A FOOD consultant whose business was forced to pivot during lockdown has officially opened the doors of her new £250,000 food production facility in the heart of a County Tyrone village which will create 14 jobs over the next two years.
Rhonda Montgomery, CEO of the Montgomery Food Group, has created Gourmet Grub – a new ‘allergen free from’ fresh chilled and frozen range of chicken products which have been hitting supermarket fridges across Northern Ireland since its first production run in September.
Supported by Invest NI, Rhonda has turned part of the old Augher creamery into a state of the art food production facility where she and her team produce consistently high quality products which are full of flavours which has never been seen before in the allergen free market.
Rhonda, who is also the founder of Butchery Excellence Ireland, Hospitality Ireland and Montgomery Food Consulting, said: “I spent two years working with Loughry College to develop my own recipes to create my own batters, coaters and crumbs. When Covid-19 hit, I had been exportingthese ingredients wholesale for nine months. But, that wholesale market ceased so I had to pivot mybusiness. I decided to go down the route of opening up my own factory. Not only would this inject life into a rural community and create jobs, but, it would also give consumers a convenient alternative with Gourmet Grub’s ‘food-to-go’ range which are already cooked and ready to eat and can be heated up in 15 minutes.
“I was extremely lucky to get support from Invest NIto set up my factory so I could create great tasting, allergen ‘free from’ ready to eat products which are now being distributed across Northern Ireland for retail and hospitality.
“When lockdown happened in March it was clear that consumers were changing the way they shopped and the ‘buying local’ message was so prevalent.
“Consumers were buying online so we have made sure our tasty range can be purchased online, we have also added a factory shop where people can come and buy direct for their fridge or freezers and we can also able to do delivers to local people.
“In our drive to get great tasting food, produced locally, to local consumers, we are also distributing our allergen free product range to retailers, wholesalers, butchers, delicatessens, takeaways and restaurants.
“We believe everyone should be able to access allergen free food so we are delighted so many hospitality and retail outlets are stocking our delicious range.
“We will be expanding our range to include allergen free dips, Chicken Marylands, bites, vegetable based croquettes, Scotch eggs and more.”
For further information contact Eleanor McGillie of MGMPR Ltd on 07709805379/