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UK-based jerky firm Meatsnacks Group has struck a lease agreement with Scotland’s Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) for a facility in Spey Valley formerly occupied by Young’s Seafood.

The deal gives Meatsnacks its second site in the Scottish Highlands, alongside its existing flagship beef and pork jerky facility in the nearby town of Forres.

The facility will start production on 1 August. Meatsnacks said an additional 20 members of staff would be employed at the site.

The plant will produce a new product, Wild West Deli Salmon Jerky, which is set to be launched in August.

“We’re really excited to be adding salmon jerky to our portfolio and we think it’s the perfect addition to our Wild West Deli range. We have been looking to produce the product since 2012 when we perfected the recipe and what better place than Grantown on Spey, the home of salmon fishing in the Scottish Highlands. The acquisition offers us a great opportunity to continue to diversify our offering and tap into a wider market,” explained James Newitt, managing director of Meatsnacks Group.

just-food understands Young’s stopped production at the site after the Highlands and Islands Enterprise decided not to renew the company’s lease. The agency said Meatsnacks was “one of several firms” interested in leasing the facility following Young’s exit from the site in March.

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“As anticipated we had a lot of interest in the building from companies in the food processing sector. The smokehouse is an attractive facility and some of the other interested parties may understandably be disappointed not to have secured the lease,” said David Oxley, HIE area manager in Moray. “The facility has been a valuable economic asset for Grantown and an important place for local employment. We are very pleased to see it becoming an active production facility once more, and look forward to continuing to work with Meatsnacks as their business develops,” he added.