£185,000 supports growth for Country Valley Foods

£185,000 supports growth for Country Valley Foods

Teesside meat processor and wholesaler Country Valley Foods has boosted its workforce and turnover since securing £185,000 funding towards new premises and equipment.

The company, which supplies food to businesses across the North of England including retailers, hotels, restaurants, healthcare providers and food manufacturers, used the grant as part of a total £2m investment towards redeveloping and refitting the site.

An additional £600,000 was invested in property, a £1m fit-out and £200,000 of butchery equipment including a packaging machine, burger machine and refrigeration system.

The project is set to create a total of 18 new jobs and safeguard 18 positions. Nine new employees have already been taken on, bringing the workforce at the site up to 85.

The business is now expecting to record a £20 million turnover in the current financial year, rising to £25 million in the next two years.

The funding was provided by the Let’s Grow Fund project, administered by BE Group in partnership with UNW and The Journal and Gazette.

The money played a key role in buying and redeveloping land next to its existing base in Leeholme Road in Billingham and bringing the two facilities together, using more efficient equipment.

As a result of the grant, the company has introduced a meat processing and cutting plant, with a Himalayan rock salt maturation chill facility, separate red meat and chicken cutting areas, plus separation for its raw meat processing including burgers and sausage.

Country Valley Foods has been able to grow its customer base by increasing its product range, which now includes fresh meat and poultry, bacon and cooked meats, frozen vegetables, pies and pastries, dried goods, canned goods and soft drinks.

Chairman Stewart Munro, who co-founded Country Valley Foods in 1971, said: "The grant process was very straightforward and everyone involved was extremely helpful in assisting us in achieving our vision.

"Without the Let’s Grow grant, the Billingham project would have taken much longer to complete – it enabled us to progress and complete the project in one go, rather than in stages as and when we could afford to."

Neville Bearpark, who leads the UNW grants team, said: "Country Valley Foods had a great vision for the expansion of the business and it’s fantastic to see that coming to fruition with the support of Let’s Grow funding.

"The company is on course for further growth, bringing more jobs and income into the North East economy. This is a perfect example of how projects such as Let’s Grow can make a real difference, not only to the individual business, but to the wider North East."

Simon Allen, project manager for Let’s Grow, added: "The progress Country Valley Foods has made since receiving the grant demonstrates that Let’s Grow continues to achieve its objective of helping to build stronger, more sustainable businesses and it’s great to see it go from strength to strength in this way."