Page 1



Over 40 years at the heart of the Northern Ireland food industry


N O . 1 M A G A Z I N E F O R T H E L O C A L G R O C E RY S E C T O R





***** ***** mxb i *** s ire land’ shopp s lea er ma ding rketi ng ag We re ency. ach s hoppe touch rs at point every momen and A t whe t eve n pur ry decis chase ions get m ade. is yo ur br and a enoug chiev h cut ing its s throu hoppe gh wi r mar th ketin g? **** *****




***** ***** Your **** mxb s hoppe conta r str ins: ategy * Br and e ngage ment * Cu stome r con versi on * Su per e x perie acti ntial vity * Re taile r dif camp feren aigns tiate d * Cr eativ e to WOW land displ ays

* Sh opper insig and hts geniu s ide as * Ca teg init ory leadin iativ g es * PO int o f sal big e wit Shopp h ing P ower * Cu stome r adv ocacy *****







OWN T HE MOM SPEAK ENT. STRATEG TO CARMEL S COTT O IC ACC UR O UNT DIR 028 90 ECTOR 66 222 ON 5 TODA Y. We loo k for wa rd to yo ur next visit.





Volume 51, Number 8 September 2016 Editor: Alyson Magee E: Contributors: Michele Shirlow, Jason Winstanley, Brian McCalden Sales Manager: Mark Beckett E: Senior Accounts Manager: Michelle Kearney E:



24-29 30-32

Art Editor: Stuart Gray Production Manager: Stuart Gray


@ulstergrocer Subscription: £27.50 per annum £37.50 outside UK

Designed & Produced by: Independent News & Media Ltd. Tel: 028 9026 4000 Printed by: W&G Baird, Antrim Tel: 028 9446 3911

Independent News & Media Ltd © 2016. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form, or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise without the prior permission of Independent News & Media Ltd.

16 FRESH FOCUS: In UG’s quarterly Q&A profiling Henderson Group suppliers, Alison Seaney, director at the Big Pot Co in Ballynahinch, tells UG how she used over 20 years of food industry experience as a food technologist to develop a home-made quality, convenient soup range. 22 COOL CENTRA: Centra Cathedral Quarter is pioneering a new concept for the symbol group, which Musgrave NI plans to roll out Province-wide, with hip décor and an impressive array of food-to-go options ranging from protein pots, salads and sushi to hot wing and burrito bars. 24-29 BREAD & BAKING: In line with this month’s NI Year of Food & Drink theme, UG looks at Irwin’s Bakery’s brand refresh and export expansion and Henderson Wholesale’s enjoy local range, as well as insight into bakery category data and trends from Hovis Ireland.

30-32 GREAT TASTE 2016: The Supreme Champion went to Peter Hannan (see p4) while two other Northern Ireland producers also made it into the Top 50 Foods. In total, 84 local companies lifted gold stars including Cavanagh Eggs and Grahams Bakery. 42 TALKING ITALIAN: Martin Rice, senior account manager at Contract People, takes the Hot Seat this month. Five years with the company, Martin still finds his role fresh and exciting, would most like to speak another language with his Italian family connections, and is soon to be a father.

8 • Ulster Grocer | JANUARY 2011



8-9 GOING BACK TO ITS ROOTS: Community has always been at the heart of the co-operative organisation and September marks a UK-wide rebranding of Co-op stores, as well as a modern day return to giving customers a ‘share’ in profits, reports Brian McCalden.


Ulster Grocer c/o Independent News & Media Ltd. Belfast Telegraph House 33 Clarendon Road Clarendon Dock Belfast BT1 3BG



A supreme accolade in Year of Food & Drink C ongratulations to Peter Hannan for his latest success at Great Taste, becoming the first two-time recipient of the Supreme Champion award. To be recognised for the top product out of 10,000 entries from across the UK and Ireland is a fitting tribute during NI Year of Food & Drink. Next month, meanwhile, will see the BBC Good Food Show makes its Belfast debut, which is expected to be another

highlight as Year of Food & Drink enters its final quarter. This is our first edition from our new home at Clarendon Docks, where we will be combining our resources and expertise with those of Independent News & Media to improve Ulster Grocer in the coming months and make it more relevant and useful to our readership in print and digital forms. In the meantime, we welcome any

comments and suggestions from our readership on sections of the magazine you like or dislike and any areas we currently neglect. Please send any comments to or feel free to give me a call on 028 9026 4268.

Alyson Magee Editor

Great Taste first for double Supreme Champion Peter Hannan

Pictured are, from left, John Farrand, Guild of Fine Food, Peter Hannan of Hannan Meats and Michael Ward, Harrods.


rom 10,000 entries in Great Taste this year, the prestigious honour of Great Taste Supreme Champion 2016 has been awarded to Moira-based Hannan Meats’ Glenarm Shorthorn 4 Rib Roast. Hannan Meats is the first producer in the 22-year history of Great Taste to take the top award for a second time, after first lifting the prize in 2012 for its Moyallon Guanciale. This year’s Supreme Champion is dry-aged in a Himalayan Salt Chamber for a minimum of 28 days, with Great Taste judges commending its ‘sweet, juicy and oozy flavour that travels through the meat and fat’ and dubbing it the star of any Sunday lunch. “Hannan Meats’ much celebrated butchery skills have been honed over many years and this incredible level of dedication has resulted in consistent Great Taste success, along with two Supreme Champion titles to boot,” said John Farrand, managing director of the Guild of Fine Food, organisers of Great Taste. “This extraordinary Glenarm Shorthorn 4 Rib Roast is testament

to Hannan Meats’ carefully refined dry-aging and maturation process, which saw it fly through day-after-day of blind-tasting, winning over hearts and palates at every stage of Great Taste. It really did blow the final judging panel away and they’re not an easy bunch to impress.” Economy Minister Simon Hamilton also congratulated Hannan Meats, which trades as The Meat Merchant. “Hannan Meats is our most successful company in the history of the Great Taste awards and typifies the world-class food and drink produced in Northern Ireland,” he said. “This accolade tops a remarkable year for Managing Director Peter Hannan and is recognition of the company’s outstanding commitment to innovation. It’s a unique year for Northern Ireland food and drink. The 212 local products rewarded with the UK Guild of Fine Food’s valuable independent validation of taste and quality present an important and fitting showcase of the pure, natural quality of our produce.” The Supreme Champion award, which is sponsored by Harrods, was presented to Peter Hannan at the Great Taste Golden Forks Dinner held on September 5 at the Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington.

Countdown begins for first BBC Good Food Show NI


ohn Torode, Paul Hollywood, The Hairy Bikers, James Martin and Paul Rankin are among the line-up set to conduct live cookery demonstrations at the first BBC Good Food Show Northern Ireland, to be held at Belfast Waterfront over October 14-16. “I’ve been a regular at the BBC Good Food Shows for many years and I’m so excited that it’s coming to Belfast,” said


Rankin. “This is a particularly special year as we celebrate Northern Ireland’s Year of Food & Drink and I’m looking forward to seeing the wealth of producers that we have here in Northern Ireland.” Hosted by River Street Events, the new Northern Ireland show will present some of the nation’s favourite chefs alongside the region’s very best producers of food, drink and artisan products, as well as showcasing

state-of-the-art kitchenware and gadgets. All celebrity chefs and local faces will make an appearance on the Interview Stage and there will be the chance to get their latest cookbooks signed. In addition, the Tasting Theatre, sponsored by Discover Northern Ireland, will be the place to taste and learn from top wine and food experts. A Food NI Pavilion, meanwhile, will showcase local producers.


Henderson Group reports positive end-of-year results

Paddy Doody, sales & marketing director, is pictured alongside Ron Whitten, chief financial officer of the Henderson Group.


enderson Group has reported a ‘satisfactory performance’ for 2015, with turnover of £659.1m across its Wholesale, Retail, Foodservice and Property divisions, while sales in the first half of 2016 have risen by 5% year on year and the Group plans to invest £60m in capital projects over 2016-2017. The locally-owned family business, which includes the SPAR, EUROSPAR and VIVO Brands in Northern Ireland, released its 2015 financial results earlier this month. A 0.7% dip in 2015 turnover YOY has been attributed to the deflationary impact of fuel pricing during the year, with the Group otherwise pleased with the overall performance ‘in the light of a very challenging, competitive and economic landscape’. The retailer, which runs 79 company-owned SPAR/EUROSPAR

supermarkets and supplies to a further 343 independently-owned outlets, highlights successes last year as including the expansion of their convenience offering and continued investment in providing high quality fresh and local products. In 2015, the opening of nine new EUROSPAR supermarkets and 14 new SPAR stores* helped the Group continue its growth and dominance of the convenience and small supermarket sector in Northern Ireland. The 50th EUROSPAR opening makes it the biggest supermarket brand in Northern Ireland by store numbers alone. Henderson Wholesale’s enjoy local brand continued to perform well in the latter half of 2015 after its initial launch, creating over £23m of sales while supporting 25 local suppliers through 144 products. Investment in innovation included development of its new Barista Bar brand, which is on target to be the highest selling coffee brand in Northern Ireland. Strong sales growth of £15m were achieved for the own-brand line Country Range, while Henderson Foodservice was named Deloitte Best Managed Company for the third year in a row and achieved Investors in People silver accreditation. “In 2015 we experienced continued growth in all aspects of our business,” said Paddy Doody, sales & marketing director at the Henderson Group. “Employment from our head office and companyowned stores alone is now just over 3,000. In addition, through 343 independently-owned EUROSPAR/SPAR/ViVO stores across Northern Ireland, combined employment through Hendersons and our retail partners now exceeds 10,000 staff. “We remain confident for our business going forward despite challenges such as Brexit and the uncertainty that creates. We expect continued growth in 2016 and will invest accordingly.” *includes conversions/rebrands

Chamber survey suggests Brexit taking a toll on businesses


n overwhelming majority of businesses have or expect to revise their growth plans in light of the EU Referendum vote, according to the latest Quarterly Economic Survey published by Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NI Chamber) and business advisors BDO. The survey reveals that one in four businesses have already revised their business plan/growth strategy due to the decision by the UK electorate to leave the EU and a further 45% have plans to do so. Just over half of businesses have or expect to revise investment plans, while a further 42% have or expect to revise recruitment plans in the post referendum period. The survey also reveals that businesses are most unclear about the implications for EU trading rules (77%) and European regional funding (76%) following the referendum.

Pictured are Ann McGregor (NI Chamber); Brian Murphy (BDO); Maureen O’Reilly (NI Chamber Economist) and Christopher Morrow (NI Chamber).


perspective news

Hamilton opens new Dale Farm cheese retail packing facility E

conomy Minister Simon Hamilton opened Dale Farm’s new cheese retail packing facility at its Dunmanbridge facility near Cookstown last month. The Dunmanbridge plant, one of the most advanced of its kind in Europe, houses the latest cheese making and processing technology. “I welcome this significant investment by Dale Farm,” said Hamilton. “Completion of this new facility is the latest stage of Dale Farm’s current investment programme, enabling 60 new jobs to be created. These new jobs and additional salaries are a welcome boost for the local economy. “Supported by Invest Northern Ireland, the new packing facility will enable the company to produce a wider range of packed consumer cheese. Ultimately, this investment will enhance the company’s competitiveness in global markets, enabling it to compete for national and international contracts. “The dairy industry forms an integral part of Northern Ireland’s food and drink processing sector and continues to make an important contribution to the regional economy.

8 366 UlsterGrocer Grocer| JANUARY | JANUARY2011 2011 4• •Ulster

Pictured with Economy Minister Simon Hamilton at the opening of Dale Farm’s new £7m cheese retail packaging facility are, from left, John Dunlop, United Dairy Farmers chairman; Nick Whelan, Dale Farm Group chief executive; and Dr David Dobbin CBE, retiring Dale Farm Group chief executive.

