Mash Direct announces £10 million expansion and sustainability plans

Northern Ireland processed vegetable company Mash Direct has announced plans for a £10 million expansion at its on-farm production facility in Comber, Co. Down.

The Hamilton family founded Mash Direct in 2004 as a way to add value to produce grown on their farm.

Today, it grows and produces approximately 40 processed vegetable and potato dishes supplying major supermarket chains such as Tesco, Sainsbury, Asda, Waitrose, Co-Op, Aldi, Lidl, and Dunnes, and exporting as far as the USA and the Middle East.

The family plan to use the money to make the business’s production facility more environmentally friendly.

It will see new solar and wind energy technology installed, along with a new wastewater treatment facility, helping to future-proof the business by reducing its carbon footprint and making the overall plant more sustainable.

Mash Direct will also increase its capacity for growth by adding new production lines to its industrial kitchen so that it can produce new dishes and increase production capacity.

The business will add a new onion peeler and is also investing in robotics and enterprise management software.

During 2020 the firm will also take on 12 new employees to support its growth. The new roles will range from operations and management to sales, marketing, exports and human resources. The business also investing in a robust training programme to up-skill its existing team.

Meeting growing demand

Mash Direct chief operating officer Jack Hamilton said: “With growing demand for our range of products at home and abroad, it was essential that we invested in new, environmentally friendly machinery and in the talented, skilled staff we currently have.

Improving our carbon footprint is very important to the business and great strides will be made to do this with our investment in new technology.

“HSBC UK shares our vision for growth and understands our immediate needs as a rapidly scaling SME in the agrifoods sector.”

Marty Colvin, HSBC UK’s relationship director in Northern Ireland, said: “Mash Direct is an exciting and ambitious SME operating in a highly competitive and thriving sector.

“The improvements it is making to its farming operations with HSBC UK’s support will stand it in good stead as it aims to grow its market share and meet demand from customers across the UK and overseas.”

The finance was allocated from HSBC UK’s national SME Fund, which aims to actively support UK businesses realise their ambitions for growth and navigate Brexit.

The new £14 billion SME Fund has recently been announced by HSBC UK, with £150 million committed to supporting SMEs in Northern Ireland.