A Fife engineering company is today celebrating both its 50th birthday and the continued success of its ambitious growth plans.
Tayport-based Foodmek has been designing, making and installing processing equipment for the food and drinks industry since May 1971.
Since November 2019, they have enjoyed a renaissance thanks to £500,000 through the Scottish loan scheme from Scottish Enterprise.
The money, received in two instalments, enabled Foodmek to invest in new equipment, innovation and extra highly-trained engineers.
‘The cornerstone of the business’
The funding also allowed it to recruit and train more staff through a variety of apprenticeships.
They will be vital for the future of the business, according to managing director Scot Kelly.
He said: “They will be the cornerstone of Foodmek to move us into the next 50 years.
“It’s key to Foodmek’s future. We’ve got young graduates in the design office and they are part of that growth plan.”
Foodmek now employs six design staff and is hiring two more modern apprentices this year, to add to the five that already work with the company.
Turnover up 13% despite lockdowns
Like other businesses, Foodmek’s work has been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
They produced 25 high-specification vessels for a Covid-19 test kit maker.
Scot said: “It has been tough. We had to rapidly adapt but we’ve taken opportunities as they’ve come along and we’ve grown the business and the staff.
“During the end of our fiscal year ending May 2020, we saw an impact of the global pandemic.
“However, in the current fiscal year we’ve seen a 13% increase in our turnover and are projecting a further 33% increase during our next fiscal year,” the managing director said.
That success has also ensured they were also to draw down the second tranche of their Scottish Enterprise loan.
Scaled-back birthday plans
Marking their half-century has also been affected by current restrictions.
Scot added: “In normal times, I’d have liked to have had an open day and got the families in to see the workplace.
“That allows employees to show their families where they work, but we’re not going to be able to do that.
“We’re having a small celebration on May 28 and we’re making a presentation to the staff, and to a couple of retirees who left last year and we weren’t able to do anything for them.”
‘Healthy’ order book
Orders from existing and new food industry customers have also driven Foodmek’s progress. Further orders are expected soon, adding to its “healthy” order book.
Scot is determined to continue to engage with the local community, through talks to local schools, engaging with community groups as well as a publicly-accessible defibrillator.
Foodmek believes that continuing to invest in people, machinery and new technologies, is the blueprint for another successful 50 years.