Willowbrook Fine Foods creates 55 jobs

By Rod Addy

- Last updated on GMT

Just one of Willowbrook Fine Foods's convenience food products
Just one of Willowbrook Fine Foods's convenience food products

Related tags Republic of ireland Food

Willowbrook Fine Foods aims to create 55 jobs in a £2.3M investment representing “a significant boost” to Northern Ireland’s economy, according to its enterprise, trade and investment minister Arlene Foster.

“This is important investment by Willowbrook Fine Foods in the development of a portfolio of premium ready meals and meal accompaniments aimed principally at markets outside Northern Ireland,”​ said Foster.

“Marketed extensively under the Willowbrook Fine Foods brand it is a welcome addition to Northern Ireland’s developing range of branded foods.

“This development also represents a significant boost for Northern Ireland’s £4.5bn food and drink industry offering worthwhile employment opportunities in the Killinchy and wider County Down areas.”

16 senior posts

The cash would support the creation of 55 jobs over the next three years, including 16 senior posts in management and marketing, according to trade body Invest Northern Ireland (NI).

“I am pleased Invest NI has supported this investment with assistance of £192,500 through their Jobs Fund,”​ said Foster.

“This support is in line with a key recommendation of the Agri-Food Strategy Board’s Going for Growth strategic action plan for a sharper focus on market-led innovation in key sectors such as branded ready meals and convenience foods.”

‘Premium ready meals’

Mr John McCann, founder and director of Willowbrook, which officially launched its fine foods convenience range on September 24 last year, said: “The new company will focus on a very dynamic sector of food particularly in Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland. This is the creation of innovative and premium ready meals and accompaniments.”

He said Willowbrook would source local ingredients to support the new product development. The company had already launched meal accompaniments such as Creamy Colcannon, Parmentier Potatoes and Honey and Mustard Parsnip, ​he said.

“The new company will process and market these and another 25 products in the pipeline which are all aimed at the mid to high-end market sectors in the UK and Republic of Ireland,” ​McCann added. “The initiative is proving extremely popular and has already gained listings from key retailers.”

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