Belfast Telegraph

Bakery serves up 100 jobs with £1.4m investment

Food company eyes global market

By Clare Weir

GLOBAL expansion is just 'wee buns' for a Co Londonderry baking firm which is investing £1.4m and creating 100 new jobs in Magherafelt.

McErlain's Bakery, run by six brothers, produces an extensive range of small breads and pastries under the Genesis Crafty brand and supplies products to large retailers across Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland for sale under retailers' own brands.

The company has already created 35 of the 100 new production positions, while the remaining 65 jobs will be created over the next two years.

McErlain's has been awarded £352,000 by the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development towards the planned investment and, in addition to marketing support of £53,888, Invest NI has offered McErlain's assistance totalling over £60,000 during the past three years to support its business development activities.

Manager Director Brian McErlain said that expansion was a key goal.

"We recognise the need to further expand our sales beyond Northern Ireland and have focused on developing new innovative products and enhancing our branding, sales and marketing in a bid to secure new export business," he said.

"Support from Dard and Invest NI is helping us enhance our production and marketing capabilities to meet the demand of new customers and cement our position within the highly competitive bakery industry."

The company also plans to invest in new plant and machinery and also extend its product development area as part of its investment project.

An account manager and a brand manager are expected to be recruited to be to help boost sales and awareness of the Genesis Crafty brand across Britain and the Republic. On a visit to the company's premises, Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster said that the investment is very welcome news for the food industry, a key contributor to Northern Ireland's economy.

"The 100 new jobs being created as part of McErlain's long-term development strategy is a positive boost for the local community in Magherafelt," she said.

"This project demonstrates McErlain's clear desire to innovate and grow its sales outside Northern Ireland.

"It also highlights the NI Executive's commitment and cross-departmental approach to support the development of local businesses."

The Northern Ireland Independent Retail Trade Association (NIIRTA) has welcomed the expansion of one of its longtime "supplier members".

Chief executive Glyn Roberts said: "We are delighted that McErlain's are expanding and creating 100 new jobs.

"Our food retail members have sold their products for a long time and value the trading relationship with McErlain's.

"This is good news story for a company which prides itself on producing high-quality, locally-made products."

Belfast Telegraph