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Over 45 years at the heart of the Northern Ireland food industry

APRIL 2019




APRIL 2019



Over 45 years at the heart of the Northern Ireland food industry


From left, Cormac McKervey, senior agriculture manager at Ulster Bank; Rhonda Geary, operations director at RUAS; Alan Crowe, RUAS chief executive; and Nigel Walsh, director, corporate & commercial banking at Ulster Bank.


orthern Ireland’s retailers and wider agri-food sector are gearing up for one of the highlights of the year, the 151st Balmoral Show, which was officially launched by the Royal Ulster Agricultural Society (RUAS) last month. Held at Balmoral Park, Lisburn from May 15-18, this year’s show will feature more than 650 trade stands, the NI Food Pavilion showcasing local produce, hundreds of competitions and classes, and a wide range of family entertainment and attractions. “The Show continues to grow every year with many exciting new additions and this year is no exception,” said Alan Crowe, chief executive, RUAS. “Of course local agriculture remains at the heart



of Balmoral and we are thrilled to see a marked increase in many of the livestock sectors; competition will be fierce for the prestigious Balmoral titles. “Balmoral promises a fun-filled day out, with so much to see and do there really is something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for a family day out, fantastic food or the chance to see exceptional livestock displays, it’s all in the Show. “We are as always indebted to our sponsors for their continued support, especially our principal sponsor Ulster Bank and our six platinum sponsors Lidl, M&S, SPAR, Tesco, ABP and Fane Valley.” Crowe also told the Belfast Telegraph RUAS is in talks with the Maze Long Kesh Development to extend its tenancy from a footprint of 55 acres with a further option of 10 acres, up to 100 acres. New attractions this year in the Main Arena include the Jason Smyth Adrenaline Tour Stunt Show featuring motorbike and quad stunts, and Celtic Storm Irish Dancers, while family fun will include sheepdog displays and ferret races in the SPAR Arena, and the Tesco Children’s Farm. Discounted pre-show tickets are available to purchase online at





ane Valley Chief Executive Trevor Lockhart has been recognised for his contribution to the industry at the Northern Ireland Food and Drink Awards, held in Belfast’s Crowne Plaza Hotel last month. Organiser the Northern Ireland Food and Drink Association said this year’s awards reflected the resilience of the food industry amid the backdrop of confusion around Brexit. Linden Foods, owned by Fane Valley, joined Finnebrogue Artisan to share the Ulster Bank Best New Product in a Large Company category for, respectively, Lamb Loin with Honey-Roasted Parsnips and Naked Unsmoked Back Bacon. Mash Direct picked up an award for its beer-battered onion rings, while Cloughbane Farm Foods won the small company category with its lentil and vegetable casserole.







email: Volume 54, Number 4 APRIL 2019 Editor: Alyson Magee E: Tel: 028 9026 4175 Contributors: Michele Shirlow Sales Manager: Chris Keenan E: Tel: 028 9026 4266 Art Editor: Helen Wright Production Manager: Irene Fitzsimmons Ulster Grocer c/o Independent News & Media Ltd, Belfast Telegraph House 33 Clarendon Road Clarendon Dock Belfast BT1 3BG @ulstergrocer Subscriptions: £27.50 per annum £37.50 per annum (outside UK) Designed & Produced by: Independent News & Media Ltd Tel: 028 9026 4000 Printed by: W&G Baird, Antrim Tel: 028 9446 3911

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FROM BALMORAL TO BREXIT W elcome to our bumper April edition of Ulster Grocer, in which we are proud to showcase 43 examples of marketing excellence spanning the grocery sector from retailers to food and drink suppliers. Our shortlist of entries across the 10 categories of the Ulster Grocer Marketing Awards 2019 demonstrate how Northern Ireland really punches above its weight in innovation and marketing prowess. It’s a relatively small market, but the breadth of its grocery products and the skills evident in boosting their presence in the market is truly impressive. And, while traditional marketing formats remain core to many of the featured campaigns, digital activity continues to assume increasing importance and, in recognition, we have introduced a new award this year. Best of luck to all the short-listed entries, and we hope to see you at the Awards, held as part of the GroceryAid Ulster Grocers’ Ball at the Culloden on May 10. In what will be a busy month, the following week will see the 151st Balmoral Show get underway, with a big presence from SPAR and many of the multiple retailers alongside food and drink producers, suppliers, ancillary service providers and much more besides. May the sun shine on another great event over May 15-18 and, inside the magazine, you can read about Henderson Group’s and our cover star Hovis’ plans for this year’s Show. Elsewhere in the magazine, we profile grocery sector news from the local (McKee’s) to the global with Flora, which has invested in a major plant-based reformulation and rebranding exercise. As a butter-all-the-way consumer, I was more than a little surprised by how good the new product tastes. In the interests of full disclosure, eating products using Flora

prepared by a Michelin-starred chef does help but the product equally held up when served straight up on bread. Moving on from bread to Brexit, and what can be said? Sigh… At the time of writing, it is the official date of Brexit, March 29; now potentially postponed to

May 22. A vote on part of PM Theresa May’s withdrawal plan, centred on that troublesome Irish backstop, is to be held in the Commons this afternoon and who knows what will happen with it, or with the third ‘meaningful’ vote expected to follow in early April. And while MPs voted against a no-deal Brexit in mid-March, it is still thought to be a possibility and causing much consternation for the agri-food sector. In addition to the issues raised by trade bodies such as the Northern Ireland Food and Drink Association and Ulster Farmers’ Union (in the news story opposite), the Livestock and Meat Commission has highlighted the impact of the ongoing uncertainty on a sector already facing many challenges from weaker market conditions to higher input costs. Meat processing is of course among Northern Ireland’s biggest industries, and a major economic driver, as is our dairy sector. Ulster Farmers’ Union is particularly concerned about the UK government’s import tariff plans for a no-deal Brexit, which it says would devastate Northern Ireland’s farming industry, calling for reciprocal commitments from the Republic of Ireland. The Freight Transport Agency echoes its concerns, warning the government’s contingency plans for the Irish border could bring trade to a standstill and place Northern Ireland businesses at a disadvantage to their competitors. In summary, the situation is no clearer and looks set to continue for some time…

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epresentatives of the Northern Ireland agri-food sector have continued to issue warnings of potentially dire consequences from a no-deal Brexit, as the original March 29 deadline for the UK’s exit from the EU passed with little sign of any progress. MPs were set to vote on part of beleaguered Prime Minister Theresa May’s withdrawal deal, including the Irish backstop, on March 29 as UG went to print. The expected vote followed a week of further chaos in which MPs rejected eight alternative Brexit options and May vowed to stand down as PM if her deal passed a third vote. Northern Ireland Food and Drink Association Chairman Declan Billington warned of potentially disastrous consequences after attending a Brexit briefing organised by HMRC in Belfast on March 27. “You can’t make good regulation out of bad policy and the desire to keep the border open, which we understand, is

having an unintentional consequence in that it will damage the Northern Ireland economy,” said Billington. “Unfortunately, there are no positives coming out of this.” Attendees, including Ulster Farmers’ Union Chief Executive Wesley Aston, were told the UK would not introduce any new checks or controls on commodities at the Irish border, but will implement controls on limited goods from third-origin countries. “We have real concerns that Northern Ireland would be used as a back door into the GB market and we have real concerns about tariffs and about the standards of imported products,” said Weston. “We have concerns about cashflow if processors can’t export products, for example liquid milk, because currently 30% goes from Northern Ireland to the Republic and it can’t just sit on a farm waiting to be delivered. “We could be facing a major crisis and there could be a catastrophic effect on

some individual farms. “We’re trying to have no-deal removed once and for all.” An agri-food alliance spanning the sector, including the Northern Ireland Food and Drink Association, Ulster Farmers’ Union and trade bodies representing the poultry, pork and bacon, dairy, meat export and bakery sectors, last month issued a joint statement highlighting the potential devastation resulting from a no-deal Brexit. ‘Agri-food supports £1 in every £6 in the Northern Ireland economy, employing some 100,000 people,’ reads the statement. ‘A ‘no deal’ Brexit on these terms would be devastating. It would crush our farming base, destroying family businesses within weeks and would decimate investment leading to closures and job losses. We would also face gridlock on our roads and at our ports with the increased volume of goods coming from the Republic of Ireland in transit to Great Britain.’


evenues at cross-border dairy firm Lakeland, which collects milk from around 750 Northern Ireland farmers, climbed by 5.3% to £733.6m last year. The Cavan-based business, which will increase its reach in the province to 1,300 farmers after a merger with LacPatrick, said that the results had been helped by relative stability in global dairy markets. Group Chief Executive Michael Hanley said the revenues growth had yielded an operating profit of £15.8m.

