Allied Bakeries invest in innovation

By Catherine Boal

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Allied bakeries, Associated british foods, United kingdom

Irish bread maker, Allied Bakeries, has invested £6m (€8.88m) in
facilities at one of its factories to allow for upcoming new
product development.

The company, which owns the key UK bread brands Kingsmill and Allinson, is using the extra funds to improve production at its Belfast site under its subsidiary Allied Bakeries Ireland (ABI).

Two years ago, the factory benefited from a £2m (€2.96m) cash injection to update its pancake line and double output at the plant but now ABI is seeking to further strengthen its position in the Irish market with new products in the pipeline over the next five years.

New specialized Dutch and Japanese equipment will be bought for the factory as it prepares to develop Ireland's first selection of filled pancakes, Kingsmill Flippitz. ABI intends to produce 900,000 of the range a week.

Around £1m (€1.48m) of the funding has been earmarked for a new sandwich hotplate device to manufacture Flippitz. The company has said it expects sales of the pancake range to reach £3.5m (€5.18m) annually by the end of next year.

At the launch of the new development plans, managing director Alan Hempton said: "Such has been the success of our Belfast business that we now have a remit to develop Allied Bakeries products for not just the Irish market but the UK markets and beyond."

He added: "Feedback from leading retailers has been that they love the new product and are delighted to see such innovation in the category. Flippitz should be listed in most leading retailers from September and we expect exports, which includes major retailers in the UK, to make up more than 75 per cent of our overall Flippitz sales."

The cash boost will create 18 jobs at the site, which currently has an output of 3m pancakes, and is being partly funded by the business support organisation Invest Northern Ireland.

In being awarded the grant, ABI were encouraged to develop long term company strategies.

Future plans for the bakery group include increasing market share, strengthening its brands through innovation and forming partnerships with retailers.

Invest NI chief executive Leslie Morrison said: "This investment reflects ABI's commitment to innovation and export growth. The company understands the demands of an increasingly sophisticated market and is gearing up to respond by building its capability and identifying new product opportunities."

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