Mash Direct plans £10m ‘green’ expansion in North

Funding agreed with HSBC will go towards eco-friendly machinery at production facility

Jack and Tracy Hamilton at their family farm in Comber Co Down.

Jack and Tracy Hamilton at their family farm in Comber Co Down.

 

Mash Direct, the Co Down processed vegetable company, plans to invest millions of pounds to increase capacity and develop new product lines as part of a “green” expansion project in Northern Ireland.

The sixth generation family business has agreed a £10 million (€11.8m) “funding package” with HSBC UK bank and intends to use the new finance to invest in environmentally-friendly machinery at its on-farm production facility in Comber.

Jack Hamilton, chief operating officer of Mash Direct, said that thanks to growing demand for its products, which includes 40 processed vegetable and potato dishes, the family business sees good opportunities for further growth.

Mash Direct supplies a number of major supermarket groups throughout the UK and Ireland, including Tesco, Dunnes, Sainsbury’s, Aldi and Lidl. It also exports to the US.

The company plans to recruit an additional 12 people and add extra production lines to its industrial kitchen and invest in a specialist onion peeler.

Mr Hamilton said the family business is keen to become more sustainable in the future. “Improving our carbon footprint is very important to the business and great strides will be made to do this with our investment in new technology.”

The company plans to install solar and wind energy machinery and to develop a wastewater treatment facility in Down where the family has been farming since the 1800s. It is also planning to invest in robotics and enterprise management software.

Marty Colvin, relationship director in Northern Ireland, said HSBC UK is backing Mash Direct because it is an “an exciting and ambitious SME”.

“The improvements it is making to its farming operations with HSBC UK’s support will stand it in good stead as it aims to grow its market share and meet demand from customers across the UK and overseas,” he said.