“This was driven by strong returns from our three main business divisions, where we were also able to capitalise on our significant economies of scale, benefiting from the significant investments of recent years in technology, automation and lean operation across our processing footprint,” he said. Hanley accepted conditions this year would be affected by “the still uncertain impacts of Brexit and the overall balance of global supply and demand across our product portfolio.”





etail NI has welcomed both the signing of terms between NI Secretary of State Karen Bradley and the Belfast City Regional Deal partners, and granting of planning permission for the Belfast Transport Hub. “This is welcome progress towards what we hope will be a game changer for our local economy and for vital regeneration projects in the Belfast Region area,” said Glyn Roberts, chief executive, Retail NI. And, in relation to the Hub, he said: “From a retail perspective, it is extremely positive as it will improve the City Centre’s connectivity for shoppers and tourists and reduce congestion. It will also act as a much-needed catalyst for regeneration in that part of the City Centre.”

lster Farmers’ Union has claimed farmers and other businesses are unfairly carrying the burden of water charges for the whole of Northern Ireland, proposing NI Water should introduce universal metering. The comments were made following NI Water’s announcement that it will increase non-domestic water and sewage charges by 2.7%. “Water is a precious and valued commodity and it should be used responsibly by everyone,” said Victor Chestnutt, deputy president, UFU. “NI Water has said the increases are necessary but we feel it is discriminatory that farmers and other metered businesses have to cover these costs for the whole of the NI population.” 5



delighted to bring our From left, Ebony Stirling, Victoria Primary School; Keavy-O’Mahony Truesdale, Neill’s Flour and STEM rimary school children ambassador; Lewis Noonan, St. Joseph’s Primary School; Julie Carson, STEM Ambassador Programme workshop to primary embarked on a breadmanager; Denis Ursu, Victoria Primary School; and Ruby Atkins, St Joseph’s Primary School. school children to making ‘journey’ during give them a hands-on British Science Week as understanding of the part of a STEM (Science science behind breadTechnology English and making.” Maths) initiative by local Neill’s will also be giving flour mill Neill’s Flour. pupils the opportunity to British Science Week, participate in the CREST which ran from March Awards operated by the 8-17, is a 10-day British Science Association. celebration of Science, Julia Carson, STEM Technology, Engineering Ambassador Programme and Maths. To embrace manager, said: “In this year’s Journeys theme, Northern Ireland we have Neill’s Flour visited local a massive lack of STEM primary schools to deliver ambassadors for food and drink, so it is hands-on, practical STEM workshops School in Ballyhackamore. this sector that would really value from on the journey of bread-making, giving “At Neill’s Flour we are very having more volunteers and mentors. pupils an opportunity to take part in passionate about giving back to the With this in mind, we are delighted that experiments and discover the science community and what better way than to Neill’s Flour has stepped up to engage on behind the ‘wheat to flour’ process. help educate our local schoolchildren,” behalf of the food and drink sector.” The cross-community initiative, which said Keavy O’Mahony-Truesdale, Neill’s will also be rolled out across the province Flour STEM ambassador. “STEM is every year, kicked off during Science such an important focus for education For information on becoming a STEM Week with visits to Victoria Primary and a lot of the emphasis of this is ambassador, visit School, Belfast, and St Joseph’s Primary within secondary schools, so we were stem-hub/ambassadors.

WORLD STEAK CHALLENGE RETURNS TO FIND THE BEST STEAK PRODUCERS G lobal Meat News has launched its annual global challenge to find the world’s best steak, with the two-day judging process and awards announcement moving from London to Dublin this year. Bord Bia, the Irish Food Board, is official host partner for the 2019 challenge, which will take place over July 9-10 and will be hosted by the multi award-winning FIRE Restaurant and Lounge. The awards ceremony itself is on July 10 in the Round Room of the Mansion House, the official residence of the Lord Mayor. Now in its fifth year, the World Steak Challenge is designed to benchmark the quality of beef production against international competitors. Gold, Silver and Bronze medals will be awarded to rib eye, fillet steak and sirloins. But from the winners in each of those categories, only one steak will achieve the prestigious status of World’s Best Steak 2019. “This is the fifth year of the World 6

Steak Challenge and it’s an opportunity to take the event on the road,” said Aidan Fortune, deputy editor of Global Meat News. “This year’s event will be hosted at Fire, a prestigious restaurant venue in the heart of Dublin, and offer a study tour of food in the field with official host partner Bord Bia. The 2019 event is shaping up to be the biggest World Steak Challenge ever.” Entries in last year’s World Steak Challenge were received from a record 22 countries spanning four continents and featured 35 different breeds of cattle. The 2018 champion was a grassfed Ayrshire produced by JN Meat International of Denmark. The steak, which was reared by Atria Finland in Finland, won Best Grass Fed and Best Sirloin medals in the annual challenge. The closing date for this year’s competition is Monday, May 13. For more information, visit www.



etail NI has condemned an ongoing spate of ATM robberies around the province, including thefts from an independent retailer in Irvinestown and a Danske Bank branch in Mallusk last month. “The growing number of these attacks is now a major cause for concern, given that these criminal gangs are able to hit retailers and bank branches in every part of Northern Ireland,” said Glyn Roberts, chief executive of Retail NI. “I will be seeking urgent clarification from the PSNI on the status of their investigation. “Retail NI will also organise an urgent meeting of representatives from banks, the construction sector and the PSNI to discuss this crisis. The security at building sites needs to be urgently reviewed, given the apparent ease that these gangs can steal diggers and use them in these attacks.”



Fiona Addis from EUROSPAR Ardglass.

enderson Retail, owner of 86 SPAR and EUROSPAR stores across Northern Ireland, is celebrating a seventh consecutive year of team members excelling in customer service at a UK-wide awards event. Fiona Addis from EUROSPAR Ardglass, Co Down picked up the Sales Assistant of the Year award at the Convenience Retail Awards 2019 in London recently, making her the ninth team member to pick up one of multiple awards since 2008. “It is incredible to look back at the roll call of past winners from these UK-wide and respected awards and see team members from the Henderson Retail network,” said Mark McCammond, retail director at Henderson Group. “Members of our team have been on the list of finalists since 2008 and have enjoyed consecutive wins since 2012. This is no-mean-feat in the grand scheme of retail across the whole of the UK, where the bar is constantly being raised for what constitutes great customer service. “All our SPAR and EUROSPAR stores are situated in the heart of each and every community in Northern Ireland, our shoppers know our staff and they go out of their ways to ensure their experience in store is second to none. We’re immensely proud to



ew tools complementing UK-wide guidance and making it easier to implement food withdrawals and recalls have been launched by the Food Standards Agency (FSA). FSA has published a new document, Guidance on Food Traceability, Withdrawals and Recalls within the UK Food Industry, covering topics such as traceability systems; making a decision on carrying out a withdrawal or recall; roles and responsibilities; and the key principles to effectively inform consumers of a food recall. “When food on the market is found to be unsafe, food businesses are required

to withdraw or recall a product,” said Philip Randles, head of Incidents and Resilience, FSA. “This guidance and the associated tools have been created with food businesses in mind, to help them carry out their responsibilities with greater ease and effectiveness. “We urge food businesses to download these tools, so they are equipped to carry out the necessary actions to make sure food is safe and what it says it is.” The project has been delivered in partnership with representatives from the food industry, enforcement authorities and consumer allergy/patient support organisations.

have picked up the Community Hero award twice in past years.” Alongside the customer service awards, Henderson Retail and Wholesale also took home store accolades at the event, which took place at the Regency Hotel in London. EUROSPAR Donegall Road picked up Best Large Convenience Store and Food-to-Go Retailer of the Year (large store) and McBride’s SPAR Mullaghmore in Omagh won Best Chilled Food Retailer, while the Best Communication to Shoppers award went to SPAR Loughbrickland in Co Down.