“Dale Farm is a great example of the many award-winning, export-focused producers who are investing in innovative measures to support their growth and their continued contribution to Northern Ireland’s agri-food industry.” Invest Northern Ireland has provided £548,840 of support towards the jobs and new cheese packing facility.

“This new cheese processing and packing facility will help us continue to deliver strong growth in our cheddar sales in both domestic and export markets, especially in the faster growing convenience segment of the market,” said David Dobbin, retiring Dale Farm Group chief executive. “Over the last two years, we have more than doubled our sales in consumer cheese products.”

perspective POWER NI

Power NI: 1 - Jet Stream: 0 S

o the barbecue summer we were promised didn’t quite materialise, but at least Power NI’s April price cut brought a little bit of cheer for local businesses. Their 10% reduction* in small business and farm tariffs followed a 9.2% price cut last year. This ‘double dunter’ of price reductions means that in real terms Power NI’s tariffs are now back at 2008 levels, which is probably the last time we had a decent heat wave to speak of. “Our most recent price cut will save a typical small business around £200 a year*,” said Alan Egner, commercial sales & marketing manager at Power NI. “It’s mainly down to lower wholesale fuel prices, especially gas, which is the main fuel used in power stations to generate electricity.” So are SME customers of other suppliers seeing a similar decrease? “That all depends,” said Egner, “on whether they are in a fixed price or market tracker contract. Fixed price deals mean that customers are protected from any price increases but the downside is that these customers may miss out when prices start to fall.” Of course, it’s not all about price and Power NI have come out top for the fourth year running in Consumer Council NI research looking at the complaint levels of each of the local suppliers.

8 364• •Ulster UlsterGrocer Grocer| JANUARY | JANUARY2011 2011

Alan Egner, commercial sales & marketing manager at Power NI.

“Having the lowest level of complaints per 100,000 customers for four years running is something that we are extremely proud of,” said Egner. “It doesn’t happen by accident and is a result of the training, dedication and talent of our Customer Care Team in our offices in Antrim, Belfast and Omagh. “We’ve also invested in our online services and Energy Online, our paperless billing service is now better than ever with new features and responsive design that makes it compatible with PCs, tablets and smartphones.

“As a result of our price announcement, we have naturally seen an uplift in calls from small businesses interested in switching back to Power NI. With lower prices, great discounts, a shiny new online billing option and excellent customer service, there’s never been a better to come home to Northern Ireland’s leading electricity supplier. “After 15 years of competition, Power NI remains the leading energy supplier here and more customers continue to trust us with their energy needs than any other supplier. We’re still the real home of Business Energy in Northern Ireland. “So even if the Jet Stream let us all down again this year, at least the summer of 2016 wasn’t a complete washout, thanks to Power NI.” For small start-up businesses or established larger users, call the Power NI Business Hotline on 03457 455 455 or visit welcomehome. *Price cut effective 1 April 2016 to Power NI’s regulated small business and farm tariffs only, for customers using less than 50,000 units a year. Average price cut of 10% based on typical popular tariff customer using 15,000 units a year. Actual savings dependent on customer tariff and consumption.


STORE FOCUS Gerry Johnston, manager of Co-op Cregagh Road, Belfast.

Co-op Cregagh Road, Belfast Community has always been at the heart of the co-operative organisation and September marks a UK-wide rebranding of stores, as well as a modern day return to giving customers a ‘share’ in profits. By Brian McCalden.


he Co-op’s intention is to return to paying the once traditional dividend again, and make the rewards for members who shop with the Co-op more meaningful and community-focused. The countrywide rebranding is running in parallel with the reward initiative, and Belfast’s Cregagh Road store is one of the first to get the new look, with Store Manager Gerry Johnston anxious to point out that the rather familiar new logo in fact represents the new ethos of ‘Back to our Future’.

The logo is in fact the same as was used decades ago, and represents a return to those core values. Gerry explained that, from September, customers will get the opportunity for a new membership card which pays them a full 5% bonus on all their Co-op own-brand shopping and services. Crucially though, explained Gerry, a further 1% is also going to charity, and specifically local charities in the immediate vicinity of each store. Gerry and long-serving staff member Eleanor Welsh are pictured with the popular meal deal.


Gerry and his staff are already running fundraisers for charity, with Gerry, who runs several miles weekly anyway before coming to work, literally taking such fundraising in his stride. “We held an event for the British Red Cross at the Cregagh Road store, where I ran before work or static cycled a minimum of five kilometers to raise cash in store every day in the month of May. Other staff contributed their time and efforts as well,” says Gerry. “We raised over £1,000, so we are really looking forward to helping our three local charities benefit from the new 1% bonus that really puts the community back at the heart of the Co-op business.” Few stores could be better placed to be the vanguard of the ‘new’ identity given its history and longevity. There has been a Co-op store on the current site on the Cregagh Road since the Second World War with one customer, who has lived all his life in the neighboring street, recalling how a German bomb devastated part of the area during the Blitz but the Co-op carried on. Of course, like the thousands of other traders in business during the Province’s infamous Troubles, this sense of carrying on regardless shone through again during those dark days too.


Bakery duties for Yvonne Brooks.

Fitting then that Gerry, a senior manager with lots of experience in various roles across the retail trade and now with around 18 months’ service at the Co-op, should supervise the full rebranding of this long-established community shop. “It is back to our future,” Gerry said, “but a modern future that allows the use of technology and not a quarterly bonus as in the past, so we all benefit.” He said that Cregagh Co-op is just under 3,000 square feet, with around half that again as storage and service facilities. It serves a range of customers from local pensioners using the in-store post office to professionals heading to and from work and is a healthy mix of basket and trolley shopping. “Produce, fresh fruit and veg are among the top sellers and the standards of newspapers and tobacco products lead the way, but there’s far more,” says Gerry. “The store only closes once a year on Christmas Day and is otherwise serving the local community from 7am to 11pm daily, weekends included. “There are 25 staff, almost all of whom are part time. Nearly all live locally too so they know their customers and their needs intimately and the major draw is the post office, for pensions and the full range

of services such as car road tax and even passport and travel money. “Lottery tickets, an in-store bakery for a range of freshly-baked goods are also very popular to our mostly local, walk-in trade and it’s a local hub, run by local people and serving the local community,” he added, revealing that one lady, Eleanor Welsh has well over 30 years’ experience with Co-op including more than 23 years in the Cregagh Road store. The store has scored well in secret-shopper surveys with 9.7 out of a possible 10 which is well ahead of the national average of 7.9. “That has been consistent for the past three years, so we must be doing something right,” says Gerry. While charitable giving is important, the emphasis has always been on value for money as well as service. The current £5 meal deal is a case in point, offering five different frozen products that represents a popular meal for very little outlay. At Christmas, it is supplemented by a £10 deal with turkey and ham and the whole festive meal on offer, cheap enough but also top quality. “This means that our core convenience business will continue to outperform the market,” he says.

Nationally, the Co-op has this year also announced its investment in lowering the price of over 200 of its own-brand British meat and poultry products. Its investment in lowering prices will this year top £200m and, by the end of the year, it will have reduced prices on over 1,000 everyday essentials. The price reductions in own-brand meat and poultry products follow the introduction of its 75p farmhouse loaf and the pruning of prices of over 100 lines of fresh fruit and vegetables, all seeing significant benefits in trade with the aim being to grow business and membership and to make the Co-op ‘special’ once again. “The Co-op is fundamentally different being owned by its customers so we can plough profits back to them,” says Gerry. “The previous branding was over a decade in use and a lot has happened in that time, so it is a good opportunity to reintroduce the new/old logo. “Cregagh Road has already benefitted from the nationwide investment of £1.3bn in rebuilding and transformation of all the stores. “In fact, we expect our new membership proposition and the return to the iconic clover-leaf logo as a focus of this heritage to give back £100m to members and their communities. “Our customers have been very positive about the rebranding and the philosophy of going back to being the Co-op they loved, with half of all our 70,000 colleagues already going through the associated training and awareness programme. “We are now in a position to look to a great autumn and winter trading period with our new branding firmly established. “Christmas will be our only day off in the year again, but then that’s the business we are in, at the heart of the community we serve. “I look forward to fulfilling all these expectations of expanded trade as well as fueling our three local charities at the same time. That’s the Co-operative way after all.”

Fruit and veg restocking by Kyle Moody.



First ever All-Ireland Butchery Trade Expo to be held in September


aking place over September 28-29, the inaugural Butchery Excellence Scheme (BES) All-Ireland Butchery Expo, supported by Dunbia, was launched last month at Corries Butchers in Holywood, Co Down. Organised by Aughnacloy-based Butchery Excellence Scheme, the AllIreland Butchery Expo is Northern Ireland and Ireland’s first-ever trade event to be specifically created for butchers. Over 500 butchers from across Ireland are expected to attend the event, which will be home to two days of competitions, features and over 35 industry-specific exhibitors. Taking place at the Four Seasons Hotel in Monaghan, the event is free to attend and has been created to address concerns about the increasing amount of legislation butchers are required to comply with. Visitors to the show will also gain useful tips on how to maximise sales via an informative Profit Shop Chat Show at the event. “Through ongoing work in the food sector with butchers across the north and south of Ireland, it became clear that there were limited events in Ireland that were aimed specifically at those in the butchery trade,” said Rhonda Montgomery, chief executive of the Butchery Excellence Scheme. “We’ve created a trade expo that’s specifically tailored to butchers’ requirements. The event aims to be informative and enjoyable, with a range of features created to address sector-specific issues, skills learning and knowledge that will help butchers to enhance their businesses.” Tickets for the inaugural BES All Ireland Butchery Expo are free and are available now at

Retailers can ‘revitalise’ businesses through new programme S

mall independent retailers in Belfast are being offered the chance to enhance their retail skills and increase their business profitability via the Revitalise Programme. Belfast City Council has launched the programme for up to 30 new start and existing independent retailers through free targeted masterclasses and mentoring support. Revitalise is part of the UKwide ‘Healthy High Streets’ initiative – a national campaign involving 100 cities and operated by Business in the Community NI in association with a number Councillor Aileen Graham, chair of Belfast City Council’s City Growth and Regeneration Committee is pictured with Adam McLellan, of private sector partners – Boots Santander in Belfast; Colin McGreevy, M&S in Belfast; Aileen McGroggan, Boots UK in Belfast; Geraldine Duggan, Belfast City Centre UK, Santander and Marks & Management; and Claire L Gordon from Business in the Community Spencer (M&S). Northern Ireland. Boots UK, EE, Santander and M&S will be delivering the masterclasses and Belfast City Council will be providing the mentoring support to local businesses. The first masterclass was held last month in the Santander branch in Royal Avenue, to be followed by one at the M&S store in Donegall Place on Tuesday, October 4 (9.30am-1.30pm) which will look at visual merchandising. This workshop will be taken by Julie Beattie, visual section manager at M&S. The third masterclass will be held on Wednesday, October 26 in the Boots store in Donegall Place (9.30am-1.30pm) and will focus on the delivery of great customer service. This combined seminar and workshop session will be delivered by Boots and EE. For more information on the Revitalise programme, contact the council’s Economic Development Unit on 9027 0482 or email

LMC cooks off with Paul Rankin

Pictured are St George’s Market are, from left, Colin Smith, industry development manager, and Cherrie Kenny, education services at LMC, U105 presenter Carolyn Stewart, celebrity chef Paul Rankin and Gerard McGivern, chairman LMC.

Pictured are Stephen Robinson of Corries Butchers; Rhonda Montgomery, chief executive of the Butchery Excellence Scheme; Sean Owens, MD of the Butchery Excellence Scheme; and Patrick Lavery, commercial manager at Dunbia.

