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Quorn Foods to serve up PS50m Tees investment.

Byline: Kelley Price Business Reporter kelley.price@eveninggazette.co.uk

STOKESLEY?BASED Quorn Foods wants to expand its growing sales and export figures by investing tens of millions of pounds in its Teesside factories.

A third fermenter to produce the product is planned for its Billingham plant, which would trigger a PS50m investment overall, and bosses say they could sign within a couple of months.

The company, which makes "meat-alternative" products and employs more than 600 on Teesside, saw its best ever year in 2013 after attracting 10.2m more consumers than the previous year.

It's selling in 13 countries and has signed up Olympics star Mo Farah as part of a PS15m global marketing campaign in 2014.

Quorn grows and harvests by fermentation its own core ingredient, a naturally occurring plant protein similar to a morel or truffle that replicates the texture and taste of meat.

It's already spent around PS10m on groundworks for the new fermenter, and bosses say the work would also lead to expansion at its Stokesley factory.

Chief executive Kevin Brennan said: "We need to increase the capacity of the business, so we're investing in fermenters - they're very expensive, tens of millions of pounds.

"We'll make those investments over time. But effectively, once we start that process we are committed, and to build a complete process is PS50m.

"We would build a third fermenter, spending money at Billingham."

He added: "We ferment and harvest our own raw ingredients, and the advantage is we are controlling our protein by doing that.

"Only we can carry out that process, and it's patented. We are building something only we can use, and we can say we are making our product from start to finish here on Teesside."

He said construction will be 18 months to two years and will generate work for the area and also lead to more capacity at its Stokesley site.

"We are hoping to get that approval, we should know in the next couple of months. It's very exciting to invest in that area."

Quorn Foods boosted its turnover by 7.5% last year, from PS133m in 2012 to PS143m in 2013. Its UK business reported a 13% growth in total sales last year, and a 20% increase in likefor-like sales in the final quarter of the year.

Meanwhile the company also saw double digit growth in Australia and Sweden as the international business progressed Find out how Quorn is eating up the meat-alternative market in an in-depth interview with Mr Brennan in tomorrow's eight-page Business Supplement.

CAPTION(S):

Kevin Brennan, chief executive of Quorn Foods. Products roll off the production line, below

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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Jan 20, 2014
Words:443
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