The £17m investment, supported by Invest Northern Ireland, will help establish a manufacturing facility in Downpatrick that will focus on the nitrite-free range. The 125 posts are expected to be allocated by 2022, with 30 already in place.
The business launched the nitrite-free Naked Bacon to the market in early 2018. Finnebrogue expects that sales of Naked Bacon will add £23m to its turnover by 2022.
Denis Lynn, Finnebrogue Artisan chairman, said: “It has been known for decades that nitrites used in curing meat can cause cancer. That’s why, despite being the UK’s leading top-tier sausage maker, we refused to make a single rasher of bacon until we could figure out a way to make it better and safer.
“We always set out to make food the best it can be, without being bound by the way it has always been done. And so, after much research, we discovered a process that uses fruit and spice extracts to flavour the pork, keep it pink and retain shelf life. We are using this technology in our Naked Bacon and we’ve had a great response from both retailers and consumers.”
Brian Dolaghan, executive director of Invest NI, explained the importance of this investment to the local economy.
“Northern Ireland’s reputation as a region that produces innovative, quality food has been enhanced by the innovation and development of nitrite-free bacon by Finnebrogue. The product has been welcomed by top food scientists as a significant advancement in food safety and has already found a market among health-conscious consumers.
“Agri-food is one of our priority sectors and it is great to see the new facility operational and producing this cutting-edge product. Our support is ensuring Finnebrogue is able to capitalise on its innovation and realise growth. The local economy will also benefit from this fantastic food innovation, as the 125 new jobs will deliver over £3m to the economy each year in salaries.”
In January, Finnebrogue announced it was to open a £3m vegan and vegetarian food site in Co. Down.