Moy Park Northern Ireland’s biggest manufacturer

Top poultry Moy Park is Northern Ireland’s top manufacturer, according to a survey just published which highlights the importance of food and drink to the local economy.

The Co Armagh-based manufacturer of chicken products is at the top of InsiderNorthern Ireland Manufacturing 100 list for 2022 – the annual list of the top performing manufacturing and engineering businesses based in Northern Ireland by turnover. The Northern Ireland Manufacturing 100 is sponsored by Deloitte, HSBC UK and MSC Group.

The top three businesses in 2022 list are poultry producer Moy Park (1), animal feed supplier W & R Barnett (2) and pharmaceutical developer and manufacturer Almac (3).

The highest climber in the list is dough-based product manufacturer Crust and Crumb from Derrylin in county Fermanagh (up from 97 last year to 62). The study says this company’s sharp rise in turnover “might not be so surprising given the general upsurge in demand for pizzas during the various national lockdowns”. Family-owned Crust and Crumb bakery specialises in dough-based foods such as pizzas for major supermarkets in the UK and Ireland including Aldi.

The top 10 companies also includes feed and grain processor W&R Barnett in Belfast (2); distributor SHS Group, Belfast (5); Dale Farm (6), the region’s biggest dairy processor; and Foyle Food Group, Derry (9), a major meat producer.

Other food and drink processors on the list include meat processor Linden Foods (15) Dungannon; Leckpatrick Dairies, Coleraine (18), a producer of milk and other dairy products; Lynn’s Country Foods, Downpatrick (26), owner of Finnebrogue Venison; and Cranswick Foods, Ballymena (27), a specialist in pork products.

Commenting on the Manufacturing 100, Philip Cunliffe, Insider’s regional business editor for Northern Ireland, said: “It’s always interesting to see how the manufacturing sector in Northern Ireland has performed during the year. The pandemic has seen many of them grow significantly, although there have been some casualties too as market forces have taken their toll. But despite some worrying headwinds – supply chain delays, skills shortages and cost of material increases – overall the sector has performed extremely well over the year. The Manufacturing 100 list proves, once again, that Northern Ireland manufacturers punch well above their weight.”

Stephen Kelly, chief executive of Manufacturing NI, writing in a blog piece alongside the published list, commented on the success NI manufacturers are having with exports. He said: “Local businesses have sold more than €1,000m more to Ireland in 2021 which is 60 per cent more than in 2020 whilst GB’s exports to the EU are minus 16 per cent.”

But he went on to add that, although things appear to be running smoothly across the Irish Sea Border, there are potential difficulties ahead.  He explained: “The costs and disruption in moving goods from Britain are real and, in many cases, unnecessary. They need to be fixed before the grace periods on foods, medicines and parcels come to an end.”