lster Farmers’ Union (UFU) says dairy farmers in Northern Ireland are strongly opposed to Red Tractor plans for introduction of unannounced inspections and have made their concerns known directly to the farm quality assurance body. “The UFU has been at the forefront of challenging Red Tractor’s new risk-based approach to farm inspections,” said Victor Chestnutt, deputy president, UFU. “We have met them a number of times and thought it was important grassroots members had the opportunity to put concerns directly to Red Tractor representatives.” UFU hosted two meetings with Red Tractor Dairy Board Chairman Angela Rhodes and External Affairs Manager Philippa Wiltshire to air its views; one with the UFU dairy policy committee and a second open meeting. “Uniformity across the UK regions when it comes to the stringency of Red Tractor inspections is crucial,” said Chestnutt. “Currently, there is an unjust view that NI dairy farms struggle to meet the same standards as farms in GB. This is simply not true. “Farmers largely support the concept of a farm quality assurance scheme but it must work for all parties. Unfortunately, many aspects of the new risk-based approach are problematic for farmers.” 7




ounded in 1898, McKee’s is a fourthgeneration family business based in Maghera. Starting with a butcher’s shop on the Main Street in Maghera, the business grew when brother and sister, George McKee and Iris Kennedy (nee McKee), developed a range of pies. Since then, the range has grown and developed with further lines added. Remarkably, McKee’s has grown and expanded over the years without ever having a sales representative on the road or marketing concepts. “The business has grown purely on word of mouth, which says quite a lot for the reputation of our products,” says George. “We believe in traditional recipes coupled with quality local ingredients that make wholesome tasty food.” McKee’s is undergoing a period of transition as owner George, 68, approaches retirement. “After over 50 years of working, I’m handing the reigns over to my son-in-law Paul, who brings retail experience having held senior positions within the grocery sector for a decade with one of the large multiples,” he says. “I’m delighted that the craft and brand that we’ve built will continue on for at least another generation, providing 8

on the market, or making stuffing with Northern Ireland’s best bread and butter, or Scotch Eggs with our renowned sausage meat and crumb recipe.” Scotch Eggs in particular are growing year on year in popularity, although it’s a labour-intensive process according to George. “It’s one of the biggest departments in the factory, we have people around a table all week, hand encrusting locally-sourced eggs,” he says. “We crumb them twice and then fry just long enough to get the perfect golden crispy outside that remains succulent inside when reheated.”

THIRD GENERATION EMPLOYEES McKee’s factory employs 50 people, many of whom are second or third generation employees. “It’s very important to us to provide as many jobs for local people as we can,” says George. “It’s important to be part of the community and the best way to do that is to provide an people income for them that keeps them with in the town they’ve either been quality food born in or grew up close by.” that they McKee’s employs a skilled can trust to be workforce in George’s opinion. “Our consistently great every time, while Award winner McKee’s Scotch Eggs - bakers know more about pastry keeping jobs in UK National Meat Products Competition than the internet could tell you, 2018, winner of Scotch Egg category. having knowledge accumulated over the local area.” decades,” he says, “while our dedicated The business has changed over the team of butchers and meat boners know years with demand for deli counter a good steak before it’s even been hung products increasing year on year. “There for 21 days.” are many imitations of various popular George is very particular on the type foods, but we’ve found that the taste and of livestock used in their produce. quality of McKee’s is unmistakable and “We’re not interested in quantity over people insist on having it as part of their quality, mass production or buying from offering,” says George. “Three items in a meat processor,” he says. “We have a particular have really grown in recent close relationship with 20 local farmers years with our famous McKee’s Coleslaw, who can give me the grade of cattle I Stuffing and Scotch Eggs proving very want and they know they’ll get a fair popular for both the retail shelf and deli price that keeps both of our businesses counter. sustainable.” “We believe that by using the best Paul Gibson, managing director, possible ingredients we can get our has plenty of ideas for future growth hands on, and by not cutting corners on and expansion. “More and more the production of the product - then the Northern Irish consumers are looking product sells itself. “Whilst there are always alternatives on for convenience, whether that be ready meals or simply shopping for tonight’s offer, no-one else is making a Coleslaw tea,” he says. “That said, they are also using the best mayonnaise and carrots


McKee’s Coleslaw production.

inside. more demanding than ever before for “Nowadays quality is often an overused top quality produce at affordable prices. word, but there are not many other food I believe our offering caters for all – in manufactures who use as many cuts from respect of portion sizes that satisfy prize winning cattle in everyday items families, couples and the single person. such as Lasagne, Irish Stew and Steak or “Consumers know that they are eating Mince Pies. We declare a minimum of wholesome good quality food made 30% meat in our Sausage Rolls, Scotch with local ingredients by local people, Eggs, Bacon Wheels and Chicken & Ham using traditional recipes. We have not Pies; the demanding-more consumer released new products over the last few notices these differences now more than years; however, we actually have over 50 ever before.” products that are ever present in our own butcher’s shop that SERVING OVER 150 we are making available BUSINESSES for retailers to order. Today, McKee’s supplies “We’ve recently over 150 businesses signed off on new across Northern artwork for our retail Ireland, many under packaging that will the Henderson hit the shelves soon Group and Musgrave to ensure that our umbrellas. products look as good “Many of our biggest on the outside as they do McKee’s Sausage Rolls. customers are independently Sausage roll production. owned and operated,” says Paul. “Our footprint is very

strong in north Antrim, Mid Ulster and the North West. However, we already have the infrastructure, both in terms of logistics and capacity, to deliver beyond that.” The logistics of the operation have retailers’ needs at the core. “We still believe in collecting our orders through telephone as we get a better understanding of what the shop managers’ needs are; albeit that technological advancements mean that is changing,” says Paul. “As a result of that, we supply many bespoke products specially made for them. Without this daily contact, that sort of relationship isn’t possible. “Quality is at the forefront of every decision we take; therefore, we operate a day-one-for-day-two system, meaning that every product that we deliver has been handmade the previous day offering the consumer the freshest product, but also the retailer the maximum shelf life. “Our business model allows us to vouch for the quality of the product from the farm to the shelf via our factory.” So as McKees enters its fourth generation, it’s clear that while some things will change with the times, some things won’t. “One element of the business that will not change is the reliance on quality to set our products apart from others, while ensuring the range offers value for money that everyone can afford and enjoy.”

McKee’s Steak & Onion Pie.

George McKee, company owner and Paul Gibson, managing director.




etail NI has launched its biggest recruitment campaign for new members to date with the help of Exterion Media and the new Pulse Smart Hubs in Belfast City Centre. “Since its rebrand two years ago, Retail NI has enjoyed steady growth in its membership with new retailers and suppliers to our sector joining,” said Glyn Roberts, chief executive of Retail NI. “We now represent over 1,800 wholesalers, retailers and suppliers.” “Retail NI has long been a champion of the digital high street and smart cities, so this is a great way for us to launch

From left, Martin Heatley, general manager of Exterion Media, and Glyn Roberts, chief executive of Retail NI, are pictured alongside one of the Pulse Smart Hubs.

our campaign with Pulse Smart Network in Belfast City Centre. “The Pulse Smart Hub is the smartest of smart street furniture that provides next generation connectivity for shoppers and tourists alike.” Martin Heatley, general manager of Exterion Media, said: “We’re delighted to welcome Retail NI as one of the first advertisers to use the impressive 75-inch high definition smart hub screens. We’ve no doubt this platform is ideally located to assist with Retail NI’s new recruitment campaign with all hubs located in Belfast City Centre – home to over 10,000 businesses in NI.”

GROCERYAID AWARENESS DAY RALLIES INDUSTRY F ood and drink industry charity GroceryAid has declared its first Awareness Day a success after more than 60 companies supported the initiative, including 19 businesses engaging in GroceryAid-related awareness activities for the first time. Held on February 26, the day aims to make more colleagues

aware of the free support available from GroceryAid. Companies and supporters hosted awareness events, held in-house meetings, distributed materials and shared on social media via #GroceryAidDay. Companies showing their support ranged from major retailers to independents, manufacturers, wholesalers and smaller start-up brands. The GroceryAid Awareness Day will return next year, taking place on March 3, 2020. For further information, contact GroceryAid has also recently refreshed its Awards scheme celebrating outstanding industry support, with a



amelot says its retail partners can expect big things from The National Lottery’s new drawbased game, Set For Life, which features a top prize of £10,000 every month for 30 years. Targeting both experience seekers and those seeking to plan for the future including Millennials, the new game launched last month with a number of incentives available to retailers including cash prizes. Along with supplying new PoS to its 44,000 retailers, Camelot is supporting the launch of Set For Life with a new ad campaign Make every month amazing, featuring TV, print and social media advertising to drive ticket sales. “Set For Life offers National Lottery players something completely new and meets a different set of consumer needs, especially among younger people,” said Duncan Malyon, retail director of Camelot. “It’s a great addition to our range of games and means that we now have a portfolio that offers something for everyone.” 10

focus on the three pillars of Awareness, Fundraising and Volunteering. “We get great support from across our industry which meant last year, we helped more grocery people than ever before at over 14,500 colleagues,” said Steve Barnes, chief executive of GroceryAid. “It is important we recognise those companies that back us and we are grateful for their steadfast support in such tough trading times.”



cCoy’s has launched its successful Win Gold! on-pack campaign for a third year running, offering shoppers the chance to win £10,000 instantly if they discover one of 10 golden crisps or chips in McCoy’s PMPs, Grab Bags and sharing packs. Recurring annually since 2017, this year’s Win Gold launched on March 17 and will run until the end of June, with the aim of driving sales for independent retailers; offering in-store shopper and display activation across convenience and impulse, along with social and digital media amplification. Alongside the shopper opportunity to win, McCoy’s is rewarding retailers with a £1,000 donation to support a charity of their choice for every winning pack sold from their store.



axol has completed a redevelopment and expansion of its Rosepark Service Station, following an investment of £250,000 aimed at offering greater choice and convenience for its customers. The newly-extended shop now has a SPAR Daily Deli, offering customers a range of freshly prepared food including sandwiches, wraps, salads and nourish bowls as well as a range of healthy eating options that include granola, cut fruit and both vegan and vegetarian options. Rosepark is also now home to an expanded Barista Bar area to ensure customers can enjoy a barista-style coffee when they are on the go

From left, Brian Donaldson, chief executive, Maxol and Mark McCammond, retail director, Henderson Group.

alongside a range of treat bars. “Maxol has been part of the local community in Northern Ireland for almost 100 years and we are delighted to continue investing in our local service stations and suppliers improving the experience for our customers,” said Brian Donaldson, CEO of Maxol.

