Firm invests in factory as demand for gluten-free food increases

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JOBS are being created at a new factory in response to the rising demand for gluten-free food.

Scunthorpe-based Abbeydale Food Group is planning to double its turnover after acquiring and refurbishing the 14,000 sq ft facility in the town.

The company has been supported by a £100,000 business loan from Finance Yorkshire. Abbeydale Food Group supplies supermarkets and caterers with prepared foods including frozen meat pies and vegetables.

The £7.5m turnover business was set up as a holding company in 2011 to purchase two companies out of administration: Saxon Quality Foods (formerly Country Chef) and Chapel Foods (formerly Denby Dale Pie Company). It later acquired frozen mushy pea business Pie Toms. The growth in demand for gluten-free products meant the company needed to move Chapel Foods and Pie Toms to the new premises.

Andrew Hayes, the managing director, said: “People are more aware of gluten intolerance and this has led to an increase in demand for gluten-free products. We had reached a point where our existing facilities were unsuitable to meet this demand.”

Abbeydale Food Group secured two previous investments of £50,000 from Finance Yorkshire, which helped it buy new equipment.

Other financial support for the factory investment was provided by the Humber Local Enterprise Partnership and Lloyds Bank.

Alex McWhirter, the chief executive of Finance Yorkshire, said: “Our Business Loan investments enable SMEs to realise their potential, securing and increasing jobs in the region.”