NI gets first dedicated ‘free-from’ factory with £4m investment in Crossmaglen
‘Free-from’ bakery company Stone Bakery Ltd. has announced it is investing £4million to refurbish and extend the former Take N’ Bake factory in Crossmaglen, a long-standing employer in the area, creating 20 new jobs.
The plant will now become the first dedicated ‘free-from’ manufacturing facility in Northern Ireland.
Home to a range of leading baked goods for 80 years, the newly extended facility is set to become one of Europe’s biggest gluten free bakery sites and will produce a range of artisan-style vegan, dairy free, and gluten free flatbreads for local and international markets. With this investment, the company is aiming to double its turnover over the next three years.
With support from Invest NI, the company is purchasing new equipment to help it streamline its manufacturing processes and create new career opportunities for people in the area.
Ronan McNamee, Stone Bakery business owner said: “The McNamee family has been baking in Crossmaglen for over 80 years and I’m incredibly proud to continue that tradition with the opening of the first dedicated ‘free-from’ manufacturing facility in Northern Ireland.
“This investment will allow us to continue the world class bakery tradition in Crossmaglen while fulfilling the fast-growing consumer demand for ‘free-from’ products.
“From my experience in the baking industry, consumer trust in the food chain is as much a driver for growth in our business as quality and taste.
“Delivering on our ambition to be the most trusted gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan bakery brand in the world, our new Stone Bakery manufacturing site will enable us to control the entire chain from seed to shelf and continue to supply the best quality flatbreads in the market with total processing transparency.”
Stone Bakery has been assisted by Invest Northern Ireland to establish its presence in Crossmaglen with an offer of support of £425,000 towards the new jobs and a range of specialised equipment required to manufacture its niche range of artisan flatbreads.
Blending the long-established reputation for excellence enjoyed by Take N’ Bake, the equipment being installed, along with the expertise in the business, marks the continuation of world class baking, product innovation, and bakery management, Invest NI said.
Welcoming Stone Bakery to Northern Ireland, Brian Dolaghan, Executive Director of Invest NI said: “We’re delighted to support Stone Bakery’s innovative new business in Northern Ireland.
“The growth of the ‘free-from’ food market is continuing, and Stone Bakery has its sights set on growing its share of this market across GB, Europe and beyond including North America.
“With our support, the company is purchasing new equipment to help it streamline its manufacturing processes and create new career opportunities for people in the locality.
“The new operation will have a positive impact on the Armagh, Banbridge & Craigavon Borough Council area, contributing almost £1 million in additional annual salaries to the Northern Ireland economy once the jobs are in place.”
Pictured (L-R) is Ronan McNamee, Owner, Stone Bakery with Brian Dolaghan, Executive Director, Invest NI.