“It is our aim to have a network of convenience destinations that will continue to meet the ever-changing needs of our customers across NI.” Mark McCammond, retail director for Henderson Group, the licensee of Maxol Rosepark service station, said: “We’re delighted with the investment that Maxol has made in Rosepark; the contemporary store format provides everything busy commuters require on this main arterial route into Belfast. We work hard to meet our customers’ needs and to ensure we have the right fresh food and beverage offering coupled with our excellent customer service which is something we are passionate about.”

COMMUNITY COFFEE MORNING by the support from our retailers and said Jade Manning, assistant RETURNS TO PUSH CHILDREN’S CANCER shoppers,” brand manager for EUROSPAR and VIVOXTRA. FUNDRAISING PAST £1M “In our first year, we raised almost Children, we have been overwhelmed

From left, Jade Manning, Henderson Group and Leo Donaghy, Cancer Fund for Children.


third annual Community Coffee Morning in aid of Cancer Fund for Children was held last month, with Henderson Group expecting the event to be a monumental milestone for

EUROSPAR and VIVOXTRA. On March 23, over 60 EUROSPAR and VIVOXTRA supermarkets hosted a Community Coffee Morning in aid of Cancer Fund for Children, pushing the fundraising total for the charity past £1m. So far, the Community Coffee Mornings have contributed almost £100,000 towards the huge milestone after being introduced in 2017, and the event in 2018 was Cancer Fund for Children’s biggest partnership event of the year. “Since we launched the Community Coffee Morning as our flagship partnership event with Cancer Fund for

£36,000 and in 2018 an amazing £58,000. EUROSPAR and ViVOXTRA stores are at the heart of so many communities in Northern Ireland, something that we’re incredibly proud of. “We now have over 60 community supermarkets taking part, welcoming their local shoppers for coffee and traybakes in exchange for a donation to a great cause. We’re so proud that our contributions have been vital in providing families with travel for treatment grants, residential support and short family breaks at Cancer Fund for Children’s Daisy Lodge facility in Newcastle, Co Down.”

MUSGRAVE NI SUPPORTS 2,370 LOCAL PEOPLE M usgrave NI has raised £151,733 in less than three years for Northern Ireland Chest Heart and Stroke (NICHS), supporting 2,370 chest, heart and stroke survivors through the charity’s free regional services. The funds were raised through the 80 MACE stores across Northern Ireland, and Musgrave MarketPlace’s three regional branches in Derry/Londonderry, Lurgan and Belfast. NICHS has a network of support co-ordinators and free support groups throughout the Province, including

From left, Diane Anthony, assistant brand manager, and Alastair Patterson, regional manager, MACE, and Declan Cunnane, chief executive, and Sinead Lynch, corporate partnership manager, NICHS.

its PREP programme which runs at 11 different venues from Newry to Derry/ Londonderry and Enniskillen to Coleraine. As well as raising money to support

local people affected by chest, heart and stroke conditions, MACE and Musgrave MarketPlace have also supported their own employees by working with NICHS to create a health and well-being strategy for their staff. “Across Northern Ireland there are over 335,000 people living with a chest, heart or stroke condition,” said Declan Cunnane, chief executive, NICHS. “We are extremely grateful to Musgrave NI staff, MACE retailers and customers for raising these vital funds to support our services.” 11


M&S LISBURN CELEBRATES 30 YEARS WITH £30,000 PLEDGE TO LOCAL SCHOOL M arks & Spencer Lisburn celebrated reaching its milestone 30th anniversary with a group of colleagues including Kim McHenry who began working at M&S Lisburn on opening day and JP McShane, M&S Lisburn’s store manager. Marks & Spencer Lisburn marked its milestone 30th anniversary last month by supporting a local community project at Brookfield Special Educational Needs (SEN) School. The school, which lies between Lisburn and Moira, has been chosen as the store’s charity of the year with the aim of raising an impressive £30,000 to improve the school’s outdoor spaces and ensure they’re fit for purpose. Since it first opened in March 1989, the store has been giving back to the community through its support of many local projects including Action Cancer

From left, JP McShane, store manager, M&S Lisburn and colleague Kim McHenry who began working at M&S Lisburn on opening day.

and Macmillan Northern Ireland, but in its 30th year of trading, the store manager wanted to celebrate with an initiative that would make a lasting difference.


unnes Stores has expanded its range of Chef’s Selection - a premium, natural brand launched by Mackle Petfoods late last year in response to rising demand for high-quality pet food - in several of its Republic of Ireland stores. Chef’s Selection was developed by the Co Tyrone business in response to feedback from pet owners who wanted to give natural pet food to their dogs, but also use their diet to alleviate allergies, digestion and skin issues and other medical conditions. “Chef’s Selection is made from Golden retriever Holly is pictured with Claire McNally and Laura Rafferty, the 100% fully traceable natural Chef’s Selection marketing team. ingredients and also contains coconut, goji berries, kale and chickpeas which are known by consumers as superfoods for their significant health boosting properties,” said Colin Ferguson, sales manager at Mackle Petfoods. “Since it was launched in September 2018, sales of Chef’s Selection have risen steadily and despite its premium price point has become one of our online bestsellers. The range is also listed in independent stores throughout Ireland, major UK stores including Morrisons and Tesco, where sales are experiencing double digit growth and Albert Heijn, the oldest existing chainstore in the Netherlands.” 12

“We’re really excited to come together and support Brookfield Special School, through both volunteering and fundraising,” said JP McShane, M&S Lisburn store manager. “We hope our support will make a real difference to the local community and create a lasting impact for the school’s pupils. “Our store team of 560 colleagues has been working with Brookfield Special School over the past couple of years, through our Making Every Moment Special in the Community initiative, helping to build a pathway access, alongside painting and maintenance in the playground and garden areas.” The store team will be organising a series of in-store fundraising events throughout the coming months including cakes sales and bag packing, as well as a sponsored walk.


sda has announced it has removed 6,500 tonnes of plastic from its own brand packaging since February 2018. The milestone marks a significant step towards the supermarket’s on-going commitment to reducing the amount of plastic used in product packaging. Through product innovation and redesign, Asda has reduced plastic in almost 1,000 individual product lines – from fresh fruit and veg to electronics and homewares – removing the equivalent weight of 600 million empty plastic bottles. Changes include swapping family chilled ready meal trays from black plastic to foil; changing pizza bases from non-recyclable polystyrene to fully recyclable cardboard; and removing plastic windows and film from over 1.6 million mince pies at Christmas. In addition, Asda has taken steps to make its packaging more recyclable, including changing all of its fresh produce trays from black plastic to clear, as it moves towards making all of its packaging 100% recyclable by 2025. “Making changes of this scale in a business of this size is never easy, but I was clear last year that we needed to take a root and branch review of what packaging we use for our products,” said Roger Burnley, president and CEO of Asda. “Our customers expected this of us and while we’ve reached a major milestone, we know there is more that can be done and we are committed to making meaningful changes wherever possible. In many cases packaging is still essential to protect against waste, but avoiding the use of unnecessary plastic will rightly be the starting point for all of our packaging designs in future.”



