Mash Direct, the Northern Irish manufacturer of convenience foods has reported a five-fold rise in pre-tax profits to £1.1million.
The farm-based business, which makes vegetable and potato side dishes from its premises in Comber, county Down, also reported a 5.7 per cent increase in sales from £14.2 million to £14.96 million last year.
Employees grew from 152 to 163, while pre-tax profits jumped from £207,415 to £1.1 million.
In its results for the year to February 29 2016, the family-run firm explained that the growth in sales was partly down to increased awareness of its products.
“The sustained investment in the market of our brand has raised awareness of the product portfolio away from our home market of Northern Ireland even further,” the company says.
53.8 per cent of the company’s sales are generated on the UK mainland. Overall, it sells 67 per cent of its products outside Northern Ireland.
The secret to its success is getting people to try its products first, the company adds. “In the last year we have handed out over 110,000 free samples across the world and this has contributed to a 38.1 per cent increase in exports, year-on-year.
“Our constant reinvestment in innovation has also led to a range of high-profile awards in the last year, including being named overall company of the year at the Food Manufacture Excellence Awards (ahead of Coca-Cola and Weetabix) and company of the year in the chilled and fresh produce category.
“We also won a major award in Abu Dhabi for innovation for our crispy vegetable bakes, and the Quality Food Award in London for our chilli baby (potato) bakes.
“We are committed to the long-term success of the company and are looking forward to an even better 2017.
“We have also reinvested in product development and training and we have some very exciting new products coming out shortly, as well as a new national listing with Morrisons about to start.”
Mash Direct was founded by Martin and Tracy Hamilton in 2003, and is now run by the couple and their sons, Lance and Jack.