Jobs boost for Carrickfergus with new £1m Buchanans factory

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.

Over a dozen jobs are being created with the development of a nut product factory in Carrickfergus.

WG Buchanan and Son Ltd has invested over £1million in a new standalone 12,000 sq.ft. site for its growing business.

And following the development, it has secured a new contract worth over £1million with a major UK buying group for the supply of dried fruit and nuts.

The company imports, packs and distributes rice, cereals, pulses, nuts and bakery ingredients, along with its renowned ‘soup mix’.

Invest Northern Ireland has offered the firm £213,000 towards the factory build and the upgrading of machinery and equipment, to streamline its production process and increase efficiencies. The specialist plant will create a total of 13 jobs.

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, welcomed the expansion project.

He said: “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 factory include sales, administration, and production and processing, along with roles at management level.