A meat processing company is to create 40 jobs in Cork, it was announced today.
Kepak Group also announced 60 new positions earlier this year, bringing the total number of new jobs to 100 within 12 months.
Agriculture, Food and Marine Minister Simon Coveney welcomed the expansion at Watergrasshill.
“Kepak Cork today employs almost 600 people across a wide range of activities with 60 of those positions alone created this year,” said Mr Coveney.
“I am pleased to announce that this is projected to grow by a further 40 during 2013 thanks to the success of the Kepak Cork team in developing highly innovative meat products to serve the retail and consumer food markets.”
Kepak Group is based in Co Meath but has a plant in Cork, which portions and packs chilled meat packs for the Musgrave Group’s SuperValu and Centra stores.
It supplies beef, lamb and pork from the site to 194 SuperValu stores and 465 Centra outlets.
The facility also processes a range of slow-cooked own label and branded meats, including the Big Al’s burger range.
John Horgan, managing director of the group, said Kepak Cork is now one of the largest employers in the area.
He said it also contributes around €200m a year to the local economy - partly through buying livestock from local farmers and sourcing raw materials from the area.
“As our prime interface with the Irish retail sector Kepak Cork is a key facility within Kepak Group,” said Mr Horgan.
“We are investing in the site to ensure it remains ’best-in-class’ and to expand the production capability to service a growing consumer demand for slow cooked meats.”
He also thanked An Bord Bia and Enterprise Ireland, which supported the expansion in Cork.
Mr Horgan said their help was both valuable to the group and the Irish food sector as a whole.
Meanwhile, Frank Ryan, chief executive of Enterprise Ireland, said the organisation had worked closely with Kepak to drive towards international growth.
“This is a highly ambitious and innovative company that has contributed greatly to securing Ireland’s leading position in food innovation in the global food industry,” he added.
“Its success is a clear statement of how Irish food companies can expand their international reach, winning new exports and creating jobs at home.”
Mr Coveney added that Kepak’s commitment to innovation – with its team of marketing specialists, commercial managers and technologists – would help fulfil the Irish agri-sector’s potential of being a major growth engine for the economy.