Kepak this week announced the completion of a €15m investment in its McCarren Meats pork processing facility in Cavan. Since acquiring a majority shareholding in McCarren Meats in 2013, Kepak said it had increased throughput capacity in the business by 40%, which would bring capacity close to 10,000 pigs per week.

Kepak said the business is now contributing more than €35m to the local economy in Cavan, with €25m of this related to the purchase of livestock from farmers along the border within a 25-mile radius of the McCarren plant.

A further €7m of this is delivered through staff wages, while €3m in additional payments is delivered through ancillary services to farmers.

Kepak managing director John Horgan said the group’s acquisition of a majority shareholding in McCarren Meats back in 2013 was testament to the wider consolidation taking place in the food industry worldwide. He added that consolidation in the food industry was a response to the need for businesses to leverage costs and be as efficient as possible.

Speaking to the Irish Farmers Journal, chief executive of Kepak’s meat division Sean Coffey said the decision to invest in the McCarren business was strategic and customer-focused.

“Having the capacity to offer customers a full range of meat products, be they raw or cooked, is a major advantage given the ever increasing consumer demand for provenance and integrity of meat supply chains. This thinking was behind Kepak’s decision to diversify into primary pork processing for the first time,” he said.