The investment included the purchase of robotic packing equipment for its Sunblest brand, which is produced at the rate of 2.5M a week.
The new packing equipment was viewed by enterprise, trade and investment minister Jonathan Bell during his visit to the site this week.
Demand for pancakes
Allied Bakeries Ireland’s general manager Peter Henry said the demand for pancakes had significantly increased since last year, as shopping changed.
“We invested in cutting edge equipment to produce our best-selling pancakes, which consumers are increasingly finding more compelling,” said Henry. “It also enables us to keep shelves continuously stocked for all major Northern Ireland food retailers that we supply.”
The investment minister praised the investment at the site, which opened more than 60 years ago. “It has gone on to become the largest plant bakery in Northern Ireland, servicing not only this region but also the Republic of Ireland and Great Britain,” said Bell.
“This announcement is good news for retailers and it demonstrates Allied Bakeries’ commitment to the high quality produce that our country has become famous for.”
‘A vital employer’
Allied Bakeries was “a vital employer” in East Belfast, employing more than 330 staff from the local community, said Bell.
In addition to upgrading the Sunblest pancake equipment, Allied Bakeries has modernised and upgraded elements of the entire bakery.
It has also made a significant investment in training, leading to the continued development of a multi-skilled workforce.
The Allied Bakeries boss said: “The investment we have made has led to increased output, improved ergonomics and health and safety for our staff. We currently work with all major retailers in Northern Ireland (servicing them via almost 1,000 deliveries daily) and also those in the Republic of Ireland and Great Britain.”
The investment was designed to boost the baker’s customer base, particularly in export markets, he added.
Allied Bakeries Ireland operates the largest plant bakery in Northern Ireland, manufacturing branded and own-label products. Leading brands included: Kingsmill, Sunblest, Allinson and Burgen. Allied Bakeries is part of Allied Milling and Baking, which in turn is part of Associated British Foods.
Meanwhile, Allied Bakeries has agreed a last-minute deal with union representatives to avoid strike action at its Cardiff production plant. The industrial action was thought to have threatened the delivery of hot cross buns for Easter.
Allied's pancake profit potential
“We invested in cutting edge equipment to produce our best-selling pancakes, which consumers are increasingly finding more compelling.”
- Peter Henry, Allied Bakeries Ireland