Halal meat processor One Stop Halal has opened a 200,000 sq ft facility to service growing demand from its retail and foodservice customer base.
The food park, in Stowmarket, Suffolk, is on the site of the former 2 Sisters Haughley Park plant, which closed in November 2013. Opening the site would “take One Stop Halal to the next level,” said founder Steve Ewels.
“We will be looking to employ more than 100 staff during the next month to grow the existing business,” said Ewels, claiming One Stop Halal had invested “significant amounts” in new cutting and packing equipment at the site.
Ewels, a former Tesco ethnic foods buyer, founded One Stop Halal last December with a slaughter operation in Scotland. He formed a joint venture in April with chilled halal food brand Shazans, which sells primary chicken, lamb and beef cuts in addition to added-value meats such as marinated chicken pieces, lamb kebabs and sausages. One Stop Halal now supplies the Shazans range to the big four.
The Shazans range is about to launch into selected Co-operative branches, and Ewels had also been approached by other retailers to introduce the brand, he said. “We didn’t previously have the capacity to expand our customer base, so this new site will enable us to do that,” he said. The new plant would allow them to develop other ranges under the Shazans brand including frozen food, chilled ready meals and more added-value lines, he added.
“Halal is a high-growth market and we are seeing sales increase by as much as 90% to 100% a week,” he said. “Our job is to help Shazans develop the sector further. There is a big Muslim population in the UK, with a growing demand for these products, and the market is crying out for some strong brands.