Moy Park Craigavon

Moy Park’s Craigavon engineering manager Neil Clarke with project engineers Matt Foster and Fiona Finlay

Moy Park has invested £4m in production facilities at its factory in Craigavon, Northern Ireland to help meet the growing demand for ready to eat cooked chicken.

The new equipment, which will be operational by the end of March, will produce whole roast birds, portions and fillets, with new continuous in-line oven cooking and chilling technology delivering energy and process efficiencies, Moy Park said.

Sales of fresh ready to eat chicken are up 6% to £385m [Kantar Worldpanel 52 w/e 31 January], and Moy Park was “committed to growing the business through investment in both our industry-leading farming and operational facilities”, added supply chain director Keith Irvine.

“This investment further cements the company’s position as one of the most advanced producers of ready to eat products in the UK and Europe, as it enhances our ability to satisfy consumer demand for increasingly innovative, healthy, convenient and tasty products,” he claimed.

The development follows a £20m investment in the supplier’s Dungannon facility announced late last year, which increased the site’s production, delivered efficiencies and improved the working environment for staff.

In January it closed its processing plant in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire - offering positions elsewhere in the company to the site’s 19 staff. The company was sold to Brazilian meat giant JBS for $1.5bn (£988m) last September.