From left, Michael McCormack, managing director, Musgrave NI; Peter McCool, McCool’s SuperValu, Ballymoney; Andy Boyd, Boyd’s Centra, Junction One; Frank Boyd, Boyd’s MACE, Toomebridge; and Eamonn Holmes.


hree local SuperValu, Centra and MACE stores have clinched the coveted title of Store of the Year at Musgrave’s annual awards event on March 22. McCool’s SuperValu in Ballymoney claimed the title of SuperValu Store of the Year for a second year. The store, known as the ‘heart of the community’, was recognised for championing local suppliers and causes and consistently keeping local at the forefront. Boyd’s Centra, Junction One picked up this year’s Centra Store of the Year award. Consistently high standards and a strong sales growth, driven by a strong team, have all contributed to the store’s recent success. It was a family affair for the owners, who pride themselves on high store standards across all of their sites, as the team also picked up MACE Store of the Year for Boyd’s MACE, Toomebridge. The store underwent a substantial development last year, transitioning into a Store of the Future, recently recording its highest week of sales since opening. Lilley’s Centra, Dublin Road in Enniskillen was announced as this year’s Newcomer of the Year, sponsored by Cushelle. The awards also saw SuperValu Limavady clinching the crown for Fundraising Store of the Year for Action Cancer for a fourth year and McDonald’s MACE, Lurgan winning Fundraiser of the Year for NI Chest Heart and Stroke, both Musgrave’s charity partners. For the first time, winners of the Excellence Ireland Quality Association Q Mark Awards were also revealed at this year’s Store of the Year Awards, with two stores being recognised this year: Long’s SuperValu Woodburn and Bradley’s Centra, Maghera. This year’s awards were hosted by TV presenter Eamonn Holmes, and took

place at the Culloden Estate and Spa. The annual awards showcase and recognise all of Musgrave’s 240 independent retailers in Northern Ireland across the SuperValu, Centra and MACE brands. Finalists are selected following several rigorous rounds of performance and standards audits, with the highest accolade being Store of the Year. Categories included Fundraising Stores of the Year across all three brands, as well as MACE Store of the Year under and over 18,000 square feet, whilst Centra stores battled it out for Foodmarket and High Convenience retailer awards. SuperValu and Centra finalists competed in the Company Owned categories before the coveted Store of the Year titles were awarded. “We are proud to be able to recognise those retailers who are breaking new ground and who are redefining convenience,” said Michael McCormack, managing director, Musgrave Northern Ireland. “Our stores and our retailers are at the very heart of their communities, right across Northern Ireland. They deliver a unique customer offering, setting themselves apart from their competitors with a pioneering approach to retail and their commitment to delivering best-in-class customer service. “The Musgrave Store of the Year Awards are a part of a continuous drive to maintain the highest possible retail standards across the company, with the judging process getting more and more rigorous each year. “A huge thank you to each and every one of our retailers who work tirelessly to set themselves apart from competitors through hard work, passion and commitment to excellence.”





PAR NI is rolling out the big top and making the finishing touches to the stars of their show as they continue to celebrate their commitment to local sourcing at the 2019 Balmoral Show. In the ninth year of the brand’s platinum sponsorship, four days of fun-filled family activities will take place within the SPAR Arena and the enjoy local Marquee with a series of engaging and educational activities with some of SPAR’s biggest partners. Ulster University’s FACT (Food and Consumer Testing) Suite will be back in the marquee with Dr Amy Burns and her team, who will help families understand their tastes when it comes to food. The FACT Suite works with Henderson Wholesale’s Fresh Team to ensure their own-label ranges are just right for shoppers. W5, which is home to the role play SPAR store at its interactive discovery centre at the SSE Arena, will also be on hand to turn showgoers into scientists by demonstrating experiments that can be enjoyed in the kitchen. There will also be plenty of opportunities for visitors to taste some of the products made by Northern Ireland’s tastiest local food suppliers in 14

SPAR’s enjoy local range, from cheese to sausages, buns and bread, all within the enjoy local Marquee. Paddy Doody, sales & marketing director, says Balmoral Show is a chance for visitors to see, first hand, SPAR’s roots in the local agri-food and business community: “Balmoral Show is one of SPAR NI’s key sponsorships throughout the year, and it is a chance for us to interact with our shoppers, suppliers and

partners across four days. “The strand that feeds through all of our activity at Balmoral Show is local. Over 75% of our fresh produce is sourced locally. We’re a local business, supporting local farmers, growers and suppliers and getting to know even more local people who get to know us in return at our onsite SPAR shop, Marquee and Arena.” The SPAR Arena will have a packed schedule from jiving competitions to petting zoos and ferret racing, while the SPAR store will sell sandwiches, snacks and Barista Bar coffee to keep both exhibitors and visitors energised throughout the event. Henderson Wholesale will also celebrate their local food partners through their annual awards ceremony. The Fresh Innovation Awards will take place on Friday, May 17 and will reward the companies’ fresh suppliers through categories including Excellence in Product Innovation, Young Agri-Food Innovator and Own Brand Supplier of the Year. The 151st Balmoral Show takes place from Wednesday 15th – Saturday 18th May at the Balmoral Showgrounds in the Eikon Centre. For more information visit and




ur Taste the Greatness campaign to showcase our fabulous food and drink gave upwards of 30 companies the opportunity to sample their products to shoppers and visitors at the iconic Borough Market in London last month. It was our second year at Borough Market, a location which attracts 250,000 visitors a week. This year Northern Ireland was represented for almost a fortnight and had a very broad range of products, everything from oysters and free-range eggs to gin and craft beers and even a new vegan range from Finnebrogue. Many of the participating companies were taking part for the first time at this prestigious market in the city. And it was an immensely vibrant occasion, especially during the special Sunday opening on St Patrick’s Day. Market management

turned the entire market into a glorious celebration of our patron saint. Regular traders there also joined with us in the festivities. Market Managing Director Darren Henaghan and his team are tremendously supportive of our food and drink and keen to help our companies succeed. Retail buyers visited the market to sample produce, some of which they had never tasted before. Members from the influential Guild of Food Writers were present, 13 of whom visited the Mourne region last month to meet local food producers on a very successful two-day trip that Food NI organised for Newry, Mourne and Down District Council. Hosting visits to food and drink producers here by influential writers and specialist journalists is another important area that Food NI can influence. We’ve developed a close relationship with both the UK Guild of Food Writers and the Irish Guild of Food Writers in our work to highlight the premium quality and taste of our food and drink and Northern Ireland, now officially the World’s Best Food Destination in the World Travel Trade Awards last November. Our participation at Borough Market, assisted by Tourism NI and Tourism Ireland, is becoming a central feature in our ever-growing programme of promotional activities for the industry here. And it looks certain that this will become a regular activity. It followed within days of our presentation at Fine Food North in Harrogate, a major show organised by the UK Guild of Fine Food. In January, we took a group of producers to Scotland’s Speciality Food Show in Glasgow and this month we had a group at the big Farm Shop and Deli Show in Birmingham. All the presentations were supported by Invest NI’s Food Division. We just couldn’t do a fraction of what we’ve undertaken so far this year and plan to do in the months ahead without Invest NI’s assistance because we are a membership organisation with a small team, a group of enthusiastic and talented staff dedicated to our food and its producers and helping them succeed both here and outside Northern Ireland. We also work closely with several local councils here – and appreciate greatly their support - on developing their food offerings. Our work, furthermore, on the spectacular Food NI Food Pavilion at the RUAS show at Balmoral Park is also well underway and we are looking to an even bigger presentation than last year’s hugely successful show. It’s therefore an exceptionally busy time for the Food NI team, promoting very professionally our food and drink. Then there’s the planned Taste of the Island promotion with Failte Ireland in SeptemberNovember… but more of this in a future column! 16





lora is reclaiming its roots as a healthy grocery staple, moving to a new 100% plant-based formulation, free from artificial preservatives, colourings or flavourings, across its portfolio. The UK’s leading spread brand has made a bold move to stake its claim in an increasingly saturated butter and spreads market, targeting increased demand from consumers favouring vegan, plant-based or dairy-free diets. Flora owner Upfield cites research pointing to a 300% increase in adoption of plant-based diets over the last year (Foodie Labs, 2018), while 3.5m UK consumers are said to identify as vegan (The Independent, 2018). And in line with its natural ingredients, Upfield has resurrected the sunflower motif previously synonymous with the brand. Launched into both the retail and foodservice sectors last month, the reformulated Flora portfolio will be supported by a major marketing campaign to include TV ads later in the year. The four reformulated lines in the portfolio, Flora Original, Flora Light, Flora Buttery and Flora Dairy Free, can all be used for spreading, baking and cooking. Upfield recently hosted a launch event for the new lines at Gauthier Soho in London, where award-winning chef patron Alexis Gauthier, renowned for developing and experimenting with plant-based menus, demonstrated the taste profile and versatility of the spreads across an elegant vegan menu. “I’m a big believer that plant based is the future of cooking, but with that comes new challenges, mainly around taste,” said Gauthier. “Dishes require a lot of experimentation with flavours and ingredients to find great tasting alternatives that are going to satisfy consumers. “When I tried the new plant-based Flora, I was genuinely surprised. The taste was something I would expect from a traditional butter, while its versatility as a kitchen staple is potentially game changing for vegan cooking. And it’s not just me; my kitchen is full of obsessive, classically-trained French chefs who are


