Mash Direct adds 40 workers

By Rod Addy

- Last updated on GMT

Mash Direct was set up just 10 years ago
Mash Direct was set up just 10 years ago

Related tags Mash direct Tesco Sainsbury's

Mash Direct has recruited 37 staff in the past year and aims to dramatically increase turnover and target further business wins following a new ready meal contract with Asda.

Marketing and export director Jack Hamilton, son of Mash Direct’s founders, husband and wife Martin and Tracy Hamilton, told “We will have new staff as a result of the contract”.

He said it would be hard to nail down exact numbers at this stage. However, he added that in the past year “we have grown from 103 to 140 currently”.

Doubling capacity

The contract to supply six stock keeping units to 363 Asda stores from this month would significantly increase Belfast-based Mash Direct’s UK-wide coverage, Hamilton said. In the wake of the deal, the firm could end up doubling capacity with a new 2,323m2 ​factory built to meet soaring demand, he added.

“We have the new despatch and packaging areas in, and as the year continues we will have a chilled high care facility as well,”​ he said.

The new factory, located on the company’s County Down farm, could strongly boost turnover as a result, he claimed. “We have started at £12M and will increase that to £15M, and with the new factory we could increase this further to £20M.”

Even more production capacity might be needed, given the signature of a recent contract to supply 13 products to Ocado and existing business with retailers including Tesco and Sainsbury, he said.

The Asda contract was part of Mash Direct’s strategy to capture a greater share of the chilled ready meal market, valued at £1.38bn at the beginning of this year.

Boost foodservice sales

In addition to targeting growth in UK retailers, which represent 65-70% of its sales, Hamilton vowed that Mash Direct would boost foodservice sales and exports to regions such as the US.

Mash Direct, which was launched just 10 years ago, won the award for Most innovative small food manufacturer in Food Manufacture’s 2013 Food Manufacturing Excellence Awards​.

To book your table for the James Bond-themed 2014 awards, which will be held at London’s Hilton Hotel on Park Lane on November 20, click here​.

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