8 3610 UlsterGrocer Grocer| JANUARY | JANUARY2011 2011 4• •Ulster


elebrity chef Paul Rankin shared his top tips for cooking the perfect steak using Northern Ireland Farm Quality Assured (NIFQA) beef and reminded shoppers to look out for the FQA logo at a special event at St George’s Market in celebration of NI Year of Food & Drink last month.


Leaflet deals drive triple-digit growth on fresh N

isa has announced a significant year-on-year uplift in sales of a number of Heritage fresh produce lines, driven by strong promotional activity on its consumer leaflet. Following regular features on the consumer leaflet and a series of promotions on selected fresh produce lines, the category has seen significant volume increases including a 400% uplift on iceberg lettuce, 330% on red grapes, 240% on cucumber and an increase of 100% on green grapes. Additionally, Nisa’s wholesale fresh produce service recently experienced a record week, with an overall volume increase of 180% since the launch of the service in March. The service offers retailers a convenient and efficient way to purchase fresh produce, which is ordered online and delivered to their door, and offers sector-leading prices and a healthy profit margin to enable them to remain competitive in the market. “It is extremely encouraging to see so many of our members engaging with the fresh produce deals,” said Stephen Paine, trading controller for fresh produce. “We plan to continue to drive fresh produce through a variety of promotions throughout the rest of the year. “We continuously look for ways to support our members in driving footfall and remaining competitive across this key category and, as such, we have recently launched a number of exciting new fresh produce lines which we hope will enable retailers to provide a relevant and competitive offer.”



£200,000 revamp of Centra Derry, Buncrana Road has been completed by Musgrave NI with the store, which employs 25 local staff, now featuring a cutting-edge own brand Frank and Honest Coffee offer and a new range of fresh and healthy foods, making it easier for consumers to eat and live well. Musgrave NI conducted extensive research into the changing needs of the consumer which led to the development of market-leading ranges including Super Bowl salads, Mex a Go Burrito bar and a Carvery sandwich range. Investment in the store also includes the installation of new equipment to support energy reduction. “The retail market has changed rapidly over the past few years and we’ve reinvigorated our offer to match consumers changing needs, offering a huge amount of choice,” said Shauna Hamill, head of Retail Operations of Musgrave NI.

Pictured at the relaunch are Manager Ross Gibson with Declan Stewart, Elaine McClintock, Mervyn Peoples, Norma Jenning, Declan Gill, Keith Tomlinson and Kieran Flynn.

The Chalet Costcutter celebrates national award nominations


he team at The Chalet Costcutter in Portadown is celebrating after being shortlisted for two national awards at the upcoming Retail Industry Awards, for their commitment to community investment, improving the store and shopper experience. The ceremony, which will be held on September 29 at Grosvenor House Hotel in London, sees The Chalet Costcutter in Portadown shortlisted in two categories: Most Improved Store and Store Manager of the Year. “We’re delighted to be shortlisted for this great award – it’s a testament to the hard work and commitment of the whole team,” said Craig CrosseyTruesdale, store manager. “We’ve now been open for two years and over that time we’ve strived for consistently high standards. We pride ourselves on listening to customer feedback and adapting so we offer our customers a great shopping experience.” 8 36• •Ulster UlsterGrocer Grocer| JANUARY | JANUARY2011 2011


retail news – MULTIPLES

SuperValu leads the herd with Best Beef Ever S

uperValu has come out on top in research conducted by the Livestock and Meat Commission (LMC), with 100% of its beef sourced locally and Northern Ireland Farm Quality Assured. SuperValu’s beef leads the way not only in quality but in flavour, as a recent independent consumer taste audit conducted by Loughry College found that SuperValu’s new and improved beef came out on top, beating a number of key competitors. The retailer has launched its Best Beef Ever campaign with support from Ambassador Chef Noel McMeel, as part of Northern Ireland’s Year of Food & Drink’s Love NI Meat theme for August. SuperValu steaks and joints are now matured for a minimum of 21 days to give a fuller flavour and improved tenderness. All butchers within SuperValu stores have also been trained on the quality of the meat, increased range, improving maturation and new cuts of meat to be able to offer ‘expert’ advice to customers. “At SuperValu we very much believe in providing our customers with the best in quality, local produce,” said Michael McCormack, managing director of Musgrave NI. “SuperValu beef has always been 100% Northern Ireland farm quality assured and now we’re leading the way in taste and quality.”

Nigel Maxwell, SuperValu sales director at Musgrave NI, joins SuperValu ambassador chef Noel McMeel to launch SuperValu’s Best Beef Ever campaign.

Noel McMeel, SuperValu ambassador chef, said: “SuperValu is synonymous with quality, local produce and now its beef is a cut above the rest in taste with its 21 days maturation guaranteed.”

Asda Downpatrick ‘of-fishally’ named best NI store

Pictured are, from left, Richard Robinson, director of Cloughbane Farm Foods with Graham Agnew, store manager of Tesco in Dungannon.

Cloughbane Farm Foods makes a ‘ready meal’ of it for Tesco


ward-winning ready meals and meat producer Cloughbane Farm Foods has produced a new range of premium readymeals for Tesco Northern Ireland, in a deal worth £450,000 – representing a 60% increase in its business with the retailer. The range introduces 11 new meals, including Lasagne, Beef Stroganoff, Bangers and Mash and Steak, Onion and Mushroom Pie, and is part of Cloughbane Farm Foods’ commitment to growing the business with continued investment. Cloughbane Farm Food employs 47 people and was awarded three gold stars in the Great Taste awards 2016. The Robinson family have been farming the fields of Cloughbane in Co Tyrone for over 150 years, sourcing meat from within a 50-mile radius of the company’s farm based outside Pomeroy. Husband and wife duo, Lorna and Sam, and their two sons Richard and Robert, have been supplying Tesco NI since 2012.


Pictured at the Awards are, from left, Simon Fisher, general store manager, Asda Downpatrick; Larry Lamb, actor and awards host; and Joe Fitzsimmon, Asda Downpatrick.


sda Downpatrick has been lauded the Best Store in Northern Ireland at the 2016 Supermeat and Fish Awards. The store fought off competition from other retailers to claim the prestigious prize at a ceremony held at the Hilton Hotel in London. Asda Downpatrick was praised for its meat and fresh fish counter facilities, which were recently revamped as part of a store remodel, and for high levels of customer service and expertise shown by counter colleagues. “We are delighted to have secured this accolade,” said Simon Fisher, general store manager of Asda Downpatrick. “We have made significant investment in our customer shopping experience and with a 17% increase in meat and fish sales it is fantastic to see this work is paying off.”

My Life in the Grocery Trade Timothy Graham, sales and marketing manager at Grahams Bakery BRIEFLY OUTLINE YOUR EMPLOYMENT HISTORY TO DATE Well, as you can imagine when I was younger, my summer job was always some sort of role in the bakery, but straight after four years at Queen’s University, I moved to the Institute of Cancer Research in London. That was four years, and then I had one year working as a post-doc researcher in that field, before rejoining the bakery over two years ago.

packaging, and then there’s always an ever increasing amount of paperwork, promotional scheduling or marketing jobs to organise. WHAT HAS BEEN THE PROUDEST MOMENT OF YOUR CAREER TO DATE? Tough to answer, obviously four years of research for the PhD brought its own sense of satisfaction, but it’s always a proud moment when you get feedback from customers that have loved our cakes and bakes. It’s just a proud thing to bake things that people really love and enjoy.

WHAT DOES YOUR ROLE INVOLVE? Given we’re a smaller business, my role spans a few areas. Overall, I’m trying to develop new business, which then means I’m involved in the research and development of new products, then the commercials, packaging and design and of course targeting and approaching customers, and then managing some of those accounts with another account manager.

WHAT IS THE BEST THING ABOUT BEING INVOLVED WITH THE LOCAL RETAIL INDUSTRY? Relationships. We love being able to build mutually beneficial relationships with a whole network of people. From our staff who have been able to build careers will us, to suppliers whose business we can stimulate and help grow, to retail partners and customers who we can work with to provide a unique, appealing offer to inject life into their retail shelves, and ultimately satisfy the end consumer. Each of our relationships are highly valued.

WHEN DID YOU TAKE UP THIS POST? Between two and three years ago. WHAT ARE THE BEST/WORST PARTS OF YOUR JOB? Best: it’s about creating stuff. Developing cakes, designing packaging, building our brand, always trying to add value; it’s just great to be in a job where we get to create stuff. Worst: there’s a lot of things that can go wrong in that chain, and the worst part of my job is when they seem to all go wrong at the same time and obviously it’s never a good time!

BRIEFLY OUTLINE A TYPICAL DAY Thankfully there never is a typical day. Firstly though, it’s always important to get a freshly ground coffee in before everyone else in the house is up. About half of the time I’m on the road meeting customers, going to trade shows. The other 50% of the time I’ve a 200-yard commute to the office, and the day will be very varied. I’ve normally some management meeting such as NPD, or senior management etc... or perhaps a supplier coming in for a meeting, or to work on new

WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO TO UNWIND AWAY FROM WORK? I’ve a four month old so there is no unwinding. My wife and I both enjoy hosting friends when we can, and occasionally I love squeezing in some golf, five-a-side or basketball. TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT YOURSELF THAT NOT MANY PEOPLE MAY KNOW. Before I re-joined the bakery I was over two stone lighter! Honestly!



Newcastle retailer bags overall win at the GroceryAid annual golf day

Aaryn Smyth (Best Retailer and overall winner) is pictured, centre, with Adrian Moore, left, and David McWilliams (GroceryAid golf day organisers from Courtney & Nelson).

Adrian Moore and Mark Coburn (Best Visitor).

Adrian Moore and Jonny McWilliams (Best Wholesale).


he sun shone on the annual Grocery Aid golf tournament, held this year at Belvoir Park Golf Club on August 4. Some 23 teams of four took part in what has become a great fundraiser for the charity, with Adrian Moore and David McWilliams from Courtney & Nelson organising the event. Stewart Blakely shot a 69 to win the best gross. Lloyd Graham, Jonny McWilliams and Mark Coburn won the best manufacturer, wholesaler and visitors prizes, while the overall winner was a retailer from Newcastle, Aaryn Smyth. Aaryn thanked everyone for a great day out and was well pleased with the large cup he won.

8 3614 UlsterGrocer Grocer| JANUARY | JANUARY2011 2011 4• •Ulster

Adrian Moore and Lloyd Graham (Best Manufacturer).

Q&A competitor analysis in terms of top selling lines in the local market (quality, value, varieties). Northern Ireland consumers are cautious by nature and are in general willing to try new varieties, but tend to revert to buying traditional recipes such as Chicken & Vegetable. HAS THE CONTRACT OPENED UP YOUR BUSINESS TO NEW MARKETS? The enjoy local soup contract is extremely positive and encouraging for a small business like Big Pot Co. It has opened up a new market in SPAR convenience stores. Overall our business sales have increased by over 30%, and we would expect this to continue and improve even further.

Alison Seaney is pictured (centre) at the Henderson Wholesale Local Supplier Awards held during the Balmoral Show 2016, where Big Pot Co. won Highly Commended in the enjoy local Supplier of the Year category.

Focus on fresh Alison Seaney, director at Big Pot Co, Ballynahinch, tells UG about working with the Henderson Group.

