Allied Bakeries, makers of some of Northern Ireland’s most popular* baked goods, today unveiled a complete overhaul of its Sunblest pancake production technology to service its growing operations at the East Belfast bakery site.

As part of its commitment to Northern Ireland, the bakery has invested more than £1m extending and modernising the entire pancake plant, including the purchase of robotic packing equipment, for its popular Sunblest brand.

The industry-leading packing equipment is one of the most advanced in Ireland and was unveiled to Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister Jonathan Bell MLA when he visited the East Belfast bakery.

Peter Henry, General Manager of Allied Bakeries Ireland, said: “The shopping habits of our customers have changed, and as a result the demand for our pancakes has significantly increased since last year. We invested in cutting edge equipment to produce our best-selling* pancakes which consumers are increasingly finding more compelling. It also enables us to keep shelves continuously stocked for all major Northern Ireland food retailers that we supply.”

Speaking about the announcement, Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister Jonathan Bell said: “Since opening here over – 60 years ago, Allied Bakeries has produced some of our favourite home-grown bakery products such as Sunblest pancakes. It has gone on to become the largest plant bakery in Northern Ireland, servicing not only this region but also the Republic of Ireland and Great Britain. This announcement is good news for retailers and it demonstrates Allied Bakeries’ commitment to the high quality produce that our country has become famous for.

“I have been impressed by the state-of-the-art equipment I have seen here today. Allied Bakeries is a vital employer in East Belfast, employing more than 330 staff from the local community, and its continued success is testament to the hard work and dedication of all the company’s employees. I am delighted to undertake the official unveiling of the brand new Sunblest production technology.”

As well as overhauling the Sunblest pancake equipment which enables the bakery to produce over 2.5 million pancakes per week, Allied Bakeries has modernised and upgraded elements of the entire bakery and has also made a significant investment in training leading to the continued development of a multi-skilled workforce.

Peter Henry added: “The investment we have made has led to increased output, improved ergonomics and health and safety for our staff. We currently work with all major retailers in Northern Ireland (servicing them via almost 1,000 deliveries daily) and also those in the Republic of Ireland and Great Britain. As a result of this investment I hope we can increase our customer base, especially beyond these borders.”