HECK Food, the North Yorkshire family-owned sausage business, has opened a new £3.5 million factory producing more than 700 sausages a minute.

The new facility, on the family farm beside the A1 at Kirklington, near Bedale, has created 75 jobs.

Heck is aiming to double its share in the premium sausage market after opening the new factory and expects to increase its turnover to £18 million this year.

The company received a £2.35 million finance package from Lloyds Bank, its longstanding banking partner, which also provided a £530,000 hire purchase facility to help fund the new production lines.

In just four years, co-founders Andrew and Debbie Keeble and their team have grown the company into a multi-million pound business.

The firm’s fast growth has been recognised in the 2017 Lloyds Bank National Business Awards, with Heck Food shortlisted in the scale-up business of the year category.

Rushi Sunak, MP for Richmond, also recently quoted Heck as one of the best examples of agri-food businesses in the UK as part of the Pride and Provenance campaign, which demonstrates the value of Yorkshire’s farm to table supply chain.

Andrew Keeble, co-founder of Heck Food, said: “Our investment in the new factory will be key to securing Heck’s place as Britain’s favourite sausage on the plate.

“Innovation is at the heart of what we do and we’ve been busy taking the traditional British banger and giving it a healthier makeover.

“The vegetarian brand we launched with Waitrose last year has been a huge success, while our lower fat chicken and new vegan ranges are going down a storm too.”

Heck is one of the last independent businesses in the British sausage industry, selling nearly double the volume of its closest competitor.

Ian Smellie, relationship director at Lloyds Bank, said: “After opening the new factory, Heck is in an excellent position to exceed growth expectations for food and drink firms over the next five years.

“It’s ambitious and innovative producers like Heck that are creating jobs and investing in growing young talent, and helping Britain’s food and drink sector to prosper.”

Celsius Projects have worked with Heck for three years to bring to life their vision for a unique production facility for the future.