£1m nut growing plant for Carrick

John Hood, (left) Director of Food & Drink, Invest NI and Philip Johnston, Director of Operation, Buchanans.
John Hood, (left) Director of Food & Drink, Invest NI and Philip Johnston, Director of Operation, Buchanans.
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Carrick-based company WG Buchanan and Son Ltd has made a £1m investment in a a nut growing business at its site in East Antrim.

It has secured a new contract with a major UK buying group for the supply of dried fruit and nuts.

To meet demand, Buchanans will develop a new standalone 12,000 sq ft factory which will lead to the creation of 13 new jobs.

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.

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.

Buchanans is a family owned and operated company that has been sourcing and supplying natural whole foods since 1871.

The company already opeates a 25,000 sq ft purpose built facility at Trooperslane which opened in 2007.

Managing Director, Jonathan McVeigh is the grandson of William McVeigh who worked alongside the Buchanan family until he eventually bought the business from them in 1940, retaining the original brand name. From its founding in 1871, the company premises were located in the centre of Belfast before moving to Newtownabbey in the 1980s.

Buchanans says that the move to Carrickfergus provided the company with a “significant increase in capacity” where it is able to supply directly to retailers, wholesalers and foodservice.

The company is accredited by Safe and Local Supplier Approval, a joint Food Safety Certification scheme between the British Retail Consortium, National Farmers’ Union, the Food & Drink Federation and the British Hospitality Association.