Kepak was founded by Noel Keating in 1981. The origins of the company were laid well before this when he established his first butcher shop in the Liberties in Dublin. The business initially developed by retailing meat to the public, then progressed to providing larger contracts to hospitals and schools and eventually included wholesaling to other butchers. The business grew rapidly during the 1970's and Kepak was established and moved to a purpose built site in Clonee, Co. Meath in 1981.
The attention to detail applied in the formative years has contributed to the successful growth of the company over the past three decades. In fact the original philosophy of the founder - 'providing quality products at competitive prices' - still holds true today.
In 1986, Kepak purchased a lamb slaughter and boning facility in Hacketstown, Co. Carlow. This was a key strategic move to capitalise on the expanding sheep flock in Ireland and the forecasted increase in export sales. Another plant in Athleague, Co. Roscommon was acquired the following year. Both plants have been redeveloped resulting in significant increases in throughput and efficiency. Together, they now account for over 30% of all lambs processed in Ireland annually.
The Athleague facility was extended in 1990 to incorporate a purpose built beef abattoir, allowing direct access to cattle supplies in the West of Ireland. The resulting success led directly to the purchase of a beef boning plant in Ballymahon, Co.Longford in 1992. This provided the opportunity of supplying the U.K. retail trade directly and the plant was used as a specialist processing facility for retail customers.
Expansion to the U.K. began in 1995 with the acquisition of the British Beef Company. The purchase gave Kepak a strong presence in this market to add to its growing presence in continental EU markets.
Agra Trading Ltd. and its subsidiary Agra Meat Packers Ltd (now trading as Kepak Cork) were significant acquisitions in 1997. Kepak's previously established international reputation opened up many opportunities for the future development of Agra Trading as Kepak Group's trading Division.
Over time Kepak Group focused its expansion on Kepak Convenience Foods (KCF).KCF invested in new cooking technology that allowed it to supply fully cooked microwaveable burgers to retail and foodservice customers. Along with this, they developed both frozen and chilled ranges of savoury snack products under the Big Al's and Rustlers and Ugo's Deli Cafe brands. KCF developed a UK flagship presence in Kirkham in 2004.
Today Kepak Group, an Irish based food company, is best known for its innovation in the development of chilled meat brands; frozen and chilled convenience food brands.
Due to a Group policy of continuous investment, Kepak's processing facilities are among the most modern and efficient in Europe and ensure the company is well placed to meet any challenges ahead. Sales and Marketing offices throughout Europe and an Operations office in South America have been established to provide a direct presence in target markets. This allows for faster response to the changing needs and requirements of all customers and positions the Group to continue being one of the leading meat processing companies in Europe.