Twenty-nine new jobs are being created by county Armagh company White’s Speedicook Ltd following a £1.5million investment.
The company, based in Tandragee, part of the Fane Valley Group of Armagh since 1994, is Northern Ireland’s only oat miller and a leading producer of porridge oats and other snack and breakfast products.
Trevor Lockhart, Fane Valley Chief Executive, said: “This is a very significant expansion for White’s and is an integral part of our wider Fane Valley Group strategy to grow our business operations profitably by sharpening our focus on sales outside Northern Ireland.
“White’s is operating in the immensely competitive and fast moving breakfast cereal marketplace. We benefit particularly from our sustainable supply chain and close relationship with local farmers, which ensure the provenance, traceability and safety being increasingly demanded by consumers in many international markets.”
General Manager James Mathers commented: “We have invested heavily in our mill in Tandragee in recent years from the most advanced Photo scanning technology to more recently the installation of two new packing lines. The business now has the capability to produce multiple pack formats from traditional block bottom, vertical form fill & seal, sachet portioning, caddy and ‘eat on the go’ pots.”
“Health & convenience represent two key consumer trends which White’s is ideally placed to service. The benefits of regularly eating porridge oats has been well recognised by consumers and health professionals. Our focus is on producing healthy, convenient and natural products and making them available to time pressed consumers. The opportunities looking forward are very exciting.”
Speaking during a visit to the company’s oat milling and processing operation Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister Arlene Foster said: “White’s Speedicook Ltd is to be commended for what is a major initiative to increase the competitiveness of its portfolio of products particularly in markets outside Northern Ireland.
“The expansion plans represent a £1.5million capital investment in buildings, plant and machinery over the next three years. I am pleased that Invest NI are supporting this through providing assistance of £217,500. It is important that we continue to support companies and business that are looking to develop and expand especially in rural areas. Companies such as White’s Speedicook Ltd are an important source of local employment and helping to sustain the local economy and community.
“To achieve its objective of doubling sales and profits over the next three years, the company has developed a new business growth strategy that involves process improvements, skills development and new marketing initiatives to raise its profile in its existing markets as well as the rest of Europe, US, Asia and the Middle East.
“The company has a solid base for growth in terms of an impressive range of quality products. I know that opportunities for further growth are now being implemented to convert these into additional export business which will benefit employees, the 25 local farmers who provide oats to the business, other suppliers and the wider community.”
The news has also been welcomed by local Independent Unionist Councillor Paul Berry.
He told Armagh I: “As a councillor for the Tandragee area I was delighted to learn of the announcement of 29 new jobs at the Speedicook Mill Factory in Tandragee.
“This well renowned business is the only oat miller and producer of the famous porridge oats in Northern Ireland for many years and it is encouraging that the expansion plans are a sign of growth and sustainability in this rural area.
“This is very welcome news for local employment opportunities and a boost to the local businesses and farmers who supply the Tandragee Mill with high quality oats to produce.
“Speedicook Ltd have invested heavily in this site over recent years and it is in a very strong position to raise its profile in areas like Europe, Asia, US and the Middle East.”
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