Loch Duart hails success for plant investment

Russell Leslie, Factory Manager, Loch Duart Salmon

One year on from Loch Duart’s acquisition of a formerly defunct processing plant at Dingwall, Factory Manager Russell Leslie has said he is “delighted” with its performance.

Independent salmon farmer Loch Duart purchased the site, which had previously been operated by Thai Union/ Edinburgh Salmon Company, in 2020. The 50,000 sq. ft. premises had been unused for some time.

Russell Leslie said: “Loch Duart invested £2m in buying and refurbishing the factory and we now employ over 70 people. Having worked under the previous ownership and now running the plant myself, I am delighted by the improvements in staff conditions in the last year under the new ownership. The factory and yard are substantial in size allowing us to design in lots of space for working, social distancing and staff welfare.”

Following the refurbishment, Loch Duart obtained the British Retail Consortium’s “AA” Grade certification, the UK supermarkets’ benchmark for food premises.

The company said that the factory is already exporting to Europe and the USA each week, and added that its high standard of gutting and filleting work has already brought in contracts from other salmon companies, in addition to processing all of Loch Duart’s harvested output.

Leslie said: “Our clear message to the local community is that we offer high quality jobs with good career prospects and reasonable rates of pay for the sector. For example, a line operative can be promoted to team leader within six months and career development plans are available for everyone who wants to progress. Previously the factory had significantly seasonal peaks, but Loch Duart is packing fresh fish not smoked (which is mainly geared to Christmas market). Loch Duart prides itself on its long-served staff and low absence from work. We aim to be exemplary employers offering long term prospects and career development.”