TELLS US ABOUT YOURSELF I am a food technologist, with over 20 years of food industry experience, who created Big Pot Co. in 2009 with a passion to develop and produce a range of fresh ‘home-made quality, convenient soups’ for retail and foodservice markets. From a farming background, I have a clear set of values I focus on: sourcing fresh local ingredients to ensure the quality and consistency of each and every batch; providing home-made quality convenience; high quality fresh, affordable, authentic traditional recipes; consumer trends (local, health, convenience); and simple, real goodness. WHEN DID YOU BEGIN SUPPLYING TO THE HENDERSON GROUP?   I began supplying the Henderson Group in January 2016. Our business relationship


began in July 2015, when I was given the opportunity by Henderson Wholesale to meet with the trading manager to discuss developing their enjoy local soup range. We developed a range of three, which gained approval in August 2015. Product specifications and packaging design approval and print followed ready for launch. WHICH PRODUCTS ARE PERFORMING BEST? The range is performing very well and everyone has their own favourite but the enjoy local Chicken & Vegetable Soup appears to be the most popular. HOW DO YOU GO ABOUT DECIDING WHICH PRODUCTS TO SUPPLY? The trading manager and I carried out

DO YOU HAVE ANY PLANS TO INTRODUCE MORE LINES THIS YEAR? Yes we have been given the fantastic opportunity by Henderson’s to develop some products for an exciting new range to fit into the Tonight’s Tea range that has been evolving across the SPAR, EUROSPAR, VIVO and VOVXTRA outlets. These new products meet the need of busy households that are time pressured to put a meal on the table. We have been challenged to deliver a high quality convenient product made from fresh local ingredients and, by working with the trading team, we are confident we will achieve our goals. These will hopefully be hitting the shelves for autumn/winter. ARE THERE ANY SPECIFIC CHALLENGES ASSOCIATED WITH SUPPLYING TO THE WIDER RETAIL SECTOR? Every challenge is an opportunity! There is a lot of hard work and long hours in terms of speed, accuracy and integration of product development and launch. Communication with the team members involved is key to success. The moment you see new products in stores that you have helped make happen is a great feeling. HAS THE HENDERSON GROUP CONTRACT GIVEN YOU ANY SPECIFIC INSIGHT INTO THE WIDER RETAIL MARKET? Yes, working with the Henderson Group has shown me that they are extremely proactive in meeting consumer needs in terms of product ranges. Once they have identified and evaluated an opportunity, they are very quick to work with suitable local suppliers to make it a reality. They have encouraged Big Pot Co to expand and grow in an exciting new category.

FOODperspective & DRINKS NEWS

Consumer insight and market update BY JASON WINSTANLEY, MOY PARK SENIOR INSIGHT AND RESEARCH MANAGER GROCERY: RESHAPING THE LANDSCAPE It is now a couple of months since the UK took the momentous decision to leave the EU and, whilst it is no surprise that the result has precipitated a (potentially relatively temporary) crisis of confidence, material effects on grocery, food service and consumer spending in general seem not to have been impacted too badly so far (1,2). However, despite all the publicity around Brexit, it is worth remembering that we are now two years into a radical re-shaping of the grocery landscape, which has had far greater and wide ranging effects on the industry than Brexit (so far) has done. When Morrisons announced, in March 2014, that they were going to cut prices in order to narrow the gap with the discounters, it signalled the start of a price war which continues to this day, and which has led to an unprecedented period of stagnant overall growth within the industry. The big four supermarkets have taken the brunt of the pain, with all four now having been in almostpermanent decline for well over a year. At the same time, discounters and, to a lesser extent, premium supermarkets, have prospered but, with a combined share of only 17% of the market (3), growth in those retailers has not been able to offset the decline in the big four. Erosion of prices across the board has been instrumental in contributing to the value decline in the market and, because prices continue to be cut as retailers launch, and react to, new campaigns, there has been no comfort in waiting for poor growth to annualise. Additionally, in a particularly vicious circle, the supermarket price cuts have been so deep that they have been a significant contributor to the ultra-low inflationary environment in which the UK has found itself for well over a year now. Traditionally, inflation has usually been a reliable, (if passive), driver of growth within the industry. And it isn’t just absolute price which is under the microscope; in a relatively recent move, several supermarkets have started to target the elimination of multi-buy deals from much or all of their offer. Whilst the days of the widespread BOGOF deal are long gone, more muted Y for £X deals have been a permanent fixture in many categories for a long time, so their sudden removal is also having an impact on growth. What we can read into all of this is that the industry is re-shaping itself, and going through some medium-term pain in order to do so, but there are plenty of positive nuances behind the negativity of the blunt headline that grocery is in decline. For instance, whilst the withdrawal of multi-buys is, in some cases, adversely affecting volume, it is driving increased frequency of purchase in many categories. Over the long-term, this may well prove to be of overall greater benefit to the industry, and there is the added benefit that fewer multi-buys may help to cut back on food waste, which is a high priority for retailers and legislators alike. Additionally, inflation is starting to creep up, and this should naturally bring some growth back to the market. So, grocery, just like Brexit, is seeing a paradigm shift but, whilst Brexit is just starting its period of transition, grocery is considerably further along the path to its re-shaped format. Sources: 1- GfK Consumer Confidence Index, July 2016; 2 – Based on publicly available credit card spend data; 3 -Morrisons press release, March 2014; 4 – Kantar Worldpanel 52 weeks to 17th July, 2016 8 364• •Ulster UlsterGrocer Grocer| JANUARY | JANUARY2011 2011



ost businesses process personal data and must operate within the Data Protection Act 1998. Like many of our laws, this is based on EU law and was updated with additional obligations for businesses, which come into effect in May 2018. In light of the recent Brexit decision, many businesses are questioning the validity of these Data Protection laws, and if this means that these new regulations can be ignored. It is no doubt one of the most expensive legislative regimes, given the administrative cost of compliance, enforcement and potential fines. Leaving the EU does not mean that EU laws, including regulations around data protection, no longer apply. The vote to leave has no legal effect per se; it is an instruction to the UK government to leave the EU, which must be negotiated in an orderly way and could take several years. So it’s therefore vitally important that businesses keep up to date with their legal obligations in relation to Data Protection. Earlier this year, The General Data Protection Regulation updated and harmonised data protection law in the EU, with an increase in obligations in respect of personal data. Key changes under the Regulation are: • Expanded territorial scope meaning that non-EU businesses that control and process personal data may be subject to the Regulation in certain circumstances • Increased enforcement powers with a maximum fine ceiling of €20M • Increased compliance obligations, requiring a designated data protection officer, and data breach notification • Obligations on data processors • Privacy by design and default • Subjects’ rights to erasure and to object to profiling So, in the short term, all EU laws will continue to apply. In the longer term, the updated Data Protection Regulation is also likely to have effect. Apart from the Regulation’s potential application outside the EU, the UK will want to continue to trade with the EU. It must therefore be considered an ‘adequate jurisdiction’ for data protection, such as Andorra or Israel. And this would require the UK to be aligned to the new Regulation. Presumably the UK’s new trading partners will also require assurances on data protection. It may be better to implement the Regulation wholesale, which is something the EU already accepts, rather than try to re-invent the wheel. On a practical level, it is in businesses’ interests to have the Regulation or equivalent data protection regulation in place. The threat of hacking and other forms of cyber crime increases daily. Implementing a data protection regime is an important part of managing the cyber risk which most, if not all, businesses now face. The Regulation comes into effect on May 25, 2018, and businesses have a two-year lead in time to comply. This may involve a considerable amount of work to have practice, policies and procedures in place. So, I would urge businesses to start now rather than a take a risky ‘wait and see’ approach.

Please contact Cleaver Fulton Rankin on 028 9024 3141 or alternatively visit


It’s all about our chicken Moy Park, Ireland’s number one poultry brand, has relaunched its branded breaded product range. Moy Park seeks to reinvigorate the chilled, breaded poultry category with an exciting new recipe and premium packaging. Our new breaded range, which includes our signature chicken kievs, goujons and nuggets, anticipates consumer trends. It will delight our existing shoppers and attract a new generation who are seeking better value, convenience and new flavours. Moy Park breaded poultry products still represent convenience and value. They now boast a tastier, crunchier crumb for an even more delicious dining experience. We’ve also given our packaging a makeover, to project the intrinsic quality of our chicken. The black trays and new design have resonated well with consumer focus groups. Our breaded poultry relaunch is supported by a fully integrated marketing campaign. You can look forward to instore POS collateral, a buzz on social media, retailer activity, and outdoor and trade press advertising. Consumers will be invited to sample the new products throughout the year at trade and consumer shows.

This is just the beginning. Keep an eye out for new flavours and textures as we expand the range in 2017.

207018 MP_Breaded_DPS_IOI_Ulster Grocer.indd 1


New packaging, even better taste Stock up with our new-look packs today

Pack up a new-look Contact our Commercial pack instore todayteam +44 (0) 28 3835 2233

26/08/2016 16:47

Meat your new snacks!

Established in a number of categories already, Denny have added another to their portfolio with a recent increase in focus on snacking. 2016 saw the launch of the Denny snacking skewer – a seasoned skewer made from 100% chicken breast, the perfect on the go protein hit! With less than 65 calories per 50g skewer, these slow roasted chicken skewers are sure to be a hit with on the go snackers! Fire & Smoke too has enjoyed an incredible year lifting no fewer than 13 highly regarded industry awards. Launched in April 2015, the brands brave and invigorating launch has shaken up the relatively static and highly competitive cooked meats aisle bringing the art of deep south cooking straight to consumers with their exciting range of uniquely flavoured, mouth-watering cooked meats.

The brand continues their trail blazing with the launch of the new Fire & Smoke Chicken Snack Pots. These great tasting snacks are smoked and fire-grilled for a maximum flavour and are made with 100% chicken breast. With three flavours including Good Ol’ Sweet BBQ, Mighty Fine Fire-Grilled and Hellishly Hot Chilli Sweet Heat, the pots are the perfect high protein, high flavour snack on the go, after the gym or at the desk during a busy day.

“The launch of Fire & Smoke snacking is in response to the dietary revolution that we have increasingly seen in consumer research. The focus on health and wellbeing means consumers are no longer limiting their snacking options to a sandwich and crisps, and protein snacking has seen huge growth with further potential for growth through flavour excitement.” Conor Farrell, Senior Brand Manager, Kerry Foods

These snack pots are just one launch in an exciting future for the brand who are placing a huge focus on bringing new news and excitement to their ‘flavour craver’ target consumers. Another exciting launch to market in September was Fire & Smoke bacon, three premium products, two back bacon and one medallions bringing exciting new flavours like Carolina Taste Honey Mustard, Memphis Style Sweet Heat Chilli, and Kanas City Inspired Sweet BBQ. For more information and to keep up to date with all things Fire & Smoke check out the Fire & Smoke Facebook page at

Snack to the Future Over time our lives have changed a lot... And so has how we ! eat


Consumers aged 20-45 snack 3 times daily* stores need a varied range to reflect this & Consumers are looking for high energy and high protein solutions* & Incremental opportunity of 9.4% for chilled food by having varied snacking range * kerry snacking trial 2015



Cathedral Quarter shop pioneers new Centra concept BY ALYSON MAGEE

Owners Donagh and Orla McGoveran.


entra has gone all Superman with its new store in Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter. It’s as if the stoic and reliable Clark Kent has taken off his glasses and – wow – is suddenly punching way above his weight. Situated in a prime spot on Donegall Street with an outlook onto Buoy Park and St Anne’s Cathedral, the fit-out is strikingly different from the old Centra look with electric blue subway tiles, industrial-chic ceilings and Scandinavian flair. In-store, the offering similarly diverges with the usual convenience store staples supplemented by an impressive array of food to go ranging from healthier fare such as protein pots, salads and sushi to hot wing and burrito bars. Coffee is a major focus, with Musgrave NI also using the Cathedral Quarter store to pioneer its new Frank and Honest Gourmet Coffee Company concept through both a coffee-to-go counter and 22-seat café fronting onto Buoy Park. Donagh McGoveran – owner and operator of the store and retail partner of Musgrave NI – is targeting a rapidly expanding student market. Ulster University’s Belfast campus is only yards away, while its Jordanstown campus will be moving to adjacent sites in phases over the next few years. Already proprietor of two other Centra stores at Stranmillis and the Malone Road, Donagh has a unique handle on the student market and has tailored his offering accordingly. 22

“We are very focused on food to go, which is really driving the business and is where we see our point of difference over our competitors,” says Donagh. “We’re not going to compete with Tesco on cornflakes, peas and beans and I don’t think we want to, other than having the right products and a value message in those areas.”

