A Co. Down sauce company has invested £800,000 in a new factory that will help it fulfil its new contracts with large multi-national supermarkets. The investment was part supported by Danske Bank.

Prep House was established in 1999 by Paul and David Bell. The business specialises in the development and production of sauces, mayonnaise, dressings and marinades. Prep House employs 20 staff, which included an additional four jobs as part of the project.

Paul Bell, Managing Director of Prep House, said: “We have decided to build our new 10,000 sq ft factory after winning new contracts with some of the biggest multi-national supermarkets. We had outgrown our old premises but with the new factory we have also taken the opportunity to upgrade our production capabilities with new filling, labelling and cooking equipment.

“We have also opened an Innovation Kitchen which can be used for cookery demonstrations and allows our customers to create their own sauces. Innovation is at the heart of everything we do and this co-creation opportunity means our customers are with us every step of the way.”

He added: “Our focus over the next 12 months is to further diversify our product range and break into new markets with the help of Invest NI. The Republic of Ireland is an area we’re currently looking at and we’ll be recruiting more staff to help facilitate that growth. We’re also developing ways to remove preservatives from our sauces to make them even healthier.”

Ian Moore, Business Manager at Danske Bank, commented: “Prep House has invested significantly in its facilities in order to keep ahead in what is a fast-moving sector. The management team have a clear vision of where they want to take the business and have put in place a strategy which ensures the company reaches its full potential.

“The addition of the Innovation Kitchen adds an extra dimension to the company’s product offering and signals a vote of confidence in not just the business but also the local area.”

The project was also supported by Invest NI through the Investment for Growth and Jobs Programme for Northern Ireland 2014-2020 (co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund).