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7 February 2018, 07:35
Potato producer Albert Bartlett has been given a £4 million funding boost after securing the largest-ever food processing marketing and co-operation (FPMC) grant.
The money, from the Scottish Government, will help the Airdrie-based firm to create 35 new jobs as it expands into the growing market for chilled and convenience potato products.
The grant will go towards a £17 million investment in a new building and processing equipment, allowing the firm to introduce new products for sale.
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% of which will be grown in Scotland."
Speaking ahead of a visit to the North Lanarkshire plant, Rural Economy Secretary Fergus 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 their products, move into new markets, create new jobs and safeguard existing posts.
"Today's £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."