The move marks the third and final phase of a major three-year investment programme for the family-run business, with support from Ulster Bank and a capital grant from Invest NI.
The development has added 3,300 sq ft (306.6m2) to the factory, taking it to a total area of 929m2.
The latest phase forms part of an overall £700,000 investment programme, launched in 2015. It has followed upgrades to manufacturing equipment, the creation of a large freezer store and the refurbishment of Morelli’s flagship parlour in Portrush.
“Our newly expanded Coleraine facility is now fully operational,” said Arnaldo Morelli, who owns the business. “We were operating near to full capacity, producing 700,000 litres annually. The investment has enabled us to almost treble production capacity to 2m litres per year.”
Morelli said the company now aimed to expand into new export markets. “As well as our own family stores, we supply supermarkets and hundreds of independent retailers across Northern Ireland. This investment will enable us to increase exports to the Republic of Ireland and explore new markets in Great Britain, safe in the knowledge that we have the capacity to fulfil growing consumer demand.”
He said the business had experienced a boom in ice cream sales over the recent hot summer. “We’re operating in an industry on the crest of a wave at the minute. Ice cream sales surged over the summer as we basked in sunshine.”
Rhonda McClelland, business development manager at Ulster Bank, said: “The Morelli brand is steeped in tradition and a shining example of Northern Ireland’s growing list of quality food and drink producers. We’re extremely proud to support the Morelli family as they expand their business and explore export opportunities to new markets.”
The Morelli family has been making ice cream since 1911. They operate family-owned retail outlets across Northern Ireland and several franchised units.