Ballymaguire Foods creates 100 jobs in output boost

By Alice Foster

- Last updated on GMT

Ed Spelman, md at Ballymaguire Foods, and Michael Hoey, chairman of Ballymaguire Foods
Ed Spelman, md at Ballymaguire Foods, and Michael Hoey, chairman of Ballymaguire Foods

Related tags Chilled ready meals United kingdom Meal Tv dinner

Chilled ready meal producer Ballymaguire Foods has started constructing a new factory as part of plans to create 100 jobs and boost sales in the UK and Ireland, the firm’s md told this website.

Production is set to rise to 500,000 chilled ready meals a week, up from 150,000 meals produced at its current plant near Dublin, md Ed Spelman told

The expansion of the site in Lusk will be worth just over £2.8M a year to the local economy.

“It’s a scale business and we have all the systems in place that will allow us to develop stronger partnerships with our customers,”​ Spelman said.

“We believe there is a lot more to come. People are more open now to high-quality, high-visual, high-presentation fresh meals."

He said consumers do not have much time and they increasingly recognise that buying ready meals instead of fresh vegetables cuts down on waste.

Innovation is key

“Innovation is at the heart of our business and everyone buys into it."

  • Ed Spelman, md at Ballymaguire Foods 

“People do not know how to cook nowadays, that’s the reality of it. We feed the grey market, we’re little enough and they are very sensitive to the waste,” ​he said.  

Ballymaguire, which supplies Tesco, Lidl, Aldi and SuperValu in Ireland, plans to develop partnerships with supermarket chains and retailers in the UK. 

Spelman said: “We can deliver to the UK as quickly as Cork. We have been doing that for the last two years. It’s been a very successful dipping our toe into the UK market.”​  

‘Innovation at heart of business’

Although processes such as slow cooking meat will stay the same, he said the company is looking at developing different types of ready meals.

“Innovation is at the heart of our business and everyone buys into it. 50% of our products this year will not exist next year,”​ he said. 

“In this industry, if you stop you are not relevant anymore. You have got to keep creating​.”

The new factory is due to be completed within 10 months and its development will generate 100 construction jobs.

Ballymaguire Foods currently employees 150 people. It sources all ingredients, where possible, from Ireland including 676t of beef, 2,600t of potatoes and 2,080t of vegetables each year.

Ballymaguire Foods at a glance

  • Largest chilled ready meals producer in the Republic of Ireland
  • Customers include Tesco, Lidl, Budgens, SuperValu and Centra
  • Established by the Hoey family, which founded Country Crest fresh produce processors

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