The investment has enabled the company to supply a range of slow-cooked, minced and diced meats to food manufacturers that make ready meals, pies and similar products, its bosses said.
In addition, other specialist equipment installed at the sites in Lurgan, County Armagh, and Wigan, means meat could now be marinated, cured and smoked.
The company, which also supplies chilled and frozen meats to international supermarket chains and specialist food retailers, announced in April that it was to create 25 jobs and invest £1M across its two sites. This followed new contract wins worth in excess of £10M.
Bawnbua currently employs 250 people across both sites.
The latest expansion builds on previous investment in new specialist equipment that cooks meats sous-vide – the vacuum cooking of food in airtight plastic pouches under water.
Bawnbua said its supply contracts to food manufacturers were now worth more than £2M. Demand would continue to grow over the next two to three years as manufacturers continued to look for ways to reduce complexity in their operations, it added.
“The foodservice and manufacturing sectors are looking to innovate production and drive efficiencies within their businesses; and our portion-controlled meat ingredients offering enables them to do so by removing a key cooking process from their system,” explained Bawnbua chief commercial officer Stephen Allen.
‘Continually exploring new options’
“This as a highly strategic development for Bawnbua. It demonstrates how we are continually exploring new options for the business and are playing a key role in the food chain, which must continue to innovate if it is to cater for today’s increasingly discerning consumer.”
In April, the company reported that turnover had increased by around 30% since 2012, with 2017 set to be a record year for the business.
Group md Gary White explained that £1M spent on a Product Innovation Centre and specialised production equipment at Lurgan in 2012 had enabled the company to become a “leading supplier” in the chilled meat sector.
“We have been in the meat business for more than 30 years, and our focus has always been on innovation, service and quality,” he said.