Musgrave NI’s team of food-to-go specialists assisted Donagh in bringing many of his ideas to fruition, for example sourcing ingredients and compiling kits for putting together his pre-packed salads and burrito bar. Thompson’s Family Teas supplies a range of loose-leaf speciality teas for the café, while other local suppliers include Zen for sushi, The Pastry Chef in Larne for tray bakes and

cupcakes, Deli Lites in Newry for sandwich ingredients and Soup by James in Bangor. “We make all our own sandwiches, wraps, baguettes and salad boxes,” he says. “It gives us control over the quality of what we’re selling and also, from a margin point of view, there are labour costs involved but we’re still better off.” Donagh has worked with Musgrave since 1997, when he joined its undergraduate recruitment programme. From 1999 to 2005, he was a regional manager in Northern Ireland and completed an MBA at Jordanstown. “It then became clear in my mind that I was interested in working for myself, and that linked in well with the opportunity at Stranmillis in 2005,” he says. “It’s a very different kettle of fish when you actually go into it for yourself but I enjoy it.” With Centra Stranmillis proving a success, Donagh acquired Malone Road in 2008 just before the recession hit. “When times are tough, you learn a lot about yourself and how you run your business and manage costs, overheads and sales,” he says. “It was very challenging but we came out the other side.” Having learned to delegate and create strong management teams when he bought the second store, Donagh has found the stretch to three stores easier and would not rule out expanding his empire further if the right opportunity arose. An investment of around £500,000 went into Centra Cathedral Quarter, turning around the former furniture shop in about 10 weeks for its opening in June. The new store employs 25 mostly parttime staff, and employment is another area of innovation for Musgrave through its I-CARE programme focused on improving staff behaviour and attitude. The right attitude is preferable to experience, says Donagh, and his access to students as part-time staff has paid off as they usually pick up operational training fairly quickly. Technology has been key to running the shops efficiently, with Donagh using cloudbased apps to manage sales and stock control, while a supervisor’s background in social media has been put to good use to market the shops across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Musgrave NI plans to roll out the new Centra format across its retail partners Province-wide.

Industry grasps opportunities of successful promotional campaign BY MICHELE SHIRLOW, CHIEF EXECUTIVE, FOOD NI


t’s hard to believe that Year of Food & Drink has now passed the halfway stage. The first six months passed so very quickly because of the proliferation of support initiatives organised by public and private sector bodies across Northern Ireland. The industry has really stepped up to the bar and for every one thing organised by the public sector, they delivered another 30. And the months ahead appear likely to be just as busy. We have, for instance, the first-ever BBC Good Food Show being held at the Waterfront Hall in October, an initiative supported enthusiastically by Tourism NI, Invest Northern Ireland and the department. Food NI has organised a Food Village at the show that’s already booked out and will feature dozens of local food and drink suppliers, including many which featured in our hugely successful food pavilion at the Balmoral Show. BBC Good Food will also showcase local winners of the UK Great Taste Awards 2016 and the Blas na hEireann Irish National Food and Drink Awards.

Year of Food & Drink has enjoyed tremendous support from leading supermarkets and independents here since its launch back in January. We’ll be working with retailers to extend their local food and drink offering to the end of this year


Year of Food & Drink

continues with Bread & Baking N orthern Ireland Year of Food & Drink 2016 is a celebration of everything that makes local produce so good including epic landscapes, time-honoured traditions and the people and producers behind its food heritage. The theme for September is Bread & Baking. SEPTEMBER 1-3 ABV Beer Festival Carlisle Memorial Church, 25 Clifton St, - Belfast

SEPTEMBER 3 British Street Food Awards Hillsborough International Oyster Festival

SEPTEMBER 10 Donaghadee Lights Up Noon, Donaghadee, Co Down

SEPTEMBER 16-18 Tesco Taste Festival 2016 Custom House Square, Belfast

8 • •Ulster 3624 UlsterGrocer Grocer| JANUARY | JANUARY2011 2011

SEPTEMBER 17 Good Food Market at The Argory 11am-4pm, 144 Derrycaw Road, Moy SEPTEMBER 24-25 Festival Lough Erne in and around the town - Enniskillen The Ballynahinch Game and Harvest Fair - Montalto Estate, Dromore Road, Ballynahinch 2016 Finnebrogue Artisan Hans Sloane Chocolate & Fine Food Festival Killyleagh The theme for September is HARVEST. For more information on getting involved in Year of Food & Drink 2016, visiT WWW.DISCOVERIRELAND.COM

and well beyond. We hope that increasing opportunities for small suppliers with leading retailers will be one of the most important legacies of the current Year of Food & Drink. There’s no doubt in my mind that the host of food and drink festivals and other events across Northern Ireland, especially over the summer months, has increased awareness among consumers about the authenticity, provenance, quality and innovation underpinning the food and drink industry here. There have been many tremendously successful events held and partnerships formed. Among the most successful and enjoyable are the series in Derry – the LegenDerry Food and Drink Festival, the Irish Craft Beer and Cheese Festival and the brilliant Foyle Maritime Festival with the Clipper Kitchens highlighted by French celebrity chef JeanChristophe Novelli. Belfast has extended the popular Twilight Market, Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon has its Food Heartland events, Bushmills its Salmon and Whiskey Festival with distinguished chef Romy Gill, Glenarm the Dalriada Festival, Ballycastle the Rathlin Sound and Moira its own food and drink festival. I am sure that these events will prove even more popular next year. We’ve been delighted to have been associated with so many of them to curate provenance of participants, showcase demonstrations provided by our talented and dedicated local chefs and bring in the GB influencers who are now friends of Northern Ireland foods. I am sure many of those who have sampled and enjoyed local products at these events are now more aware of them on the shelves and chillers of retailers and have also been approaching store staff to stock those not already available. Retailers, I am delighted to report, have also been playing their part by assisting the smaller and micro businesses to take the necessary steps to become regular suppliers. Food NI will certainly be intensifying our campaign to encourage retailers to continue to showcase our excellent food and drink this year, in 2017… and well beyond. Buying local is good for the producers and for the wider economy. It promotes entrepreneurialism, helping to strengthen the private sector, a key policy of the objective, and creates greater employment opportunities as well as growing pride in the tiny corner of Europe which is punching well above its weight for food and drink.


Working with long established and up-and-coming bakeries A

s the Year of Food & Drink progresses, it is the turn of the Bread & Baking theme to take the spotlight. September is the month we celebrate the bakers; the early risers, the ones clapping their hands together with flour from the wee hours to supply the freshest products to stores across Northern Ireland. Henderson Wholesale’s fresh team pride themselves on working with some of the longest established and most up-and-coming bakeries in the country, from well-known brands to the bakery down the road delivering directly to their local SPAR and EUROSPAR retailers. In total, Henderson Wholesale has over 40 bakeries on their local supplier roster. Some of these companies feature in Henderson’s own brand label enjoy local which launched in 2015. The highlysuccessful brand features 100% locally-baked bread, pancakes, potato bread, soda farls, tray-bakes, fairy cakes and biscuits. The ‘roll’ call for the enjoy local line spans the length and breadth of the country, including Irwin’s in Portadown, Allied Bakeries in Belfast, Co Down’s Howell’s Handmade and Woodwin

8 36• •Ulster UlsterGrocer Grocer| JANUARY | JANUARY2011 2011

Catering in Craigavon. “Local is at the heart of what we do at Henderson’s,” says Neal Kelly, fresh food director at Henderson Wholesale. “We have so many fantastic independent and large-scale

We have so many fantastic independent and large-scale bakeries in Northern Ireland, that there is no excuse not to be sourcing our bakery products from them.”

bakeries in Northern Ireland, that there is no excuse not to be sourcing our bakery products from them. We have been working with our local bakers and bakeries since day dot, and we have no intentions of looking elsewhere. What we have on our doorstep are creative, hardworking individuals and companies who are up with the birds to deliver the freshest breads and bakery lines to Henderson Wholesale, or direct to store, as possible.” In many of the company-owned and independent retailers’ stores, the local bakery will feature on the shelves. In North Down, the local Heatherlea Bakery will feature in many stores, and Patton’s Bakery in Newtownards is developing their ranges with Hendersons, from sausage rolls to fresh pan loaves and Corn Dolly supplies to the Newry area. “Our retailers can expect the best selection of fresh-baked goods to choose from that our fresh team have sourced locally, and in turn, the customer will know that they can get their fresh pan loaf in the morning, some buns for an afternoon tea, or breakfast breads for the Sunday morning fry,” says Kelly.

25 5


Three-year investment yields results for Irwin’s Bakery Trading has been challenging but a brand refresh, repositioning of the Rankin Selection Irish Breads range, growth in the GB market and market entry into China have yielded results for Irwin’s Bakery, Chief Executive Michael Murphy tells UG.

HOW HAS THE PAST YEAR OF TRADING BEEN FOR IRWIN’S? Trading in the past year has been challenging with a decline in core bread sales in Northern Ireland yet, in the same period, we have seen growth in the GB market. The pressures facing the bakery industry aren’t different to those felt across the food industry as a whole. Strategic price cuts across staple goods and consumer concerns around health have led to a Northern Ireland bakery market with 6% value sales decline and 1.5m fewer pan loaves sold in the last 12 months, 26

highlighting that lower prices have not been able to bring consumers back to the bread aisles. Growth areas in bakery have come from products that differentiate from the core offering – whether unique in ingredients or surpassing the competition in quality like Irwin’s Softee, which has seen +32% growth. Continued price deflation, reduction in consumption and currency movements in the last year have all impacted on the business; however, with a continued strategic focus on our core consumer, Irwin’s has improved its performance over the year. WHAT WERE THE HIGHLIGHTS OF THE PAST YEAR FOR YOU? The GB morning goods market has been consistently strong throughout the last year. We embarked on a brand refresh and repositioned our award-winning range of Rankin Selection Irish Breads to highlight its health benefits to consumers. Following this activity, the range has seen double-digit growth in the market. We have continued to develop our cake products for the convenience channels, which has seen an increase in our business, and we are forecasting continued growth in this area.

WERE THERE ANY SIGNIFICANT DEVELOPMENTS FOR YOUR BUSINESS OVER THE PAST YEAR? A key development for the business in November 2015 was Irwin’s market entry into China. We partnered with China Merchant Foods to develop a range of Irish biscuits targeted at the growing affluent middle class in the country. After initial research, we developed a range of flavour combinations specifically for the Chinese pallet and designed a range of packaging that reflected a real sense of Northern Ireland’s culture and heritage. The biscuit boxes are shaped like the iconic hexagonal stones of the Giant’s Causeway – incorporating colours that again through research we knew would appeal to the Chinese market. We are travelling to China again in November to the FHC China 2016 exhibition to work alongside our Chinese partner to further develop our supply base. HAVE YOU INVESTED OR EXPANDED? The business has a three-year strategic investment plan. Initial investment in our IT infrastructure has given Irwin’s the platform to develop our ‘smart bakery’ concept with the introduction of further automation and robotics on our production lines. We also

BREAD & BAKING have several R&D projects in the pipeline, which will come to fruition in 2016. Irwin’s has a strong brand portfolio, which includes the best–selling Nutty Krust and Softee ranges. Moving forward, we will continue to develop and grow these hero lines as well as investing in new product development across large bread formats as well as hotplate and morning goods including muffins. ARE THERE ANY NEW/CHANGING TRENDS IN TERMS OF WHAT YOUR CUSTOMERS ARE BUYING OR HOW THEY ARE BUYING? Our research with Northern Ireland bakery shoppers has shown consumers are reducing their sliced pan consumption and adopting a broader-based repertoire of bakery items to suit a variety of needs and occasions. Health, on the go and convenience are high on their purchasing agendas. Consumers are also showing interest in ready-sliced, smaller portions and healthier ranges enhanced with seeds, vitamins and minerals. Product development with new flavours and ingredient innovation like protein, sprouted grains and superfoods have also peaked interest.

