03/08/2009

Business 'Going Nuts' At Kestrel

A Co Armagh dried fruit and nut specialist is expanding - and going 'nuts' about the firm's future prospects.

NI Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster has announced expansion plans for Portadown company, Kestrel Foods.

The plans include, investing in new production facilities, management and extensive employee training, as well as the expansion of the company's product range to increase sales outside Northern Ireland.

The Minister made the Invest Northern Ireland-backed announcement during a visit to Kestrel Foods' Carn premises, where it produces quality dried fruit, nuts and seeds snacks under the Forest Feast brand name for retailers in the UK, Republic of Ireland, mainland Europe, Middle and Far East.

The Minister said: "This very substantial commitment to new products and staff training is being undertaken by this ambitious locally-owned company to strengthen its competitive advantage in markets outside Northern Ireland.

"The company is set to enhance its existing portfolio of added value products with a new range of luxury chocolate coated dried fruits.

"The investment in new products and further development of its successful Forest Feast brand, is projected to double turnover and result in a 60% growth in sales outside Northern Ireland over the next three years," she said.

Michael Hall, Managing Director of Kestrel Foods, commenting on the company's expansion plans, said: "This is a very significant and strategic investment for us in new products for exciting market opportunities that we have identified from our own research and ongoing contacts with key retailers.

"The investment in skills will also increase our overall competitiveness.

"Our customers demand quality products that offer value for money and are supplied in eye-catching packaging, supported by attractive merchandising support that will command the attention of consumers," he said.

"Over the years we have pioneered quality, healthy snacks that stand out on the shelves because of their innovative packaging and merchandising.

"We have also succeeded in staying ahead of competitors by continuous investment in our products, marketing activities and the skills of our people," he said, noting that Invest NI has worked closely with the firm across a range of programmes especially in terms of measures to enhance our competitiveness.

"We also found the services provided by the team of marketing advisers to be very supportive. We have used practical programmes such as 'Going Dutch' to pinpoint and exploit opportunities in the Netherlands," he continued.

Kestrel Foods was formed in 1996 by Mr Hall and wife Lorraine, who is the company's Sales and Marketing Director. It currently employs 64 people.

(BMcC/KMcA)


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