Stuffing firm is looking ahead to peak demand
A Co Down food firm is preparing to raise production of its stuffing up to ten-fold over the busy Christmas season.
Joanne Molloy, commercial director at TS Foods, said she expected the company would produce 100,000 packets of one particular product line for Tesco this Christmas.
TS Foods also supplies Sainsbury's, Asda, Spar and Supervalu.
The Castlewellan firm was set up by Ms Molloy's parents 34 years ago and specialises in frozen and chilled products for the retail and food service.
The frozen food business started when Ms Molloy's parents began making pasties for food service from their family-run chip shop.
Today, the company employs 70 members of staff and includes an in-house new product development team, headed by Anne Steele, Joanne's mum.
Ms Molloy said that most of its products were created in collaboration with a client.
"We go to retailers with a selection of several different products and they can take what they like. Some will have niche requirements which we can work together to facilitate."
Recently one of the company's products triumphed in the side dish category at the Irish Food Quality Awards.
The accolade commended the quality of the cranberry, apricot and orange stuffing produced for Aldi's Specially Selected range.
Ms Molloy claims there is year-round demand for the products, notwithstanding the traditional Christmas surge in demand. In a normal week, the company produces around 300 cases of stuffing.
In the run-up to Christmas, Ms Molloy said she expects sales to increase between five and ten-fold, a challenge which requires months of planning.
Recently, the family has invested £600,000 into its production facilities and expanded its workforce to facilitate growing demand, and make the annual Christmas sales boom easier to handle.
The new facilities will allow the company to build a new goods handling area and new production lines.
Ms Molloy said that the company - which also produces breaded chicken, stuffing and pasties - was now hoping to expand into ready-to-cook meals.