This has led us to look at our current range and make it relevant to today’s consumer through more convenient options, healthier versions of our consumers’ favourite products and flavour extensions. Across the bakery category, wholegrain varieties have taken share from white as consumers are more receptive to colours and formats that take away the stigma of carbs – in the last 12 months, we have successfully launched Softee extensions with added wholegrains. Bakery purchases instore vary across the week with a rise in more artisan purchases as people make more effort with meal occasions at the weekend. The growth of cooked breakfasts at weekends has helped drive our morning goods range +2% year on year. Provenance continues to be of great importance to consumers in Northern Ireland, with research telling us NI shoppers want local. WHAT DO YOU FEEL ARE THE PROSPECTS FOR YOUR BUSINESS? The bakery landscape is changing as consumers grapple with nutritional

information overload. At two ends of the scale are health and indulgence. There is continued growth in healthier breads that deliver added value, taste and meet nutritional requirements. Food influencers like Joe Wicks ‘The Body Coach’ – who advocates bread as part of a balanced diet – seem to be resonating with consumers. Indulgence is also still high on the agenda. There are clear opportunities for Irwin’s, as a bakery that continually listens to consumers and develops its range of products in line with market trends. Our export business remains a key focus – speciality bread and cakes in GB as well as our most recent contract win in China and developing our relationship with China Merchant Foods.

Growth areas in bakery have come from products that differentiate from the core offering – whether unique in ingredients or surpassing the competition in quality like Irwin’s Softee, which has seen +32% growth.” HAVE YOU ANY PLANS FOR DEVELOPMENT OF YOUR BUSINESS OVER THE COMING YEAR? We will continue to develop our business in Great Britain and build on last year’s success with our Rankin Selection range and Irwin’s cake products with both existing and new customers. We have an efficiency development plan within the bakery to progress our ‘smart bakery’ concept and a NPD plan to meet both our customers and consumer expectations. ARE THERE ANY OTHER ISSUES AFFECTING YOUR BUSINESS OR SECTOR? Brexit will bring challenges on currency, labour and ingredient sourcing but, like all businesses in the UK, we will adjust. The initial dramatic fall in the sterling gives us short-term gains in the Republic of Ireland but this will be short lived. 27


Hovis Ireland identifies bakery category trends T

he bakery category is a vitally important part in any store offering, and it’s crucial that manufacturers keep on top of trends and market research to best tailor their products to customer and shopper demand. Barry Spence, category manager for Hovis Ireland, gives an insight into the latest data and trends in the bakery category, which Hovis scrutinises on an almost daily basis to inform its sales strategies and NPD. “Research is key,” says Barry. “We gather as much data as we can, both qualitative and quantitative from several companies, as well as Hovis-initiated research. We also gather data, specific to the Northern Ireland market given the differences to the rest of the UK. “The bakery market has changed significantly, with shoppers increasingly driven by health trends as well as price. Bread specifically is dominated by Hovis and two other local bread suppliers, with the three brands collectively delivering over 70% of loaf sales to Northern Ireland. “The popularity of the three big brands is not diminishing either, with a sales increase of almost 9% since July 2013. Our Hovis and Ormo brands and their product ranges play a significant role within the bakery category; Hovis with its wide range of breads, and Ormo with its morning goods.” In terms of important segments, Barry says: “Generally, there has been a shift from the more traditional segments, with growth in the continental snacking and sandwich alternatives areas.” Snacking products that can be consumed in or out of the house have seen particular growth. DON’T DITCH WHITE BREAD White bread is still important though. Despite declining by 5% in units in Northern Ireland in the last 12 weeks (Nielsen NI July 2016), it still accounts for almost 50% of bread sales. Research carried out by Hovis in Dec 2015 (Equity Tracking – Marketing Sciences) showed that the category drivers for white bread are better quality and great taste. In response to this, Hovis recently revamped its everyday bread offering, with the introduction of a new softer recipe across its Hovis Soft White and Best of Both loaves. “Shoppers are asking for better white bread, so our expert bakers have been able to create a loaf that is significantly softer than our current loaf, with great tasting freshness from a brand consumers love and trust,” says Barry. The Hovis Best of Both loaf also gets an improved recipe and a refreshed packaging design, delivering maximum appeal for kids. It has been developed to appeal to children and, with twice the wheatgerm of wholemeal bread, the appeal will extend to mums too. 8 3628 UlsterGrocer Grocer| JANUARY | JANUARY2011 2011 4• •Ulster





1,036,416 16,004,538 31,115,131 35,695,146

SOURCE: AC Nielsen NI Bakery Latest 52 weeks July 2016 (Units)


Plant Bread

Plant Other Bakery

*Total ISB (kgs) 5.0%


-4.30% HEALTHY BREADS “The breads that are focused on health, seeded and diet, have found a new lease of life,” says Barry. “Only a year ago, seeded breads were showing a 20% decline in value sales (Nielsen NI July 2016), now it’s only a 9% decline in the last 12 weeks. And diet or low calorie breads continue their growth with 20% growth (Nielsen NI July 2016) in the last 12 weeks.” IN STORE BAKERY “Product development has been limited in the bakery category, with consumers increasingly interested in the in-store bakery to offer something different,” he says. “Many stores use the in-store bakery as the avenue to plant bread, using the smells and aromas of the fresh bread to drive sales. Kantar Northern Ireland (May 2016) showed in-store bakery value growth of 4% YOY and volume growth of 5% YOY. We see this as a very positive sign in an otherwise flat bakery market.” OTHER BAKERY “Despite a fall in popularity, Northern Irish traditional bakery is still very popular,” says Barry. “50% of the value sales in other bakery (Nielsen NI) in 2013 were attributed to traditional products like potato farls, soda farls and pancakes. In 2016, that was down to 46%, a decline of 7% value sales

Source: Ac Nielsen NI Bakery July 2016 (Units) Source: * Kantar NI May 2016 (kgs)

but still represents a massive portion of other bakery sales. “Pancakes are the largest segment within other bakery with 22% unit share of the category, but segments that many people might dismiss as old fashioned, soda and potato farls and wheaten bread are still popular, with 20% of unit sales. “They may be very traditional, but don’t forget about them. We revamped our Ormo offering last year under the Bake me Happy strapline with new products and packaging, in recognition of the importance of these segments.” MODERN ALTERNATIVES – THE FUTURE? “The area showing the greatest growth has been sandwich alternatives - 24% value sales growth (Nielsen NI July 2016) since 2013,” says Barry. “Shoppers are more willing to experiment with products like bagels, wraps and thins. However, Thins may have peaked, showing a 22% decline in unit sales in the last 12 weeks. “Brioche, pains au chocolate, pains au raisin, crepes and croissants are the areas to watch. Since 2013, this sector has shown 34% growth and in 2016 now represents 11% of other bakery sales (Nielsen NI July 2016). 2017 certainly won’t be a boring year for bakery.”


Northern Irish beef, butter and oysters feature in Top 50 Foods F

ive Northern Ireland foods have featured in the Top 50 Foods, identified as standout products among all entries receiving gold stars across the UK and Ireland in the Great Taste 2016 awards. As covered in UG last month, 84 local food and drink producers secured a total of 303 gold stars, with 13 products from eight companies receiving the coveted three-star award, in Great Taste 2016. The Meat Merchant, owned by Peter Hannan, achieved 36 product awards totalling 59 stars, a record number of awards for a single food manufacturer in the UK and Ireland. Listed in the Top 50 Foods were oysters from Rooney Fish in Kilkeel, Co Down; Glenarm shorthorn four-rib roast, sugar-pit beef brisket and Glenarm shorthorn wing-rib sirloin from Hannan Meats in Moira, Co Antrim; and smoked butter from Abernethy Butter, Dromara, Co Down. While Hannan Meats and Abernethy Butter have won Great Taste awards in the

past, Rooney Fish is a first-time entrant and winner, which began growing its own oysters in 2013, setting up an oyster farm at Mill Bay on Carlingford. Out of 10,000 products to be judged, Rooney Fish was awarded a three-star Great Taste award. The expert judges described the oysters as having a ‘nice meaty flavour – sweet tasting and lovely with a sea fresh smell and flavour, lovely creamy colour, enticing and bright, clean aroma, wonderful texture, especially for the size of oyster, smooth and melting with a brilliant flavour of fish and sea.’ The judges continued: ‘Very fresh, lovely burst of salt and a sweetness to the end – very clever layers of flavour. A good roundness to the oyster which is so visually appealing, beautiful sweetness and lovely ozone flavour.’ Rooney Fish exports the oysters to France for foodservice operations including highend restaurants in Paris. The small company is also Northern Ireland’s biggest exporter of fish and shellfish including crab claws to international markets especially Asia including

China, Japan and South Korea. The oysters were in the running for the Supreme Champion title, announced at a gala dinner in London on September 5, although the accolade ultimately went to Hannan Meats (see p4), which also gained the honour in 2012. Another Moira business, McCartney’s Butchers, won Supreme Champion in 2011. “We have a dynamic and progressive food and drink industry and the results of the 2016 UK Great Taste awards will help to consolidate Northern Ireland’s growing reputation for excellence in food and drink production and hospitality,” said Economy Minister Simon Hamilton. “Major international retailers and food service organisations watch such high profile competitions for new products and different taste experiences on behalf of their customers. My department through Invest Northern Ireland will continue to support our exportfocused food producers position themselves for growth, particularly in markets outside Northern Ireland.”

Henderson Wholesale wins first ever Great Taste stars for local products T

he Fresh team at Henderson Wholesale, part of the Henderson Group, is celebrating after winning its first Great Taste stars as part of the Great Taste 2016 awards. The company received one-star status for two products developed within its enjoy local range, in conjunction with local suppliers; enjoy local Natural Yogurt with Clandeboye Estate in North Down, and enjoy local Roast Beef Dinner with Armaghbased Daily Bake. “This is the first year we have entered any of our products into Great Taste and we are over the moon to see two of our best-selling products and local suppliers get the recognition they very much deserve,” said Neal Kelly, fresh foods director at Henderson Wholesale. “We have been working with Clandeboye Estate and Daily Bake for a combined 12 years, developing only the best products for our retailers and their shoppers. “Since the enjoy local range was introduced in 2015 after a £25m investment, we have nurtured our relationships with our suppliers and enabled the range to grow alongside our Fresh trading managers Steven Kennedy and Iain Dickson join Neal Kelly, centre, fresh shoppers’ needs. Further investments of around a quarter of a foods director at Henderson Wholesale, to celebrate their first Great Taste stars. million pounds this past year, has resulted in some of the most innovative, fresh, value for money products and meal solutions available on the shelves of convenience stores across Northern Ireland.” Henderson Wholesale’s enjoy local range is made up of 144 products from 25 suppliers on the island of Ireland, available in SPAR, EUROSPAR, VIVO, VIVOXTRA and VIVO Essentials stores across Northern Ireland.



