Total sales for the Kepak slow cooked business are projected to reach about €50 million in 2013. The company is the market leader in this new and growing category both in Ireland and in the UK where it enjoys a 38% market share.
Minister Coveney also noted his personal pride in the fact that much of the success of the Kepak Cork facility was rooted in a partnership which had been "made in Cork". "Speaking to the team here today I have been struck by their pride in the partnership with the Musgrave Group which has been a huge success for both parties and indeed for the Cork hinterland. Indeed, the partnership is the bedrock of the Kepak Cork business as the company supplies beef, lamb and pork from the site to the 194 SuperValu and 465 Centra stores in Ireland."

 


Said Martin Kelleher, Managing Director, Musgrave Retail Partners Ireland; "We feel a huge sense of pride around today's announcement of 100 jobs. Musgrave and Kepak have been supplier partners over many years and we are delighted that we have played a role in creating even more employment at their facility here in Cork. Our business is based on long terms relationships with our suppliers and it is that shared sense of commitment on both sides of the partnership that delivers the type of results we are here today to celebrate."
"The SuperValu and Centra stores have a unique tradition of excellence in meat butchery and we are proud to support that reputation through the supply of specially selected meat for their craft butchery counters in-store", said Mr John Horgan, Kepak Group Managing Director. "In terms of the Irish market we have a long standing exclusive supply partnership with the Musgrave Group which permits both partners to focus on the development of the business."
Welcoming the announcement Frank Ryan, CEO of Enterprise Ireland said: ‘Enterprise Ireland has worked closely with Kepak in supporting its strategic investment and development to drive continued international growth. This is a highly ambitious and innovative company that has contributed greatly to securing Ireland's leading position in food innovation in the global food industry. Its success is a clear statement of how Irish food companies can expand their international reach, winning new exports and creating jobs at home. We look forward to continuing to work with and support the Kepak Group'.

Mr Horgan pointed out that Kepak Cork is now one of the largest employers in the east Cork area. "As our prime interface with the Irish retail sector Kepak Cork is a key facility within Kepak Group. We are investing in the site to ensure it remains ‘best-in-class' and to expand the production capability to service a growing consumer demand for slow cooked meats. The investment will create 100 jobs over the twelve month period. By providing direct employment for nearly 600 people, purchasing livestock from farmers and in sourcing other raw materials and services Kepak Cork is contributing about €200m annually in the local economy", he said. "We are also active in supporting local enterprise and voluntary initiatives through our corporate and social responsibility programme."
"I would also like to take this opportunity to express Kepak Group's gratitude to Enterprise Ireland and to An Bord Bia for their on-going support and assistance over the years", Mr Horgan continued. "In particular, their support for innovation is vitally important not just for Kepak but for the future of the whole Irish food sector. We have centralised all of the Group's fresh meat consumer focussed innovation activities here in Kepak Cork. The innovation team is focused on developing future ranges of chilled meats and slow cooked products to meet ever evolving retailer and consumer needs and to sustain development plans to further grow exports and employment.
The prepared food sector is currently experiencing double digit growth and forecasts for future remain very positive. Valuable market opportunities continue to become available to Irish food companies who are willing to undertake investment in research and to build the capability to respond quickly to consumer demands. The Kepak Cork innovation team currently comprises ten full time staff of technologists, commercial managers and marketing specialists. The team focuses on all aspects of food technology and marketing ranging from concepts, consumer insights, trade marketing and product development.
I am particularly encouraged by Kepak Cork's commitment to innovation", concluded Minister Coveney. "The future for Irish food lies in constantly adding value through innovation in order to compete on international markets and fulfil the Irish agri-sector's potential of being a major growth engine for the economy in the coming years."
Ends

About Kepak Cork
Based outside the north Cork village of Watergrasshill, Kepak Cork employs almost 600 people in meat processing and consumer foods marketing. Kepak Cork is a dedicated supplier of meats to the Musgrave Group in Ireland but it is also a major supplier of branded and own-label convenience foods products to a wide variety of retail multiples across the UK. The business is divided into two main divisions;
1. Portioning & packaging retail-ready meats as a joint development with the Musgrave Group. The core business at this Kepak Cork site is centred on the Musgrave Group chain of SuperValu and Centra stores. All the beef, lamb and pork retail packs as well as butcher ready primals are centrally prepared and dispatched from the site. A large proportion of the beef is also slaughtered on this site. This business unit employs over 400 people.

2. Processing & marketing branded and own label consumer ready meats (Slow Cooked) and frozen beef burgers. (Big Al's). The Kepak ‘Slow Cooked' business is an innovative and growing business. The €40 million turnover business is selling 17 million consumer-ready retail meat packs a year and employing 150 people. Meanwhile Kepak Cork processes 6,000 tonnes of frozen beef burgers every year, marketed under the largest Irish burger brand, Big Al's as well as a range of retailer own-label and foodservice burgers for both the domestic and export markets.

 

Original source: Kepak