Irish private-label ready meals maker, Ballymaguire Foods, is opening a plant in Lusk to help it expand its presence in the UK.

The investment will see Ballymaguire – which so far supplies Budgens in the UK – focus initially on "bespoke food and meal products with inherent 'Irishness'".

In Ireland, meanwhile, the company is targeting expansion in the catering and foodservice channels.

Managing director Ed Spelman told just-food demand is rising in both the UK and Ireland for ready meals particularly among time pressed consumers and those more concerned with eliminating food waste. Despite fierce competition in the UK, private-label supplier Ballymaguire is attracted to the market as 60% of ready meals eaten in the country are own-brand.

One of the ways Ballymaguire has won over its customers in Ireland in recent years, he believes, is through its policy surrounding traceability. Traceability has become an area of growing importance to customers throughout the industry following the horsemeat scandal of 2013. In an audio excerpt, you can hear Spelman discuss how Ballymaguire practises traceability and why it is an area that will continue to demand importance in the ready meals space going forward.

You can read a fuller version of our interview with Spelman here.

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