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Innovation the key to success at Kepak's Consumer Food Facility in Watergrasshill, Co Cork

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine today acknowledged the creation of 100 jobs as a result of ongoing innovation, growth and investment at Kepak’s Consumer Food facility in Watergrasshill, Co Cork.

Speaking during a visit to the plant today, Minister Coveney said “Kepak Cork today employs almost 600 people across a wide range of activities with 60 of those positions alone created this year. 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 foods market. That’s an additional 100 jobs created in just over a 12 month period”. Minister Coveney also noted that much of the success of the Kepak Cork facility was rooted in a partnership which had been “made in Cork. Speaking to the team here today I have been struck by their pride in the partnership with the Musgrave Group which has been a huge success for both parties and indeed for the Cork hinterland. Indeed, the partnership is the bedrock of the Kepak Cork business as the company supplies beef, lamb and pork from the site to the 195 SuperValu and 459 Centra stores in Ireland”.

“I am particularly encouraged by Kepak Cork’s commitment to innovation”, said Minister Coveney.  “The future for Irish food lies in constantly adding value through innovation in order to compete on international markets and fulfil the Irish agri-sector’s potential of being a major growth engine for the economy in the coming years. This is the aim of my Department’s Food Harvest 2020 strategy report and the facility here in Watergrasshill is the physical embodiment of the way forward for the agri-food sector combining as it does the abilities of Kepak and its partner Musgraves, with the finest beef from Irish farms”.


Note for Editors

The Kepak Cork facility comprises two main businesses. The core business portions and packs retail ready chilled meat packs for the Musgrave Group’s SuperValu and Centra stores in Ireland. The facility also processes a range of ‘slow cooked’ own label and branded consumer meats and the Big Al’s branded burger range. Both businesses are focussed on the EU retail sector and rely on innovative customer focussed solutions to maintain growth.

Kepak’s 'slow cooked' range has evolved from a marketing concept to a vibrant consumer food business through the innovative endeavours of the team in Cork and this business unit alone will employ 150 people by the end of the year. Total sales for the Kepak ‘slow cooked' business are projected to reach about €50 million in 2013.  The company is the market leader in this new and growing category both in Ireland and in the UK where it enjoys a 38% market share.

Food Harvest 2020 is a strategy for medium-term development of the agri-food (including drinks) fisheries and forestry sector for the period to 2020. It emphasises the need to enhance competitiveness, increase sustainability, and improve marketing strategies in order to deliver on the growth potential in the sector.

The growth targets for 2020 set by the Committee include

  • Increasing the value of primary output by €1.5 billion
  • Increasing value added by €3 billion
  • Achieving an export target of €12 billion for the sector.

Food Harvest 2020

  • Indentifies the need in the value added sector to focus on enhancing productivity, developing its internal skills base and improving organisational and management capability.  A focus on market research, innovation and new product development will also be vitally important if it is to capitalise on evolving consumer trends. The development of new brands, which can emulate the success of Ireland’s small cadre of global food and drink brands will be an important benchmark of success.
  • The goals for the Beef sector are to increase of 20% in value of output, enhanced viability across supply chain, improve premium product status and improved market return.

Date Released: 26 October 2012