WG Buchanan and Son Ltd has made an investment of over £1 million to develop a new standalone 12,000 sq ft factory for its growing nut business at its Carrickfergus site.Following the development it has secured a new contract worth over £1 million with a major UK buying group for the supply of dried fruit and nuts.
The company, well-known to consumers as Buchanans, imports, packs and distributes rice, cereals, pulses, nuts and bakery ingredients, along with its renowned ‘soup mix’, the staple ingredient of traditional soups and broths.
Invest Northern Ireland has offered the company £213,000 towards the factory build and the upgrading of machinery and equipment, to streamline its production process and increase efficiencies. The specialist factory will lead to the creation of 13 jobs.
Philip Johnston, Director of Operations at Buchanans, said: “Although our nut products were already packed using dedicated machinery and strict allergen controls within our existing site, we are always conscious of the concern over nut allergies, especially peanuts.
“To remove potential cross contamination, we took the decision to invest in a new completely separate processing and warehousing plant, to provide even greater assurance to our consumers.
“I would like to thank Invest NI for its continued support throughout our journey so far. This substantial investment has already enabled us to grow sales in Great Britain, starting with a significant contract win, made possible by the increased capability our new factory has to offer.
“It will also provide additional capacity to grow our business in the Republic of Ireland, which is currently our biggest market outside the UK.”
John Hood, Director of Food & Drink at Invest NI, congratulated the company on its expansion: “Buchanans is a well-established company, renowned for its quality, service, price and brand name.
“We have worked with it closely for many years, previously supporting its initial move to a 25,000 sq ft production facility at our Trooperslane Business Park in Carrickfergus.
“This recent support has helped Buchanans to develop a new standalone nut factory, complete with state-of-the-art processing and packing facilities, which has already led to substantial success in external markets.
“The 13 new jobs will contribute £225,000 in additional salaries to the Northern Ireland economy and is a great boost for the east Antrim area.”
Job opportunities at the new nut factory include roles in sales, administration, and production and processing, along with roles at management level.