An investment in robotics technology has actually increased job numbers at Longford business Panelto Foods.

The expansion of a new state-of-the-art facility at Panelto Foods, completed in 2020, has brought 110 additional new jobs to Longford town and employment in Panelto Foods to 240 people.

Panelto Foods, established in Longford in 2004 is a high technology bakery producing premium quality breads for the in-store bakeries in the major supermarket chains in Ireland and the UK.

“Panelto is a good example of how a vibrant Irish food company investing in enhanced technology can underpin company growth in challenging markets”

Despite the unprecedented challenges brought by Brexit and Covid-19, Panelto continues to invest in product and process innovation to ensure it continues to serve customer needs in both Ireland and UK markets.

Innovate and thrive

Three men in white coats at a robotic bakery.

From left: Brian O’Grady, CEO of Panelto Foods; Minister for Trade Promotion Robert Troy, TD; and Leo Clancy, CEO, Enterprise Ireland. Image: Maxwells

During a ministerial visit this week to Panelto by Minister of State for Trade Promotion, Digital and Company Regulation Robert Troy, TD, the investment in Panelto’s future with a strong focus on robotics was apparent.

“It is a strong endorsement of both Longford and the Midlands when companies such as Panelto not only establish operations but continue to innovate and thrive there,” Minister Troy said.

“Collaboration and investment will be key to our recovery and I am pleased that through our agency, Enterprise Ireland, and collaboration with the Irish Manufacturing Research Centre in Mullingar, Panelto continues to transform and improve their product offering for consumers both here and overseas, thus supporting jobs and the regional economy. As we look to emerge from the pandemic stronger and more resilient, it is always positive to see companies innovate and embrace technological change to be competitive and successful in addressing market challenges.

“Panelto is a good example of how a vibrant Irish food company investing in enhanced technology can underpin company growth in challenging markets. Buying food produced from all areas of the island will generate and sustain jobs and stimulate the economy across rural Ireland. Like many Irish food companies exporting to Britain, Panelto Foods has faced and addressed complex Brexit and Covid challenges while continuing to grow the business in the past year. Today’s visit was a great opportunity to see this in action and I wish them every success with their expansion.”

Upskilling initiatives

Panelto has also put in place upskilling initiatives for staff members including e-learning courses with Sligo IT and has also partnered with TU Dublin to support scholarships for six students participating in New Food Technology and Mechanical & Design Engineering courses.

“I was delighted to show Minster Troy our newly expanded Longford facility equipped with the latest technological advances that allows us to produce our premium range of quality breads in a highly efficient world class facility in Longford,” said Panelto Foods CEO Brian O’Grady.

“I would like to thank the team here in Longford for the tremendous commitment shown in what has been a challenging year. I would also like to thank all our stakeholders for their support, most importantly our Customers, our Suppliers and Enterprise Ireland for their continued support”.

Working in conjunction with technology partners, including the Irish Manufacturing Research Centre in Mullingar, and with Enterprise Ireland through their lean manufacturing supports, Panelto has recently invested in emerging robotic technologies to deliver enhanced product characteristics and to improve factory efficiencies.

“I wish to congratulate Panelto Foods on their state-of-the-art facility expansion and commend the global ambition of this indigenous company to compete at the highest level, supplying to some of the largest retailers in the UK and Ireland,” said Enterprise Ireland CEO Leo Clancy.

“Enterprise Ireland is committed to supporting companies like Panelto to increase their level of innovation, improve their competitiveness and expand their global footprint, with the ultimate goal of delivering export growth and jobs in Ireland and we look forward to continuing to work with the company in the future.”

By John Kennedy (john.kennedy3@boi.com)

Published: 21 July 2021

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