Posted on Monday 27 August 2018 by Ulster Business

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Paul Allen, chief executive of Tayto

Tayto has been king of the castle in terms of Northern Ireland’s crisp and snack sector since 1956, when it moved into its grand Tandragee headquarters.

Its 20,500 sq m base includes Tayto Castle, which is more than 500 years old. In the last 62 years, the company, which is now headed by Paul Allen, has grown its reach and diversified its company portfolio, and increased turnover to just shy of £174m.

Tayto’s sister company  Montagu has also expanded in the last few years, including taking on a number of vending machine businesses.

“Tayto Group and Montagu are both family-owned businesses, and growth comes organically from doing a really great ‘day-job’,” Paul Allen, chief executive of Tayto told Ulster Business.

“Allied to that, growth through acquisition remains a key tenet of our business plan.

“Tayto has been growing since 1956 and the expectation is that we will continue on this path in to the future, adapting to market changes for flavours, products and continuing to invest in new product development along the way.”

It’s taken on a number of new businesses in the last few years, including the Real Pork Crackling Company and Pop Notch popcorn.

It employs 250 people on site with a further 30 staff at its warehouse in Lurgan.

“I think the buoyancy of the Tayto Group is down to a number of things,” Paul said.

“Firstly, we make really, really good crisps and snacks and repeat purchase is key to the success of any company.

“Secondly, we have invested in the business over a sustained period which has ensured that our products continue to be of the highest quality, made with efficient machinery and distributed in an effective manner.”

And it’s a 24-hour day for factory, with production split between its own products and private label brands.

Around 60% of production is exported to elsewhere in the UK and Ireland, but sales also reach out to around 44 locations, including Australia, Dubai, Saudi Arabia and the US.

Asked about the latest acquisitions, such as the Real Pork Crackling Company, Paul said that is “very much linked to our strategy of growing organically and making discerning acquisitions which complement our existing operations”.

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