The prestigious award has been granted for his services to Economic Development in Northern Ireland.
Michael founded Kestrel Foods in 1996, launching the Forest Feast brand the same year and then the ACTI-SNACK brand in 2016, with his late wife Lorraine. His vision and dedication have undoubtedly built Kestrel Foods into one of the UK’s leading snacking businesses, recognised across the world for its premium and innovative ranges.
Over the last 24 years, Kestrel Foods has seen impressive and consistent annual sales growth, continuously adapting to changing markets, and pioneering new products, processes,and technology.
Michael’s foresight has led to continued investment in itsworld class manufacturing facility, which now employs 80 people at its headquarters in Portadown, Co. Armagh. Earlier this year Kestrel Foods announced a further £2.8 millioninvestment in its facilities to extend capability and to keep up with increasing demand. This will create a further 22 jobs over the next three years.
Michael’s commitment to doing business in the right way is well recognised by his industry peers, suppliers, and customers. He has a strong commitment to ethical trading and sustainable sourcing, dedicating much of his career to working with smallholder farms and organisations like Preda Fairtrade in the Philippines. This ensures fair prices, sustainable environmental practices, local education andempowers indigenous farmers through the sales of dried fruit and nuts.
He is a strong advocate of giving back to the community and over the years has supported numerous charities and sportingorganisations. He invests in Future Talent through the Kestrel Careers Programme as well as coaching new business start-ups and sponsoring the Ulster Grocer ‘Young Marketer of the Year’ award.
Michael’s entrepreneurial flair and business kudos has beenrecognised before. At a young age he was credited by the Prince’s Youth Business Trust, and in 2014 he was a finalist in the EY Entrepreneur of Year Awards. In 2019 Kestrel achieved Platinum status in the Deloitte Best Managed Companies.
Speaking about the award, Michael said: “I’m incredibly honoured to be on the MBE 2020 Queens Birthday List. It is a great privilege to work in such a dynamic industry, and I can credit much of the success to the local workforce who have an unrivalled loyalty, dedication, and work ethic. I’m incredibly proud of building a home-grown business that has cultivated a global consumer base – the award is the ultimate recognition of this.”