Vion Food UK is investing £11.5 million to enhance its processing facilities at Cookstown in Northern Ireland, with the creation of 164 new jobs. The Cookstown facility is the largest pig processing site inNorthern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, and among the largest in the UK, producing pork, sausages, bacon and cooked meats.
The company’s investment will enable it to install new equipment, which will improve animal welfare and increase processing capacity. It is also investing in improved chilling technology, as some of the existing chills date back to the original construction of the plant in 1938. Invest Northern Irelandhas offered Vion £960,000, which includes £244,500 of support through its Jobs Fund.
The enhancements to the company’s processing facilities will allow it to become more efficient and increase profitability as well as ensuring that the pigs are handled in the most humane way possible.
As well as selling its products under the Cookstown brand the company, which currently employs over 700 people, supplies major customers such as Marks & Spencer, Tesco, Sainsbury, ASDA, Henderson Group, Musgrave, Samworth Bros and Dew Valley. With the enhanced processing equipment in place the Vion facility in Cookstown will continue to underpin the future sustainability of the Northern Ireland pig industry.
Seamus Carr, managing director of Vion, says: “Our strategy is to build on the success of the Cookstown brand by investing in our people and in our processes. We anticipate a substantial increase in productivity and sales as a result of this investment. Invest NI’s support has meant we can move forward quickly with the project and ensure the continuing viability of the facility in Cookstown.”
Vion Food UK produces and processes high quality beef, lamb, pork, bacon and chicken as well as a wide range of convenience products such as sausages, cooked meats and added value cooked chicken. It has extensive facilities across the UK from farms and hatcheries to primary production, processing and packing, and supplies products according to customer and market demands. The business is primarily focused on the UK retail market but also includes important foodservice and wholesale clients within its portfolio. Vion Food UK is part of the Netherlands-based Vion Group.