A Food Processing, Marketing and Co-operation (FPMC) grant of £4 million has been awarded to Scottish potato processing firm Albert Bartlett.
On a visit to Bartlett’s plant in Airdrie, Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing announced the grant, allowing the company to diversify into the growing convenience and chilled potato market, creating 35 new jobs.
The Scottish Government says the support will benefit the entire supply chain, including the many Scottish growers who exclusively supply the company. The award will contribute to a £17m investment in a major building extension and installation of new processing equipment to facilitate the introduction of new product lines – primarily chilled potato products.
Mr Ewing said: “Scotland’s food and drink is internationally renowned and continues to be a standout sector within our economy. The industry is worth around £14 billion to our economy each year, accounting for a fifth of manufacturing jobs. There are around 18,850 food and drink businesses in Scotland, employing approximately 115,400 people.
“This award will help Albert Bartlett diversify its products, move into new markets, create new jobs and safeguard existing posts. The £4 million announcement demonstrates our continued commitment to help food and drink companies, large and small, take their businesses to the next level while building on our reputation as a land of food and drink.”
Mark Murray, managing director of Albert Bartlett’s added value business said: “We are grateful for this grant from the Scottish Government, which is essential in allowing the company to diversify into the growing convenience and chilled potato market.
“Our development into this exciting new area will create 35 new jobs and safeguard 50 more here in Airdrie, in addition to providing security for our partners working in the entire supply chain, not least our dedicated group of potato growers. When the plant is operational, it will process 50,000 tonnes of potatoes per year, around 90 per cent of which will be grown in Scotland.”
The scheme is part of the Scottish Rural Development Programme 2014-2020 and is jointly funded by the Scottish Government and the European Union.