Albert Bartlett has been awarded the largest ever Food Processing, Marketing and Co-operation grant by the Scottish government.
MSP and rural economy secretary Fergus Ewing awarded the potato supplier a £4m grant on a visit to the company’s Airdrie plant, which houses a new facility to develop and manufacture chilled potato products for retail and foodservice.
“Our development into this exciting new area will create 35 new jobs and safeguard 50 more here in Airdrie, in addition to providing security for our partners working in the entire supply chain,” said Mark Murray, MD of added-value business at Albert Bartlett.
“When the plant is operational, it will process 50,000 tonnes of potatoes per year, around 90% of which will be grown in Scotland.”
The company’s long-term profitability remained dependent on diversification into new markets in response to the decline of the fresh potato market, said Albert Bartlett.
Targeting its existing customer base with the innovations, the company planned to manufacture both under branded and own-label products as part of the £18m project, a commercial risk that would have been too great to undertake without the backing of the grant, it added.
Albert Bartlett diversified into frozen potatoes in 2015, with products processed at its Norfolk plant.
Announcing the grant, Ewing said it demonstrated the Scottish government’s commitment to developing the Scotland’s reputation in the food & drink sector.
“The industry is worth around £14bn to our economy each year, accounting for a fifth of manufacturing jobs. There are around 18,850 food and drink businesses in Scotland, employing approximately 115,400 people.”