The Kepak-owned plant in Portlethen was awarded £1.6m in EU and Scottish Government funding, under the Food Processing, Marketing and Cooperation (FPMC) grant scheme, to help upgrade the site to process more beef and lamb, creating an additional 40 jobs. Kepak acquired the former McIntosh Donald site for an undisclosed sum in July 2018.
Portlethen site manager Alan Brown said: “Kepak Group very much welcomes the financial support provided by the Scottish Government towards the major (£5.4m) upgrading of our Portlethen site.
“The well-established and reputable McIntosh Donald business was acquired seven months ago and we have moved quickly to develop and grow a business with great potential. Thanks to the continuing support of our farmer suppliers, Kepak plans to expand the business and secure maximum value possible from every animal processed. This will copper-fasten the future of this business, not only for all the farmer suppliers, but for the growing number of staff who work here.
“The timely award of this FPMC grant is a great financial and morale boost for the management, staff and suppliers in these uncertain times.”
On a visit to the site, Rural Affairs Minister Mairi Gougeon said: “This is great news for the local area, not just to the hundreds of workers and their families who will welcome the job security this provides, but also because the factory plays a vital role in helping farmers get their quality beef and lamb products ‘from farm to fork’.
“In spite of the challenges being presented by Brexit, the Scottish Government continues to help our food and drink sector to realise the ambition to double in value to £30 billion over the next 12 years.
“The FPMC scheme has provided vital financial support to over 200 Scottish food and drink businesses, helping to ensure the long-term viability of our primary producers, and maximise export markets for our fantastic Scottish produce.”
Gougeon also highlighted the importance of EU funding, ahead of the UK’s impending exit.
“With Brexit looming, this is a timely reminder of how EU funding makes a real difference to the lives of people in rural Scotland – providing millions annually to our farmers, fishermen, and food producers. The UK Government has yet to guarantee much of that funding in the long term, should Scotland be taken out of the EU against its will.”