One of Ireland’s leading food companies has announced the creation of 150 jobs at its meat science and innovation centre in Co Kildare.

Dawn Farms supplies cooked and fermented meat ingredients to international food service chains and food manufacturers.

The 150 jobs at its plant in Naas will be created over the next few years and involves an investment of €25m.

The investment will enhance the company's research and innovation capabilities and the jobs will be at graduate level, with opportunities for more highly qualified food scientists, meat technologists, and those with culinary expertise.

Dawn Farm Foods already employs 1,000 people between Ireland and the UK with almost two thirds of those jobs in Ireland.

The jobs will bring employment at the company's Naas headquarters, where it has been based for 32 years, to 780 people by 2022.

This announcement follows the signing four weeks ago of a new agreement with an export value of up to €850m to supply cooked sandwich meats to more than 4,000 Subway restaurants across Europe over the next seven years.

Chief Executive of Dawn Farms Larry Murrin said developing new products and meeting changing consumer tastes has been at the heart of the company's growth for over 30 years.

Dawn Farm is one of the biggest players in Ireland's prepared foods industry and the largest supplier of prepared food ingredients in the world outside of the United States.

The industry as a whole produces €4.2bn of output, is responsible for €2.2bn worth of exports and 22,000 jobs.

The Dawn Farms announcement brings to 1,650 the total number of new jobs announced by IDA and Enterprise Ireland-supported enterprises over the past two weeks.