Meat substitute firm Quorn Foods plans to create 300 jobs and invest £150m over the next five years to boost production at its plant in Billingham, Teesside.
The global meat-free brand which is headquartered in Stokesley, North Yorkshire, and has capitalised on growing consumer demand for diets containing less meat, said it saw UK sales grow 15% in the first half of the year.
Global growth rose 19% over the period, while European sales also grew by 29%. Business in the US was also up 40%, while in Asia and Australia sales climbed 35%.
Chief executive Kevin Brennan said he expected the company, which employs 650 people, to ride out any Brexit impact to its European business when the UK leaves the European Union.
But he asserted the firm was keeping a close eye on how the divorce negotiations unfold.
He said: “Hard Brexit tariffs would not be great for us, but it wouldn’t be the end of the world.”
Mr Brennan continued: “We are running a company where we believe we can quadruple the business to one billion US dollars. Europe plays a part in that but it isn’t essential to achieving that.
“The UK business is still a business with incredibly strong growth. The US is a business with enormous scale potential to us, alongside Australia and Asia.
“We are still taking a positive view on commercial investment in Europe. We continue to invest significantly into Germany, Italy and the Nordics.
“But equally we know that our category is growing everywhere in the world that if Europe gets less attractive, we can divert our growth to other places.”
Last week the pound tumbled to an eight-month low against the euro, slipping close to €1.11. It was also lower against the US dollar, dipping below $1.30 after spending several days above that level.
The firm has so far managed to avoid Brexit-induced price hikes following sterling’s collapse since last June’s vote to exit the EU.
However, Mr Brennan said he could not guarantee costs will not rise in the future.
He said the company was “broadly neutral” to the Brexit-hit pound, with rising import prices being countered by improving export sales.
Quorn, a meat substitute made from fungus, is sold on its own for use in recipes at home or in ready meals and products that mimic items such as burgers and sausages.
Source: Sky News