just as delighted with this new product as I am.” Upfield, which acquired Flora in 2018, hopes the reformulation and rebranding will drive value in the spreads category by offering a point of difference to consumers. “Health and wellbeing has never been so important to consumers,” says Steven Hermiston, general manager UK and Ireland, Upfield. “People care more about what goes into the products they are feeding themselves and their families, but they are not prepared to compromise on taste, and they shouldn’t have to. “With a great new recipe making Flora more delicious than ever, our new 100% Plant Goodness range can be enjoyed by the whole family. “Plant-based nutrition is at the heart of the Upfield business and Flora, with its plant goodness, is set to lead the charge and marks a key moment for us and the wider category.” Amsterdam-based Upfield is the leader global producer of plant-based spreads, with a portfolio of more than 60 brands including Flora, Rama, Blue Band, Proactiv, Becel and Country Crock. 17




ovis® bread, an iconic brand which has been baked in Belfast since 1974 and now employs over two hundred and seventy people in its Belfast bakery. Hovis’s success in Northern Ireland has been driven by a continual, quality focus delivering great tasting


bread and category innovation ensuring the brand remains relevant to consumers and remains true to our Hovis motto “AS GOOD TODAY AS ITS ALWAYS BEEN” this strategy will continue across 2019. Hovis Soft White, continues to grow


its market share in 2019 and is now Northern Ireland’s Number One White bread brand (*) enjoyed by young and old across the province. In June 2018, Hovis Soft White was back on TV with an advertisement that beautifully portrayed how Hovis Soft White is woven into our daily lives whilst demonstrating the versatility of its usage. Trevor McCrum, Commercial Director Hovis Ireland comments: “Hovis Soft White continues to perform exceptionally well across both the convenience and multiple channels as our consumers continue to recognise the great taste and the softness of our Hovis Soft White bread and we are delighted to announce that Hovis Soft White is Northern Ireland’s biggest White bread brand. In 2019 we will continue to build on our Hovis Soft White success with some exciting activity towards the end of the year...Watch this space!“ The 2018 Balmoral Show was an outstanding success for Hovis – consumers from across all of Northern Ireland sampled hot, buttered toast and enjoyed cycling on the infamous Hovis bike. In 2019 Hovis will be returning to Balmoral Show that takes place between the 15th and 18th May at the Balmoral Park, Sprucefield. As Northern Ireland’s leading agri-food event attracting over 100,000 people over the four days it is a perfect fit for the Hovis brand and a

great opportunity to interact with our consumers. We are all hoping for a repeat of last years beautiful weather. Hovis will be bringing back the HOVIS® AIRSTREAM Unit. The airstream is an impactful branded sampling unit that includes an enclosed seating area and one of Hovis’s most loved iconic assets ....the well-loved Hovis bike! This year we will be sampling across the Hovis range including Hovis Soft White, Hovis Granary® Original, Hovis Seed Sensations and Best Of Both. In addition at this year’s Balmoral Show we will be launching the latest addition to the Hovis range - Hovis Seeded Batch. This new product is targeted at the discerning Seeded Bread Consumer who is looking for a richer, roasted flavour. Hovis Seeded Batch will launch in Northern Ireland across both the multiple

and convenience channels in May 2019. The 2019 Balmoral Show marks the start of a busy year for Hovis in Northern Ireland. It will be an action, filled year including exciting, integrated marketing campaigns featuring TV, outdoor, in store theatre and much more! *Source : Nielsen Scantrack EPOS, Total Northern Ireland Pre Packed White Bread : Value & Units MAT 52 weeks to 23rd February 2019



BEST MARKETING CAMPAIGN LEADS SHORTLISTED ENTRIES IN THE 31ST ANNUAL AWARDS “DIGITAL MARKETING IS SUCH A A DYNAMIC SPACE,” SAID KAREN n impressive 11 entries were deemed worthy of shortlisting in the Best Marketing Campaign category of the Ulster Grocer Marketing Awards 2019, to be unveiled at the GroceryAid Ulster Grocers’ Ball in the Culloden Hotel and Spa on May 10. Entries were also strong across the nine other categories of the awards, particularly Best Brand, Best New Product Launch/Relaunch, Best CSR Initiative/Charity Partnership and Best Digital Marketing Campaign. Best Digital, a new award this year, has welcomed mxb on board as sponsor. mxb joins other award sponsors Aqua Twist, Derry Refrigerated Transport, Food NI, Henderson Food Machinery, Invest NI, Kestrel Foods, NI Trucks, Northern Snack Foods and PRL In-Market Solutions. Tickets are still available from GroceryAid for the Ulster Grocers’ Ball from Jim McAlea at The Ball is a fundraiser for industry charity GroceryAid, and each couple attending receives the famous Grocers’ Ball hamper, while enjoying a drinks reception, multi-course meal showcasing local produce, entertainment throughout the evening and of course the Ulster Grocer Marketing Awards.


» BEST MARKETING CAMPAIGN 2018 I SPONSORED BY PRL IN-MARKET SOLUTIONS BOOST DRINKS - 15 YEARS A GIANT Boost’s mission for 2018 (its 15th year in NI) was to protect its number one position* and to increase sales by delivering a year-long programme of consumer and trade activity, designed to keep the brand at the forefront of customers’ minds. This was developed through strategic PR and promotional marketing methods. The Design a Can campaign engaged with consumers and created excitement. Organised in association with creative community YCN (You Can Now), it saw students from Northern Ireland redesign Boost’s Sugar-Free Energy 250ml can with the winning design manufactured and launched into the market as a limited-edition product featured on more than one million cans across the province. The winning student developed the campaign 15 Years a Giant, which was a nod towards the Giant’s Causeway. The We Love Local Road Trip, meanwhile, saw Boost travel 200 miles across NI to thank retailers for their support over the last 15 years. 2018 saw Boost taking the top three selling soft drink spots in NI convenience**, with sales of 32.9 million, up almost 2,000,000 units y-o-y. A carefully crafted PR, media and social media plan underpinned the campaign. *IRI Marketplace Data Symbols and Independents 52 weeks unit and value sales to 10.09.17 **Data NI Convenience unit sales 52 weeks unit and value sales to 30.12.18

DALE FARM ICE CREAM - TAKE YOUR TASTEBUDS BACK In 2018, Dale Farm Ice Cream invested a significant proportion of its total marketing budget in its marketing strategy to further consolidate its excellent credentials in NI and raise awareness in RoI. With a more varied and vibrant product portfolio than ever, a 360 campaign was developed, Take Your Tastebuds Back, using outdoor, POS, digital, social media and PR. The OOH campaign was a colourful expression of the brand, utilising 10 different formats, two of which were first-to-market channels, supported by a suite of PoS material, maximising standout at store level and building a path to purchase for the consumer to the freezer. Dale Farm Ice Cream embarked on an experiential consumer engagement campaign, hitting the road in a bespoke ice cream van on a Big Summer Road Trip. A detachable social media wall provided rich content. Facebook following increased by +7% and Instagram +9% across the two months; the campaign reached over 515,000 people. Widespread listings were secured in forecourt and convenience stores throughout Ireland, and expanded listings with multiples. DFIC was the fastest growing ice cream brand in both Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland. Having grown its market share +7.5%, it is Northern Ireland’s number one ice cream brand.

ULSTER GROCER MARKETING AWARDS HENDERSON WHOLESALE - FIND YOUR INSPARATION With consumers living increasingly busy lives, convenient meal solutions are growing in popularity. Shoppers increasingly shop in missions and the ‘tonight’s tea’ mission is an important one to get right. Insight revealed a decline in eating out and an increase in meals being prepared and eaten at home. This presented significant opportunities for SPAR. Confident about its range of products in meeting the needs of the tonight’s tea shopper (particularly from its own-label enjoy local range) - SPAR simply needed shoppers to see, taste, and tell everyone about their products. It developed a 360-degree marketing campaign, Find Your lnSPARation, aimed at showcasing the best of SPAR’s tonight’s tea range. The campaign centred around experiential marketing tactics, bringing food to life through taste and tell sampling and cookery events and brand building messaging across multiple media platforms. SPAR’s Find your lnSPARation campaign performed beyond all expectations, really propelling the brand into a tonight’s tea destination, with 87% of shoppers agreeing it ‘was the number one convenience brand place to go for evening meal solutions’. Commercially, the campaign delivered market-leading results of up to 10% increases in retail sales, footfall and basket spend. In a competitive and economically uncertain FMCG market, that’s an exceptional performance.

