Finnebrogue creates 125 jobs with £17m plan

Finnebrogue, the Downpatrick-based artisan food manufacturer, is set to create up to 125 new jobs following its £17 million investment in a state-of-the-art nitrite-free bacon facility.

Tuesday, 5th March 2019, 5:00 am
Finnebrogue Artisan chairman Denis Lynn, right, with Brian Dolaghan, executive director with Invest NI

Backed by Invest Northern Ireland, the expansion programme has enabled the company to establish a manufacturing facility in Downpatrick for the production of its nitrite-free bacon, hailed by many experts as a breakthrough in the food processing sector.

“It has been known for decades that nitrites used in curing meat can cause cancer,” said Finnebrogue founder and chairman Denis Lynn.

“That’s why, despite being the UK’s leading top tier sausage maker, we refused to make a single rasher of bacon until we could figure out a way to make it better and safer.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

“We always set out to make food the best it can be, without being bound by the way it has always been done.

“And so, after much research, we discovered a process that uses fruit and spice extracts to flavour the pork, keep it pink and retain shelf life.

“We are using this technology in our Naked Bacon and we’ve had a great response from both retailers and consumers.”

Production of Naked Bacon began last year in Downpatrick and for the first time in the UK and Ireland nitrite-free bacon is now widely available in leading supermarkets.

Invest NI has offered the company more than £1.3m of support towards the capital investment and to create the new jobs.

The 125 new posts will be created by 2022, with 30 already in place.

“Northern Ireland’s reputation as a region that produces innovative, quality food has been enhanced by the innovation and development of nitrite-free bacon by Finnebrogue,”said Brian Dolaghan, executive director of business and sector development at Invest.

“The product has been welcomed by top food scientists as a significant advancement in food safety and has already found a market among health conscious consumers.

“Agri-food is one of our priority sectors and it is great to see the new facility operational and producing this cutting-edge product.

“Our support is ensuring Finnebrogue is able to capitalise on its innovation and realise growth.

“The local economy will also benefit from this fantastic food innovation as the 125 new jobs will deliver over £3m to the economy each year in salaries.”

In 2018 Denis Lynn was awarded Northern Ireland’s Business Director of the Year for Innovation for the development of Naked Bacon.

Finnebrogue Artisan also produces and sells The Good Little Company range of healthy sausages and recently opened a vegetarian factory producing innovative, meat-free meal options.

“It is one of the fastest growing food manufacturers in the UK with its turnover increasing from £5m to over £90m per year over the last 10 years.

The company is anticipating that sales of Naked Bacon will add £23m to its turnover by 2022.