UK food group Finnebrogue Artisan is to spend GBP25m (US$32.5m) on a manufacturing facility for plant-based products to meet what it describes as “surging demand” for meat-free products.

The Northern Ireland company – best known for its nitrite-free Naked Bacon – launched a plant-based range in May and expects to have a new factory for meat-free production in County Down ready for January to coincide with the Veganuary event when some people take a month off from eating meat.

Finnebrogue’s Naked plant-based portfolio is expected to be extended to coincide with the facility’s opening.

The company said some 300 new jobs will be created as a result of its expansion and it is forecasting that increased capacity will see its turnover increase from GBP100m in 2020 to GBP220m in 2023.

The new plant – measuring more than 200,000 sq ft – will be Finnebrogue’s fourth new factory in five years and brings the firm’s overall investment during that period to GBP80m.

The investment will take Finnebrogue’s head count to 1,200 by the end of 2021.
Andrew Nethercott, Finnebrogue’s managing director, said: “There is surging demand from an educated and discerning consumer base in Britain for more delicious, nutritious, sustainable and affordable food – and particularly plant-based food.

“These flexitarians – or ‘meat reducers’ – are our market. The people who buy our Naked Bacon because it is made without nitrites and our Naked Sausages because they are preservative-free – are the same people who are increasingly seeking one or two days off meat a week, but without the compromise associated with most of the products currently available.

“This new facility will enable us to provide our consumers with the more nutritious and sustainable food they are demanding.”

Finnebrogue is also a private-label supplier of sausages and burgers to several British supermarkets and farms its own deer and wagyu cattle from the Finnebrogue estate.