HENRY DENNY & SONS - DENNY NORTHERN IRELAND BACK TO SCHOOL CAMPAIGN Following several years of declining relevance, 2018 was a pivotal year to change the Denny brand’s trajectory. In an increasingly volatile marketplace, the focus was on reconnecting emotionally with consumers to drive brand meaning, relevance and ultimately reappraisal. The team set about crystallising the brand’s essence, purpose and personality, ensuring all were grounded in unique and ownable brand truths. Combining this with rich consumer insight around personal leaps of faith, the next step was to create fresh, relevant comms assets to bring to life the new brand campaign asking people to take inspiration from the compelling Denny story and Seize the Denny. In five months, the brand recreated its beacon, moved to a strategic new master brand architecture and created assets across TV, radio, digital and shopper, deploying a heavyweight media campaign. For Denny, Back to School time has always been a key trading period, particularly sliced cooked meats for children’s lunchboxes. The Back to School campaign, the first under the new Denny positioning, was an enormous success in terms of landing the new brand positioning in a meaningful way during a key trading period. Results far exceeded expectations with growth across financial and market metrics and a complete reversal of the overall brand’s performance trajectory.

HOVIS BAKERIES IRELAND – ORMO At the start of 2017, ORMO was the fifth bestselling brand in the Northern Ireland Traditional Other Bakery category, and immediate action was required to re-build the brand and re-engage with new and existing consumers. A Product Improvement programme was introduced to benchmark ORMO against its competitive set on core product characteristics, conducted independently at Loughry College, with improvement areas identified for Soda Farls, Fruit Loaf and Rolls.The key ORMO campaign in 2018 was to support the launch of a new premium range in September 2018. The NPD strategy was very explicit, ORMO an iconic Northern Ireland brand collaborating with two other successful NI agri-food brands in the form of Mash Direct and Ballyrashane Creameries. The campaign was fully integrated including a province-wide outdoor and PR programme to drive consumer awareness and engagement of the new ORMO range, with coverage achieved in all national papers. An extensive in-store campaign ensured strong stand out in the bakery aisle with display units and shelf branding.Sales exceeded all internal forecasts, and ORMO increased its share in both the Potato Farl and Wheaten Bread categories while, by the end of December, ORMO was the number two brand and the fastest growing (Source : Nielsen MAT 2018 Value).

MACKLE PETFOODS - THIS IS NATURAL BEAUTY Mackle Petfoods creates healthy, affordable meals for dogs and cats of all shapes and sizes with its brands Naturo, Brandy and Cat Club. The business invested over £3m into its Naturo manufacturing facility in Moy in 2017, and a further £2m into a state-of-the-art CAMA Packing line in 2018. The attraction of Naturo as a competitively-priced, premium product along with offering retailers incremental sales has helped the brand achieve impressive growth this year. The beginning of 2018 kickstarted Mackle Petfoods’ delivery of a very ambitious marketing plan, with a budget of £500,000, across UK and Ireland. Its objectives were to raise brand awareness across the UK and Ireland; to convey Naturo brand values; to educate pet owners about the quality and health benefits of Naturo; and to increase sales across UK and Ireland by 30% in 2018 (a 5% increased objective on 2017). The marketing strategy would be a combination of above and below the line covering TV, digital media, events, PR and social activity. The campaign, This is Natural Beauty, would feature cats and dogs in their ‘natural’ settings, embodying natural pet behaviour.


ULSTER GROCER MARKETING AWARDS Mash Direct was grown around family values. It was founded on a sixth-generation, family-run farm to make meal times easier for their customers; creating healthy and convenient vegetable side dishes, free from artificial nasties and with homemade taste and texture. In 2018, the Hamilton family (Martin, Tracy, Lance and Jack) decided to team up with Peter Rabbit for the launch of his new movie and to spread the word about Mash Direct’s award-winning vegetables. They seamlessly integrated the brand with Peter Rabbit over a range of platforms to gain maximum exposure for the movie launch, utilising followers on social media as well as pursuing traditional means of advertising such as PR, out of home, radio and email marketing. The marketing campaign reached 17,336,179 people. An on-pack promotion allowed customers to enter a prize draw to win a ‘Family holiday to Peter Rabbit’s Farmhouse in France’, with strong visibility on supermarket shelves. To close the campaign, Mash Direct hosted an exclusive screening of the Peter Rabbit Movie for media and influencers. Sales across the Peter Rabbit-branded Mash Direct lines increased by 11% during the campaign which has contributed to a record-breaking financial year with 35 Mash Direct packs sold every minute across the UK and Ireland.

MOY PARK - MASTERFULLY CRAFTED MARVELLOUSLY TASTY In an era of severe decline, and fierce competition from own label, 2018 saw Moy Park shake up the fresh breaded chicken category with its Masterfully Crafted Marvellously Tasty campaign, rising to become Ireland’s first choice for coated chicken products, overtaking Tesco. Year on year, brand value has grown +3%, with +14% growth for fresh coated. In its 75th anniversary year, Moy Park brand now commands 26.5% share of the total fresh coated category and is the top-performing brand in the category. In driving purchase intent, Masterfully Crafted Marvellously Tasty overachieved, with six in 10 stated that they would be very likely to purchase a Moy Park coated product as a result of the activity. Masterfully Crafted Marvellously Tasty was a productled marketing campaign (Apr – Dec 2018), which focused on the brand’s key differentiator versus branded competitors and own label – taste. Rich, colourful language and hunger inducing imagery took centre stage, showcasing Moy Park’s golden-crumbed, crispy-coated creations. From high impact OOH showcasing sizzling new packs, inspirational recipe video content for social media, a panel of taste experts, a radio partnership with Dublin’s 98FM, to a Marvellous Chicken Road Trip and crowd-pleasing Marvellous Chicken Market – Moy Park pulled out all the stops to communicate taste.



SuperValu has a clear vision around Real Food, Real People; making food inspiring for customers, highlighting quality and ensuring the offering is underpinned by value. In Q4 2017, SuperValu sought to create a strategy that would help reaffirm customers’ perceptions around quality and value of range. The strategy had three core pillars: price, promotion and own brand. With the new proposition in place, the next stage was to create a campaign that would reposition SuperValu in the market and showcase the value on offer across the store. To support this, the new umbrella campaign for 2018, The Super & The Valu was launched. Throughout 2018, the campaign was supported consistently across direct mail and in-store leaflets, alongside an extensive outdoor campaign, radio campaign, in-store radio, and upweighted digital campaigns across social, display and email. Results were strong, with a notable rise in customer value perception and sales throughout the year. The introduction of the new PoS kits in-store helped to highlight the offering and the campaign also drove significant engagement on social media. Based on the strong results delivered, it is safe to say that The Super & The Valu struck a chord with both consumers and retailers alike, breathing new life into the brand.

Musgrave operates a network of familyowned independent retailers across the island, which collectively help to feed one-in-three people in Ireland and should be in prime position when it comes to Northern Ireland consumers’ perceptions of local retailers. This campaign told the Musgrave Northern Ireland story in an emotive and meaningful way, celebrating the company’s 35-year anniversary in Northern Ireland, and the work of the many people within the business that have contributed to its success. The strategy weaved the SuperValu, Centra and Mace brands into one, with the unified message of loving everything local for 35 years, putting people at the heart of the story. The campaign included the development of an eye-catching TV advert showcasing the brand’s commitment to all things local, putting the focus on people by giving the public the chance to star in the TV advert; creating teaser posts for social media; developing a full outdoor campaign; and driving home the local message through PoS in all stores. The campaign generated considerable success over a short period of time, helping to inspire the workforce; giving the business and independent retailers confidence in the brands, celebrating the impact of charity partnerships and the community impact of the brands, and communicating the company’s business values.



