2 Sisters Food Group has announced a GBP7 million (US$9.1 million) capital investment at its Carlisle prepared meals factory, creating 200 new jobs and a major economic boost to the region.

The investment program follows a major contract awarded by M&S to expand its product ranges with 2 Sisters. More than 30 new products will be developed at the site including Gastro and fish meals with vegetable accompaniments.

Production of fish meals has already begun while Gastro ranges and vegetable accompaniments will be launched in late 2018 and early 2019.

Already being produced are ranges like British Salmon and asparagus and Gastro seafood casserole. Dish to come later in the year include Gastro ham & chicken crumble and Gastro Beef Bourguignon, plus more than a dozen potato accompaniment dishes.

As a result, a new state-of-the art vegetable processing facility is being created, which includes new cooling tunnels, steam-injected kettles for cooking and cooling sauces, new coating systems and two new automated packing lines.

The 1,250 dedicated colleagues already working at the site will also benefit from new facilities including new canteen and changing facilities.

Ronald Kers, 2 Sisters Food Group CEO, said: “Our vision is to create a truly world-class business who is trusted to deliver, so we are delighted such a prestigious customer as M&S recognize and value us as a reliable partner with the ability to create quality food, for the right price in a sustainable and transparent way.

“Delicious, healthy, convenient and affordable food is increasingly being sought be consumers and our business can work extremely closely with customers like M&S to create own label brands that truly differentiate themselves from competitors.”

William Duncanson, Meal Solutions business unit director, added: The team here at Cavaghan and Gray are enormously hard working and this investment will allow us continue doing what we love, producing tasty, high quality food that customers love.”

“We are extremely proud to have worked closely with M&S for many years and to have been trusted with the production of even more exciting food ranges. We take a huge amount of pride in creating their quality products.”

Kate Stein, Head of Food Technology at Marks & Spencer, said: “We are transforming our supply base to create a faster, more commercial network which will improve value and availability for our customers. The new site extension at Carlisle will help us react more quickly to consumer tastes and develop and deliver great quality, innovative products to market.”

John Stevenson, MP for Carlisle, said: “It is fantastic to see that 2 Sisters are investing into our City. The £7m capital investment into Cavvies will enable them to cater for the expansion of the product ranges they produce for M&S. This will have a huge positive impact on their operations in Carlisle. It is also a demonstration of confidence in our local economy.

“The addition of 200 new jobs, for what is already a significant employer in Carlisle, will be a huge boost to our local work force, create opportunities for those looking for work and secure the future of a factory with a strong historical base in our city.”

More than 200 new jobs will be created for the region as a result of the new business win. Roles will be available in the operational, technical and supply chain areas.