Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill has congratulated local food company En Place Foods on winning more than 50 Great Taste Awards and eight further awards in 2013.
During a visit to En Place Foods, based at Loughry College’s Food Business Incubation Centre (FBIC), to congratulate managing Director Paul Clarke on the recent successes the Minister also highlighted the support provided to start-up food companies in the north by CAFRE.
She said: “It is always a positive thing to hear of local success stories and for En Place Foods to win more than 50 Great Taste Awards, including the prestigious 2013 Ambient Food Product of the Year Award is remarkable, given that the company was only formed in 2010.
“En Place Foods typifies the level of innovation and creativity which exists in local food processing companies and the success of businesses over the last couple of years in these awards has really put the north on the map as a place to start-up a food business.
“It is encouraging to note that En Place Foods’ success story is an example of how CAFRE plays a vital role in supporting and encouraging new start-up businesses at the Business Incubation Centre.”
Managing Director of En Place Foods Paul Clarke added: "The FBIC provided us with facilities to manufacture our products. This meant that we were able to hit the ground running and access our markets more quickly. We would like to thank the Minister for her visit today and the support her Department has given to us."
Notes to editors:
1. En Place Foods (UK) Ltd have been unit holders at the Food Business Incubation Centre (FBIC) since their formation in 2010.
2. FBIC was opened in May 1998 and was jointly funded by the Special Support Programme for Peace and Reconciliation (SSPPR) and DARD.
3. It was built to assist start up food companies by providing manufacturing facilities which could be leased. Initially the proposal was that within 2-3 years the companies would be in a position to further develop their business through leaving FBIC and construct their own manufacturing facilities.
4. FBIC has eight rental units (four units at 175m2 – rental £1,250 per month, and four units at 225m2 – rental £1,608 per month) which are leased for periods of nine months. En Place Foods (UK) Ltd occupies one of the smaller units.
5. The FBIC has achieved100% occupancy for the last two years reflecting the renewed buoyancy within the food industry. This has led to significant support from the food industry for the FBIC and its potential role in assisting the industry meet its long term growth objectives.
6. En Place Foods (UK) Ltd continues to receive ongoing technical support from Food Technology Development Branch primarily in the areas of new product development and quality management. Some of this work has been funded through the Innovation Voucher scheme from Invest NI.