Cavanagh secures a multitude of awards including two Great Taste gold stars J

ohn and Eileen Hall have been producing free range eggs since 2002 on their family farm in the beautiful Lakelands of Co Fermanagh. They launched the Cavanagh Free Range Eggs brand in 2012 in response to consumer demand for provenance and for a quality artisan free range egg. The Halls have only ever produced free range eggs on their farm because they don’t like the idea of the birds not having the freedom to roam about and express themselves. There’s nothing as beautiful as the song they sing when they are happy roaming about in their natural habitat. With a flock of approximately 42,000 hens in five separate barns, the hens have freedom to roam in the large fenced paddocks, which are dotted with mature oak, ash and chestnut trees. The tranquil fields around the barns are ideally suited for hens as they can forage during the day and return to the safety of their individual barn perches at night. The Halls have planted over 100 more trees over the past three years which act as shade as they mature, including 30 fruit trees for the

John and Eileen Hall

birds to enhance their diet with seasonal fruit as they drop on the ground. This adds to the flavour of their multi-award-winning eggs. Their eggs won a gold star in the Great Taste awards in 2014 and two gold stars in Great Taste 2016. They won an Irish Quality Food Award in 2015 and Best Artisan Producer in the Inaugural Grow Make Eat Drink Awards in 2016 at a recent black tie event in Belfast, and were shortlisted for the delicious magazine awards in 2016 and the Blas na hEireann Irish Food Awards in 2016,

with winners yet to be announced. Cavanagh Free Range Eggs have proven that ‘an egg is not just an egg!’ The company places an emphasis on high welfare standards and is focused on producing the finest quality artisan free range eggs in the industry. Their eggs are used by some of the top hotels and restaurants in the Province, including Belfast’s five-star Merchant Hotel and were eaten by World Leaders at the G8 Summit in Enniskillen’s Lough Erne Resort Hotel in 2013. Cavanagh Free Range Eggs hosted the Bank of Ireland Open Farm Weekend over the past two years. They’ve also welcomed various groups to their farm, including chefs, scouts and schools to educate them on how their eggs are produced and packed. In addition to the hospitality sector, Cavanagh Free range eggs are stocked in various independent retail outlets and all Asda stores across Northern Ireland along with a selection of larger Tesco stores. The packing centre gained British Lion Accreditation in May this year.

Great Taste triumph for Grahams Bakery


58 Clonkee Road, Cavanagh, Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh BT92 8FH Tel: 028 6773 7889 E: W:


fter 60 years in business, Grahams Bakery has added to its catalogue of awards with another Great Taste award triumph. Based in Dromore, Co Down, Grahams Bakery is very much a family affair. Established by May Graham in 1956, it is now into its third generation with Dennis Graham and his son and daughters managing the business. As well as having listings across Northern Ireland, the home bakery also has extensive business in Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland for its cakes, buns and biscuits, with customers including Tesco, Sainsburys, Amazon, Dunnes and Budgens. The latest award highlights how the multi-generational nature of the business shapes its activity, with an equal commitment to both tradition and innovation. “We’re constantly walking the line that holds onto both our heritage with traditional products, and also improving and experimenting with novel ideas and flavours,” said Tim Graham, sales and marketing manager. “This month alone we’re launching eight new products, but we’re delighted that the spotlight of this award is still on our classic oat biscuits. It’s probably the product we’re most proud of.”

Tel: +44 (0)28 9099 4202


Arthur Cox advises on successful award of £8.7m animal health contract

Pictured are, top row from left, James Flanagan (Arthur Cox), Conor Toal (AMT-Sybex), William Curry (Arthur Cox), Morris McCracken and Tom Gilgun (Central Procurement Directive) and, front from left, Brian Mitchell and Leonard Hayes (AMT-Sybex), Robert Huey (Deputy Secretary of Veterinary Services and Animal Health Group) and David Torrens (DAERA).


aw firm Arthur Cox has provided legal guidance to the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs in one of the largest investments in the agri-food industry infrastructure in recent years. The Belfast firm’s Corporate and Commercial team, led by partner William Curry, advised on the procurement process

Farm unions highlight Brexit as an opportunity for change F

arm unions have agreed that Brexit could create opportunities for the dairy sector to tackle key problems. Speaking after a meeting in Edinburgh with Scottish, English and Welsh farm unions, the UFU Dairy Chairman William Irvine said Brexit could pave the way for a new approach to the problem of price volatility. He also said it could drive the introduction of a radical approach to managing risk. “The signs are that milk prices are at last beginning to rise, but volatility is here to stay,” said Irvine. “Our industry needs to make sure it is better equipped to manage the risks to stability that brings. We agreed that the strongest case for action will be made if the industry works together, via the four UK farm unions.”

8 3636 UlsterGrocer Grocer| JANUARY | JANUARY2011 2011 4• •Ulster

(and contract terms) for the award of an £8.7m contract to a Belfast company for the delivery of a new state-of-the-art food-animal health and traceability system for Northern Ireland. After an 18-month competitive dialogue procurement process involving a number of significant IT companies, the contract was awarded to AMT-SYBEX, a software and services firm based in Belfast which is part of Capita PLC, for an initial nine-year period. NIFAIS (the Northern Ireland Food Animal Information System) will be an improved replacement for the Animal and Public Health Information System (APHIS), which has been in operation since November 1998. “This was a hugely significant public sector IT contract, involving a tightly run competitive dialogue process,” said Curry. “Arthur Cox advised on all aspects of the procurement from the outset, supporting the Department of Finance Central Procurement Directorate and DAERA through competitive dialogue with multiple bidders, to contract award and signature.

“We were delighted to be selected by DAERA to advise on this significant project, following a competitive tender process, and this highlights our depth of experience and expertise in this area. “This contract was one of the first to use the Government Legal Service’s updated version of the Model Services Contract, which was published in 2014 to reflect developments in government policy. We tailored this contract to ensure that it met the key needs of DAERA and worked as a matter of Northern Ireland law. “The importance of the NIFAIS system cannot be overestimated. The system is crucial for monitoring the health of our livestock and allows the agri-food sector to boost consumer confidence in local markets by tracing foodstuffs right back to source.” The NIFAIS contract is for an initial nine-year period, extendable by agreement for up to two further three-year periods. The NIFAIS procurement was first advertised in the Official Journal of the European Union in July 2014.

UFU outlines its priorities for the Assembly to DAERA Minister U lster Farmers’ Union (UFU) has had its first formal meeting with the new DAERA minister Michelle McIlveen with the financial pressure farmers are under and Brexit negotiations topping discussions. In the UFU delegation were President Barclay Bell, Deputy President Victor Chestnutt and UFU Chief Executive Wesley Aston. Speaking after the meeting, Bell said there was no escape from the reality that the number one issue for the 12,000 farming families the UFU represents is financial pressure they have been under for more than a year, across all commodities. “We used this meeting to cover actions that could help address this income crisis,” he said. “These included full implementation of the rural development programme, led by the farm business investment and agri-environment schemes, advance CAP payments and payment of agreed support to farmers affected by last winter’s flooding.” Also discussed was the distribution of the latest EU agricultural aid package,

Pictured are, from left, UFU Deputy President Victor Chestnutt; DAERA Minister Michelle McIlveen; UFU President Barclay Bell; and UFU Chief Executive Wesley Aston.

Brexit, BSE Negligible Risk Status, Bovine TB, the future of ANC support, the development of an environmental prosperity agreement and the abolition of the Agricultural Wages Board, which the UFU has long argued is irrelevant in an era of minimum and national wage legislation. UFU also underlined its key objectives for the Assembly, as highlighted in its 2016 Manifesto for the election. These include securing greater fairness along the food supply chain, driving the Going for Growth strategy, easing the path of young people into agriculture, opening new markets and ensuring the direct CAP payments farmers rely on reach them as quickly as possible.


Papas Minerals secures significant business in GB P

apas Minerals, a local specialist in traditional non-alcoholic drinks, has secured its first significant business in Great Britain and is also close to clinching a major retail deal in the Republic of Ireland.

The company, based in Bangor, Co Down, has recently supplied its range of traditional minerals and cordials such as cloudy lemonade and sarsaparilla, as well as its original ginger wine and elderflower, to artisan food and drink specialist mmm... and glug based at Grainger Arcade in Newcastle Upon Tyne. Papas Minerals, founded by Managing Director Wayne Adair in 1999, has been focusing on business outside Northern Ireland. The company, which supplies its handmade beverages to over 100 independent retailers, has been developed through its web presence and also referrals from existing customers. Papas produces a range of beverages from original recipes without artificial flavours, colours or sweeteners. The range includes a sugar-free ginger wine. It also produces a clove and winter berry cordial which is sold throughout the year. The business with mmm... and glug followed a recent visit by the Newcastle company to St George’s Market in Belfast, where Papas has had a presence for more than a decade. “They sampled our beverages at the market and then placed an order, our first substantial business in Britain,” said Adair. “While we’ve had small orders from individual consumers in Britain from our website over the years, the business placed by mmm... and glug is significant and encouraging because it’s from an established retailer specialising in craft beverages.”



ummy Bakes NI, a local specialist in biscuits, scones and cakes, has launched a special package of products aimed at the developing afternoon tea market in foodservice. The products comprise a range of smaller scones, shortbread and oatie biscuits and a vanilla butter said to be ideal for hotels and restaurants increasingly offering afternoon tea menus. Yummy Bakes, run by Anna Taggart and based at Newtownabbey in Co Antrim, already supplies its bakery goods such as traditional Irish shortbread to foodservice operators including Sodexo in Great Britain and in the Republic of Ireland. The company’s products have also recently been listed for the Causeway Business Lounge at Belfast International Airport. “There’s been a tremendous revival in afternoon tea throughout the UK involving many leading hotels in particular,” said Taggart. “It’s great to see one of the great traditions being rejuvenated by initiatives such as the recent Afternoon Tea Week.”

New cheese from Northern Irish award winner A ward-winning Northern Irish cheese maker Mike Thomson of Mike’s Fancy Cheeses has released a younger version of his successful raw milk Young Buck blue cheese. The new cheese, known as Baby Buck, is matured for around a month instead of the four months for Young Buck and is on sale before piercing. Baby Buck has a Cheshire style texture and is described by Thomson as a ‘creamy cheese without the blue notes’ associated with Young Buck, which was Northern Ireland’s first raw milk blue cheese. Baby Buck also uses raw milk from a local dairy farm. The new cheese comes as the small business has expanded its sales outside Northern Ireland to leading fromageries in the key French centres of Paris, Lyon and Bordeaux; business developed during a promotional tour by Thomson to France. Baby Buck is already on sale in delis across Northern Ireland, and also supplied to cheese specialists in Britain including Neal’s Yard in London.



Ballymaloe Foods relishes a new market as it launches in NI Joanne Beattie, brand manager at Valeo Foods, is pictured with celebrity chef Rachel Allen last month at the official launch of the range in James Street South Cookery School.


rish family food company Ballymaloe Foods, producer of the award-winning Ballymaloe Original Relish, has launched into Northern Ireland. Through securing a partnership with Valeo Foods as its Province-wide distributor, the company has since gained listings with participating SPAR, EUROSPAR, VIVO, VIVOEXTRA,

SuperValu, Centra, Mace, Dunnes and independent stores. “Now, more than ever, seemed the most fitting time to expand the Ballymaloe Foods range into Northern Ireland,” said Maxine Hyde, sales & marketing manager for Ballymaloe Foods. “As a family business through and

through - developed and grown over three generations - we are ecstatic to be working alongside Valeo Foods, and look forward to showcasing our products to the Northern Irish market over the coming months.” Joanne Beattie, brand manager at Valeo Foods, said: “We are delighted to be working with the team at Ballymaloe Foods and looking forward to introducing this fantastic product to the NI market. With its strong heritage and track record for producing great tasting products, we have no doubt it will be a great hit with consumers.” Ballymaloe Original Relish has been the recipient of numerous industry awards over recent years including the McKennas’ Guides Award (2015), a star gold in the Great Taste Awards (2015) and numerous Georgina Campbell Awards. Ballymaloe Foods will be introducing an initial five products from its growing range into the Northern Ireland market, with the retail range including Ballymaloe Original Relish and Ballymaloe Jalapeno Pepper Relish.

