100 jobs as Huhtamaki opens Antrim paper straw plant

Global packaging company Huhtamaki is to create 100 new jobs with the opening of a new paper staw facility in Antrim.

Invest NI CEO Alastair Hamilton, left, with John Park, McDonald's CFO for UK & Ireland and Ciaran Doherty, general manager of Huhtamaki Food Services Belfast pictured at the Official Opening of thefirm's new paper straw facility in Antrim
Invest NI CEO Alastair Hamilton, left, with John Park, McDonald's CFO for UK & Ireland and Ciaran Doherty, general manager of Huhtamaki Food Services Belfast pictured at the Official Opening of thefirm's new paper straw facility in Antrim

The new factory based in Kilbegs Business Park, will be the first facility in Ireland to produce high quality sustainable paper straws.

The plant was opened by John Park chief finanacial offier for McDonald’s UK & Ireland for whom Huhtamaki is a major supplier.

Huhtamaki plans to invest around £12 million over a five year period supported by an offer from Invest Northern Ireland of £480k.

The visit follows McDonald’s announcement last year that they will roll-out paper straws to more than 1,300 UK and Irish restaurants in 2019.

“We are delighted to welcome John Park to officially open our new facility in Antrim and we are committed to growing our strategic partnership with McDonald’s and to delivering innovation in new product categories,” said Ciaran Doherty, general manager of Huhtamaki Food Services Belfast.

“We are proud to be a fast moving, innovative partner, capable of adapting to our customer’s needs. We value McDonald’s trust in us and today celebrate another landmark in a relationship that now spans over 30 years.

“Our sustainably sourced paper straws are made with new, purpose-built machinery to deliver a premium product with 100% of paper used in all straws and wrapping, PEFC certified.  Starting with Antrim, Huhtamaki plans to expand its manufacturing capacity into other key markets across Europe and globally.”

Mr Park said the development marked a significant step forward for Huhtamaki and McDonalds.

“Last year our customers asked us to change our plastic straws to paper ones, we listened and are making that switch with the support and partnership of suppliers like Huhtamaki.

“We are proud to be doing the right thing in rolling out paper straws across our UK and Irish restaurants, and will continue to invest in making our business as environmentally sustainable as possible – this is just one step on that journey.

“Currently more than 80% of our guest packaging can be recycled, our restaurants use 100% renewable energy and we are continuing to innovate such as the installation of over 1,100 recycling units across our restaurant estate in the UK and Ireland.

“Strategic partnerships lie at the heart of McDonald’s success. Huhtamaki is a trusted partner who we have worked with for a number of years, and we’re proud to be working together to roll out paper straws, made in the UK, to our restaurants.”

Alastair Hamilton, CEO of Invest NI said: “Huhtamaki Food Services Belfast has a long track record of innovation and a reputation for delivery. It has grown to become a significant employer and an important Northern Ireland manufacturing business.

“This latest investment and innovative project will create new jobs, support the local supply chain, and also help deliver environmentally through the production of sustainably sourced paper straws. This will all bring positive benefits to the local Antrim area. We look forward to continuing to support Huhtamaki with its growth here in Northern Ireland.”