Keohane Seafoods scaling up production with grant aid from Brexit Processing Capital Support Scheme


Colman and Brian Keohane of Keohane Seafoods

Keohane Seafoods in Cork is scaling up salmon processing and reducing its environmental footprint with help from the Brexit Processing Capital Support Scheme.

The Bantry-based business is one of 44 projects to share in a €26.8 million investment from the Seafood Processing Capital Support Scheme administered through BIM. The scheme, which will deliver up to €45 million in funding to the seafood processing sector, is funded by the European Union under the Brexit Adjustment Reserve.

Colman Keohane, Managing Director, said the grant aid is helping the business make a €1.2 million investment in innovative equipment, helping it to overcome the challenges posed by Brexit.

“Brexit had a huge impact on our business in several ways such as the delivery of salmon and transport of finished goods,” said Colman. “But by far the biggest impact was the loss of the fresh fish business in the UK due to logistical delays that reduced the shelf life of our products.

“Keohane Seafoods has always had a strong focus on innovation and new product development. To mitigate the impact of Brexit on our business, we knew that we needed to look for new overseas markets and make changes to the way we process salmon.

“The grant aid we received from the Brexit Seafood Processing Capital Support Scheme has allowed us to invest in innovative processing and packaging technologies, making our business more competitive and environmentally sustainable.”

New machines including an ingredient mixer, pouch thermoformer packaging machine, salmon portioning machine and smart grader have transformed salmon production, helping minimise waste and increase yields. An upgraded enterprise resource planning software is also giving the business greater control and visibility of its operations.

“For example, the new pouch thermoformer means we can increase the number of frozen salmon products being processed by around 50 per cent, allowing us to be competitive in the US and German frozen markets,” said Colman.

“Our most popular export product in the last 18 months is our infused product range and this innovative technology ensures consistency across that product line.

“The thermoformer unit is also reducing our electricity consumption while the new fillet portioner will help us minimise food waste.”

Keohane Seafoods is a family business run by Michael Keohane and his sons, Colman and Brian. The family established the business in 2010 after spotting a gap in the market for added value seafood. It employs 230 people with processing plants in Bantry and Cork City. The business supplies fresh and frozen seafood to the retail and foodservice markets in Ireland and overseas.