TENA Men upgrades range to meet growing consumer demanda T

ENA, the UK’s leading bladder weakness brand, has upgraded its range of TENA Men products to meet growing demand in the male bladder weakness category. With the total male bladder weakness market now worth over £1.4m*, TENA Men has refreshed its range of Absorbent Protectors so retailers can offer consumers the very best protection. Research from TENA Men shows that one in four UK men over the age of 40** experience urine leakage and now 54%*** of those actively purchasing purpose made products, like TENA Men, are men, making it an ideal time for retailers to stock the range. “It’s great to see that men are finally purchasing their own protection for urine leakage, rather than relying on their partner or turning to homemade solutions,” said Donna Wilson, brand manager for TENA Men. “What’s more, the male bladder weakness category is growing, making it the perfect time for retailers to stock purpose made products for men.” *IRI May 2016 **SCA Study 2013, UK *** Kantar May 2016

8 3638 UlsterGrocer Grocer| JANUARY | JANUARY2011 2011 4• •Ulster


People on the move...

in association with

Jonathan McWhinney appointed as new Tesco buyer J onathan McWhinney has been appointed as a packaged food buyer for Tesco NI, having joined the business six years ago following a short stint in accounts and sales. A business and marketing graduate of the University of Ulster, McWhinney commenced his career in Tesco as part of the trainee management scheme, working towards a role in stock control and merchandising. Having completed manager training, he worked at Tesco stores in Newtownabbey, Castlereagh Road, Cregagh Road, Lisburn’s Bentrim Road and then the largest store in Northern Ireland at Newtownbreda, where he was appointed lead manager for grocery and general merchandise. In his new role, McWhinney will manage relationships between local suppliers and Tesco to ensure their brands grow locally and nationally. He will report to Tesco NI Commercial Manager Sean Largey. “My experiences of working in shops for six years, getting to know and understand our customers and what they want has given me a great foundation to be able to take into my new role,” said McWhinney. “It is an exciting time for Northern Ireland producers with so many local artisans bringing lots of great new products to the market and I am really excited and privileged to become part of the team that will help them to grow both locally and nationally.”

Jonathan McWhinney

GroceryAid elects two new trustees H

Helen Tucker

elen Tucker (human resources leader, Procter & Gamble) and Mark Williamson, (commercial director, Waitrose) have been elected to the Board of GroceryAid Trustees, chaired by Chris Etherington (chief executive, Palmer and Harvey). “GroceryAid plays such an important role throughout the industry and I’m delighted to have the opportunity of joining the Trustees and supporting the future direction of the charity,” said Tucker. As members of the Trustee Board, Tucker and Willaimson will have overall responsibility for the governance of the Charity, and will bring their particular skills to help shape future strategy as well as the way the Charity operates on a day-to-day basis. Their extensive knowledge of the grocery industry will be of great benefit in helping raise awareness within the industry and driving the welfare agenda forward. Williamson has been involved with GroceryAid for many years, taking part in multiple London to Paris Cycle Challenges to help raise money for the charity. “I am thrilled to be appointed as a trustee of GroceryAid,” he said. “The charity has grown considerably over the years and I look forward to helping GroceryAid carry forward this momentum.”

Mark Williamson

Unit 2, 1 Edgewater Road, Belfast Harbour, Belfast BT3 9JQ Tel: +44 28 9077 0999 Fax: +44 28 9078 1172



To see your product featured in Shelf Life, contact Mark at or Tel: 028 9078 3235

Boost champions new protein drink offer B

oost Drinks has launched Protein Boost, signifying the champion of the independent brand’s diversification into an exciting new category that is growing at 26% year on year as part of its business growth strategy. The initiative comes in response to increasing consumer demand for health and wellbeing products and provides the independent convenience channel with a protein drink brand focused on them. Protein Boost comes in 310ml individual plastic bottles with great tasting chocolate and strawberry flavours. Each bottle contains 20g of protein, no fat, no added sugar and less than 150 calories. Pricemarked at £1.29, the new SKUs offer excellent value to the consumer, a great margin to the independent trade and come in a convenient eight-bottle case. Boost is developing bespoke marketing collateral including a dedicated website, POS material and a busy schedule of sampling to support the launch. Initially, the new line will be available in Northern Ireland and London – with a national roll-out scheduled for 2017. “This is a very exciting piece of new product development for us,” said Kirsty Birks, strategy director at Boost. “While the health and wellbeing agenda has continued to gain consumer momentum, we saw a real gap in the convenience sector for protein drinks. Our new offer provides a simple, convenient and tasty way to take in protein in a format that is not available in the multiples, while offering a great price point and strong profit margins. It is also delicious! “Innovation has always been a priority for us and now seems exactly the right time for us to diversify, build on the brand equity that exists in the Boost name and further demonstrate our commitment to independent retailers.” For further information, visit

Complete and balanced premium petfood with ultima A

t ultima, we know how important it is to take care of your pet’s health. This is why ultima is a 100% complete and balanced pet food, prepared using premium quality ingredients. It is steam cooked to capture its full flavour and maintain its benefits, and contains no colourings or preservatives. For stock enquires, please contact Valeo Foods on 028 9267 3211.


Savse smoothies shake up the shelves with NI launch S

avse smoothies are about to shake up the shelves in Northern Ireland, as their smoothie and juice range launches into SPAR shelves nationwide. Northern Irish ‘healthistas’ can now get their hands on a delicious range of fruit and veg smoothies which are lower in sugar and up to four times higher in fibre than many competing brands. Savse never heat pasteurises and each bottle is cold-pressed, 100% natural and contains only raw fruit and vegetables. The brand has an honest, ‘No Bull’ philosophy, never adding sugar, preservatives or flavours. The core range – a spectrum of delicious health-boosting smoothie heroes – features the best-selling Super Green (pear, kale and spinach) and Super Orange (mango, celery and passion fruit), along with Super Blue, Super Red and Super Purple. Juice lovers will be tempted by the incredibly fresh and natural Grove Orange and Jonagold Apple – cold-pressed juices which taste like biting into the real fruit. These thirst-busters are a branch above anything else on the shelves.

Huge range of new, used and ex-demo Food Machinery immediately available

Tel: 02890 994 202 Mob: 075 8149 3156

A NEW company with an established reputation in the food industry

Providing solutions suited to your requirements. Unit 5, Madines Site, 79 Downpatrick Road, Crossgar BT30 9EH

We are one of Ireland’s leading Specialist Field Marketing agencies providing a face and voice for our clients brands at the point of purchase. Sales Outsourcing, Merchandising, Auditing, Technical Services Unit 2, 1 Edgewater Road, Belfast Harbour Estate, Belfast, BT3 9JQ Tel: +44 28 9077 0999

Q&A WHAT IS YOUR MOST DIFFICULT TASK? Keeping staff motivated can often be a challenge, both on the permanent and temporary sides of the business. With full-time staff, we put KPI-based incentive programmes in place to ensure continued motivation, and continually develop them with the help of our training partners FXL. There’s also a personal element to motivation, where people need direct interaction to drive them forwards, be it an arm around a shoulder, someone to vent to, or a firm push in the right direction. We have team meetings every four weeks where we can deal with issues together, and share best practise across all members. We also have regular one on ones with all our sales reps, to ensure not only that they are doing everything we need them to, but also for them to give us feedback on our own performance.

Martin Rice

In the Hot Seat Martin Rice, senior account manager at Contract People TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF I’ve been working for Contract People for five years, initially coming in as a contract resourcer and working my way up to senior account manager. I gained my experience working for a recruitment company in London, before moving back to Belfast and stepping into field marketing. I had previously operated as part of Contract People’s tactical team and, as a result, knew how the business worked, as well as the people within it. I’m happily married to my childhood sweetheart Clare and we are expecting our first child. WHAT DOES A TYPICAL DAY INVOLVE? Each day is different from the last, and plans are quick to change, but every day starts with a strong cup of coffee and a review of my plans for the day ahead. I currently work across different sectors, including FMCG Sales, Refrigeration, Mystery Shopping and Tactical Promotions/Merchandising and, at the start of every day, my team and I run daily updates to see what was achieved the previous day. Reports are then built from this data and sent through to our clients. If any issues flag at this time, we feed back to our teams to ensure these are dealt with immediately. A large part of my job also includes management of a fluid tactical workforce. To ensure our quality of work stays at the level we expect, we meet each of these staff 42

members before they go out to work, give a full briefing on the activity ahead, and take them through the reporting systems we have put in place. This can be a timely process, but streamlines procedures across all staff members, and ensures we know each and every candidate’s strengths and weaknesses before sending them out. WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT YOUR JOB? I’m in a privileged position where I actually enjoy going to work in the morning. It’s a cliché, but we really are a close knit, welloiled machine in Contract People. Many of the people here have been in the company for well over 10 years and, with the low staff turnover in the office, everyone knows each other really well. We work very well as a team, and everyone has a common goal of moving the business forward and making it as successful as we can. Weekends are much more enjoyable without the Monday morning dread. I also love the variety. No two days are the same, and that keeps the role fresh and exciting. We’ve recently become part of the PRL Group and, with their help, we will continue to expand into new sectors, meaning we continually have to learn new things to keep up to date. This variety can be challenging, but in terms of personal development, it’s been invaluable.

WHAT IS THE BEST ADVICE YOU HAVE EVER RECEIVED? We have a quote from Albert Einstein hanging in the office which says: ‘Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new’. We always drive people not to be afraid to make decisions and be proactive in their ways of working. If mistakes are made, we use them as points of learning. WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST GRIPE? People not answering their phones. We’re a business reliant on communication, and when we can’t get in contact with people, it delays our processes and has a knock on effect on workload. WHAT TALENT WOULD YOU LIKE TO HAVE? Languages! I did French in school but went to Paris for the Euros and quickly discovered that ‘Je joue au football’ just didn’t cut it. I also have Italian family and always felt bad that when I went there, the younger children spoke to me in English. WHOM DO YOU MOST ADMIRE? My parents have always driven me to make the most of myself in and outside of the workplace, so they’d be top of any list like this. Within Contract People, Allan, Russell, Niall and Tom have consistently grown the company throughout the years, and you can’t help but admire their ways of working and dealing with people. WHERE IS YOUR FAVOURITE PLACE? I love good food, so in terms of Belfast my favourite place would have to be Ox, which has revolutionised the restaurant scene here. Outside Belfast, I enjoy regular trips to Italy where we have a family home in Massino Visconti. WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE FOOD PRODUCT? Does Guinness count?

“It tastes as good as it looks!” Almost 60 years ago we opened our family bakery in Strabane producing bread, confectionery and savoury pastry, fresh daily, using quality ingredients seasonally sourced from local growers and producers. Our food carries our name. So we take great pride and care in ensuring that every product lives up to the same high standards we set when it started all those years ago. We won’t make it unless it tastes as good as it looks!

If you have a range opportunity you would like to discuss, are interested in becoming a supplier or you would like to join our team please contact us on +44 (0)28 7138 2797 or by email

McColgans UG Advert AW.indd 1

21/10/2014 14:34




Since joining Nisa we have seen a

significant sales


“I was a Costcutter member for 21 years, but felt Nisa’s flexible model would benefit our 7,000 sq ft family-run supermarket in the village of Portglenone in County Antrim more. Our store is now a fully-fledged Nisa Extra as it underwent a revamp including a new fascia, gondola ends and staff uniforms. The store has undergone several expansions over the years and it has a deli, butchers, off licence and a wide range of products. A strong range and promotions are really important to us because our aim is to attract shoppers to do a weekly shop at our store,

rather than travelling nine miles to the nearest multiple. We also pride ourselves on providing a friendly customer service. We joined Nisa because we knew we would benefit from the support and services they provide, especially the fantastic availability and range for our large store, and we look forward to a prosperous future working together. We’re in a new era now and it’s onwards and upwards from here.”

Philip O’Neill


To find out why joining Nisa is as easy as 1-2-3 visit 10932_NISAtradePress_Oneil_2016_A4_AW02.indd 1

14/03/2016 17:34

Profile for Helen Wright

Ulster Grocer-September 2016  

Ulster Grocer

Ulster Grocer-September 2016  

Ulster Grocer