Farm business expands with £10m investment to meet demand

Northern-Ireland based Mash Direct supplies major supermarket chains such as Tesco, Sainsbury, Asda
Northern-Ireland based Mash Direct supplies major supermarket chains such as Tesco, Sainsbury, Asda

Processed vegetable company Mash Direct plans to increase production capacity to meet growing demand following a £10m funding package.

The sixth-generation family business, based in County Down, will make its custom-built, on-farm production facility more environmentally friendly.

Mash Direct grows and produces approximately 40 processed vegetable and potato dishes.

It currently supplies major supermarket chains such as Tesco, Sainsbury, Asda, Waitrose, Co-Op, Aldi, Lidl, and Dunnes, and in 2018 its products were sold in the US for the first time.

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

The Northern Irish firm 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 that will free up space in its peeling area. It is also investing in robotics and enterprise management software.

During 2020 Mash Direct will hire 12 new staff hires 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.

Jack Hamilton, chief operating officer of Mash Direct, said the fund package from HSBC UK will enable the business to invest in new and environmentally friendly machinery.

“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,” he said.

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

The £14bn fund has recently been announced, with £150 million committed to supporting SMEs in Northern Ireland.

The fund includes an increased ring-fenced pot for the agriculture sector, with the pot rising to £1bn from £300 million last year.