AN MP saw for himself how a food manufacturer’s multi-million-pound plans for expansion will create hundreds of jobs.
Quorn Foods has announced plans to create around 400 new jobs, as it invests £30m to increase its production capacity at its Billingham site as demand for its meat-free products soars.
During a tour of the site yesterday, Stockton North MP Alex Cunningham saw how work is progressing to create a third fermenter, which will boost the production of its products by 50 per cent.
He also heard how the company will create around 100 jobs over the course of the 18-month construction process, with a further 300 roles expected to be created within the firm and among its suppliers once the new fermenter is fully operational.
The investment follows a sustained period of record-breaking growth for the company, which has a base in Stokesley, North Yorkshire, and has seen sales grow by 13 per cent in the UK and 21 per cent internationally over the last 15 months.
Mr Cunningham said: “Quorn is a fantastic example of a local business that’s doing phenomenally well, both in the UK and internationally.
“Rather than looking to invest significantly in new infrastructure in other parts of the UK or even abroad, the company has remained loyal to its roots by investing £30m to boost the capacity of its existing plant at Billingham.
“Such investment on a local level will undoubtedly deliver huge benefits through the creation of approximately 400 jobs over the next few years, bringing new skills into the area and developing and enhancing those that already exist.”
Quorn’s research director Tim Finnigan said: “We are proud to say that the nucleus of our operations remains in Yorkshire and the North-East, despite the brand now being a big global player.
“Sales have soared, particularly over the last 15 months, as people are becoming increasingly aware of the need to eat sustainable forms of protein, such as Quorn, and the health benefits attached to doing this.
“By expanding our Billingham plant, we’re able to increase our capacity to ensure we keep up with demand, and give something back to the local economy through the creation of hundreds of new jobs.”
Quorn has attracted more than two million customers since January 2013, taking the total to more than 12.2 million.
For the first time, carnivores now outnumber Quorn’s vegetarian buyers.
The firm exports to 13 countries, including Australia and the USA.