IRELAND – Kepak, an Irish-based food company, has announced plans to invest £5.5million (US$5.74M) in its facility in Merthyr, Wales in response to a recent rise in demand for its products.

The company recently secured access to the US market making expansion works at the Merthyr site’s Central Prepared Meats (CPM) packaging facility necessary to meet the significant increase in demand.

The capital will also support the introduction of new, innovative technologies to strengthen the company’s sustainability credentials.

According to Kepak’s CEO, Simon Walker, the move will ultimately lead to an increase in the site’s livestock requirements, a move that will support local farmers and thus significantly uplift in their livelihood.

Kepak Merthyr’s general manager, Chris Jones, said: “We are delighted to be announcing this significant investment at the Kepak Merthyr site, including the creation of 100 vital jobs supporting the local economy.

Ultimately doubling the site’s CPM packaging facility will significantly increase our demand for livestock, which is excellent news for local farmers.”

The company, which supplies prime cuts of meat and convenience foods, with brands including Rustlers, Big Al’s, Celtic Beef, McIntosh Donald, Watergrass Hill, Black Angus, and Hereford Beef has planted 1,000 trees across three acres at its Merthyr site in April, in support of its ambitious sustainability goals.

The initiative added to Kepak Merthyr’s strong sustainability credentials as the site already runs on green energy sources, including fully renewable electricity.

The site is also home to a wind turbine, which delivered 1726.4MWh in wind electricity last year, providing enough energy to power a large estate of approximately 400 households for 12 months.

Kepak is planning to install another wind turbine at its Merthyr site this year to further increase the wind energy generated by the site.

Furthermore, Kepak Merthyr is also actively participating in an innovative sustainability research initiative in conjunction with the Irish Research Council and Trinity College Dublin, aimed at protecting, enhancing, and promoting biodiversity around the Welsh site.

The strides in investment led the Irish meat manufacturing company which has been in operation for over 40 years, to partner with the Technological University of Dublin (TU Dublin) in February, in an effort to drive innovation in the culinary science space.

The partnership has seen Kepak invest €250,000(US$26,0715) into the university, which, among other things, will see the launch of a research program focusing on meat optimization, sustainability, packaging, health, and nutrition.

This partnership would help Kepak identify future markets and better serve its retail and food service client base, according to the Irish Farmers Journal.

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