A LISNASKEA firm, Ready Eggs Products, that houses 375,000 laying hens, and retails eggs in various guises all over the UK as well as throughout Ireland, will manage a brand new £8m egg processing plant in Derbyshire when it goes into operation shortly.
Charles Crawford (61), who is head of the Lisnaskea firm, based on the Crom Road, explained the decision to locate the new factory in Chesterfield, just off the M1, was in response to the huge UK demand for its egg products.
The figures make impressive reading.
As well as the 300,000 eggs laid on site each day, Ready Eggs Products buys in 250,000 ‘free range’ eggs daily from contract producers across the North, and eggs from other Irish producers.
“We currently process 1.4 million eggs a day and, with the new factory, we have the potential to double that capacity.”
He then explained the various uses the eggs go to.
The hardboiled eggs are destined for the catering and the sandwich industry, salted yolks are for use in mayonnaise, and the ‘whites’ for meringues.
“We sell them (the ‘whites’) by 40’ loads. People do eat a lot of meringue in England”, he explained, “and they’re also used for ice-creams and custards. You just wouldn’t believe how many eggs go into sandwiches, and you would not believe how many sandwiches people eat.”
He explained that the new Chesterfield plant would be for processing only (’no hens!), and would employ around 12 people initially.
“There will be no job losses in Lisnaskea (where between 80-90 are employed).
”Our main market is GB, although we cover all of Ireland. That is why we built our new plant in Chesterfield, just off the M1.
“It means we will be able to reach most of our customers in two hours.”
While the Crawfords (there is Mrs Crawford, their daughter, Cindy and son, Richard) got no help from the State towards the £8m cost, its location in an enterprise zone entitles them to a tax-saving capital allowance.
“It’s been built to a very streamlined design for high volume customers, from a minimum package of one litre to a 25 tonne container. In that way, it will compete with and reduce continental (egg) imports.”
And, he confirmed that the new factory will be run from the Lisnaskea office.
“As long as broadband holds up, we will have a screen in Lisnaskea which will show us what’s needed, and the orders will come in here.”
“Lisnaskea is a very specialised plant”, he explained, “whereas England is a very streamlined plant, a simple, one-product operation.”
The official hand-over date for the Chesterfield plant is 25th July, and Mr Crawford reckons it will take between 2-3 months to get it kitted out.
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