Northern Ireland speciality meats producer Finnebrogue Artisan has opened a GBP25m (US$37.5m) processing facility in County Down.

Arlene Foster, Northern Ireland’s First Minister, who attended the opening of the 160,000 sq ft facility on Friday (3 June), said the new plant would give the company “additional capacity to build upon its success in terms of new product development and sales outside Northern Ireland”.

Foster said Finnebrogue, which supplies UK retail chains including Asda, Waitrose, Marks and Spencer and Aldi. had received a capital grant towards the new facility and other support from the regional business development agency Invest Northern Ireland. She said Finnebrogue was a “real success story” for the province.

Finnebrogue chairman Denis Lynn said the new “art food” processing facility, which took three years to build, includes a “creative kitchen'”and features more automated processes as part of the company’s strategy to, “wherever possible, remove people from mundane tasks”.