ULSTER GROCER MARKETING AWARDS WHITE’S OATS - TASTE THE JOURNEY WITH WHITE’S OATS Pioneering oats brand White’s Oats looked to support its existing market leadership position in Northern Ireland, as well as UK listings, with a new creative marketing campaign to communicate the unique taste and provenance of White’s Oats in a highly distinctive way, challenging perceptions that all oats are created equal.Taste the Journey was a brand activation campaign centred around a core message aligning its taste proposition alongside provenance. It creatively communicates the time it takes to bring its process and provenance to life, cleverly using illustration and typography that dials up cues of quality and heritage and ultimately providing the motivating reason to buy - taste. An illustrated oat kernel is brought to life through animation and acts as a common thread throughout the campaign, which consisted of a media mix of online and social, press advertising, PR and influencer marketing. It engaged with over three million consumers, activated over a six month period during 2018. Not only has the campaign to date delivered on ROI, recording year-on-year growth of 10% in NI and a 50% uplift in branded sales in specific GB accounts, but it has also secured new listings and new retail opportunities, which now accounts for 45% of total company turnover

» LORRAINE HALL YOUNG MARKETEER AWARD I SPONSORED BY KESTREL FOODS DALE FARM - CLAIRE HALE, MARKETING EXECUTIVE Since commencing her career at Dale Farm in 2013, Claire has progressed successfully in Dale Farm. Claire graduated with Bsc Marketing honours from Ulster University, following this up with a Level 6 Digital Diploma in Professional Marketing, which she is in the process of completing at the Belfast Academy of Marketing. In 2017, she assumed brand responsibility for Dale Farm Ice Cream and Mullins Ice Cream brands. Operating at both strategic and tactical levels, Claire is responsible for driving several key brand metrics such as increasing brand visibility, building consumer engagement and growing market share. Within one year, Claire has successfully developed and delivered a comprehensive, all-Ireland campaign for Dale Farm Ice Cream that integrated communications across a range of consumer touchpoints with a focus on OOH. Her enthusiasm for innovation was demonstrated through two innovative, first-to-market channels; T-Side Lenticulars and temperature activated Dynamic Digital. Claire has also driven digital and social content marketing along with on-the-ground sampling. As a direct result of the all-Ireland campaign, Claire drove a +7.5% market share increase in NI impulse ice cream, with the brand securing number one market position in the Total NI Ice Cream market and delivered +77.5% value growth in Total ROI impulse ice cream. HENDERSON GROUP - JADE MANNING, ASSISTANT BRAND MANAGER


Since becoming a member of the marketing team within the Henderson group, Jade has proved herself to be dedicated, dynamic, enthusiastic and passionate in her work which has seen her progress from marketing assistant to brand manager. Her personality shines through in all she does. Jade has been part of a range of initiatives within internal and external teams and has project managed over 14 new EUROSPAR openings. She focuses on projects that bring real results to retailers and shoppers and are proven through post campaign sales figures. She has established excellent working relationships within the wider business due to her involvement in tactical campaigns, coffee mornings, festive events and store level marketing for EUROSPAR Wallace Village, Skeoge and many more. Jade continues to grow her skill set through CIM certificates and enrolling herself into Microsoft workshops that will upskill her everyday responsibilities, as well as challenging herself by Trekking Grand Canyon for Cancer Fund for Children. Jade has played an important role in growing the EUROSPAR Community Supermarket campaign from concept development of a £50,000 TV advert to connecting with community groups and raising over £100,000 through in-store events that have resulted in increased sales and footfall.

Stephanie has been working at the Henderson Group since 2017, moving through the ranks from marketing assistant to assistant brand manager. Her current role involves looking after the entire convenience channel made up of over 300 stores across NI. Her position is mainly concerned with brand marketing communications and plans, through a number of challenging objectives: increasing like-for-like wholesale and retail sales, driving footfall, and increasing brand awareness and favourability with customers. Stephanie is also responsible for delivering tailored marketing campaigns for independent retailers within the convenience channel, including bespoke individual campaigns to cluster marketing tactics for groups of stores, all to increase basket spend, footfall and favourability against competitors. She has perused driving sales in the tonight’s tea category, with customers living increasingly busy lives and convenient meal solutions growing in popularity. Stephanie has been working to change shopper perceptions and encourage the public that SPAR stores are a destination to buy everything they need for their evening meal and have a large offering of quality fresh meat and produce, contributing towards a 51% increase in customers’ awareness of offerings, 9% growth in sales across the estate and a 10% increase in market share.



» BEST EXPORT MARKETING I SPONSORED BY INVEST NI IRWIN’S BAKERY - HOWELL’S SUCCESSFULLY SUPPLIES OWN-LABEL CAKE TO SPAR GB Bought by the Irwin family in 2006 in order to introduce a specialist ‘handmade’ cakes and biscuits division to the overall business, Howell’s supplies NI and GB retailers with a range of cakes including the famous Jammy Joey. Lisburn-based Howell House has a reason to celebrate, following wins at three national industry awards for product quality and customer service delivery after successfully launching three new cakes to SPARs across England, Scotland and Wales. Irwin’s Bakery has worked closely alongside A.F. Blakemore to develop a range of SPAR own-label round cakes, and supported this strong launch across the estate. Irwin’s is a family business with a transparent business plan, and a focus on being competitive in the market and ensuring retailers generate excellent profits. MACKLE PETFOODS - NATURO: BUILDING ON SUCCESS

In 2018, Naturo Petfoods invested €100,000 into marketing their products into the Dutch market. Having previously achieved impressive sales and growth in this market, the company decision to invest more money would not only help raise brand awareness but also help increase export levels.The campaign focused on three main channels to market the 2018 campaign, This is Natural Beauty. On social media, a mix of images, videos and gifs with the same consistent campaign messages and branding was shared throughout the Naturo NL Facebook and Instagram profiles. The assets shared were continually on brand, conveying brand messages and effective in engaging users. TV advertising featured three adverts portraying animals acting in their natural way conveying humour and key brand messages. Thirdly, a partnership with Tourism Ireland allowed the Naturo brand to be seen by a different type of audience, giving it a trustworthy position while gaining substantial awareness through Tourism Ireland NL’s newsletters and social media. Social media generated 1.5million impressions, 566,174 completed views and 1,306 clicks to website; TV activity reached 1.7 million; and the Tourism Ireland newsletter boasts a readership of 67,000. A completed £2m investment in its packing line, and further planned spend of £5m are the result of increased demand for Naturo pet food products.

THOMPSON’S TEA The story of Thompson’s Tea began in Belfast, in 1896, but it wasn’t until the 1950s that Punjana was introduced to the Northern Irish tea drinking public, with the Pick Punjana Tea TV campaign.With an uncompromising devotion to quality for over a century, the brand has gone from strength to strength to become NI’s best-selling tea. It was now time to launch the awardwinning Punjana brand in GB.After successfully securing listings in Tesco and Morrisons, Punjana enjoyed modest growth in what was a static mainstream black tea category. Comprehensive research was undertaken and while current Punjana drinkers in GB were very positively disposed towards the brand and its name, it had become clear that there was also a significant proportion of the English tea-drinking population that, without the benefit of a catchy jingle, had found the name confusing. After researching many scenarios, it became clear that Thompson’s Tea, Four Generations of Passionate Tea Makers was a strong and compelling message.Despite the major decision to remove their hero brand from GB shelves and replace it with something entirely new, this gamble has been justified as sales of Thompson’s Special Everyday, after only six months, are already running at record levels in all of the GB supermarkets.


» BEST GREEN MARKETING I SPONSORED BY NI TRUCKS COCA-COLA HBC IRELAND & NORTHERN IRELAND COMMITMENT TO CREATING A WORLD WITHOUT WASTE At Coca-Cola HBC Ireland and Northern Ireland, sustainability is at the core of the company’s values and a key part of its business strategy. Since opening its plant in Knockmore Hill, Lisburn in 2010, CocaCola HBC has tangibly reduced its impact on the environment. 2020 targets were set against recycling and waste, energy usage and water conservation, with some targets ahead of schedule. In 2018, Coca-Cola HBC, in partnership with The Coca-Cola Company, also launched its World Without Waste strategy, with localised commitments to make its packaging more sustainable. This global strategy sets out an ambition to design more sustainable packaging; to collect and recycle the equivalent of every bottle or can sold by 2030; and to partner with NGOs, customers and stakeholders to help clean up the planet.With all of its bottles and cans already 100% recyclable, the company has focused on integrating more recycled plastic into its portfolio to create a true circular economy, and has light-weighted its packs, removing plastic from the supply chain completely. Messaging has been integrated to both Coca-Cola and Deep RiverRock TVs and on-pack to inspire and motivate people to recycle, while its partnership with Clean Coasts saw over 4,000 people collect 23 tonnes of litter from the Irish coastline in 2018.

MUSGRAVE – FRANK AND HONEST COMPOSTABLE In 2018, Musgrave launched an ambitious three-year sustainability strategy, bringing the company to national attention for its efforts to reduce its carbon footprint and securing the coveted title of Green Retailer of the Year at the Ulster Grocer Marketing Awards 2018. Building on this success, the company made a significant commitment to boosting its green credentials through an innovative, Ireland-first campaign for its artisan coffee brand, Frank and Honest – to become the first national coffee brand to introduce compostable cups. The impressive initiative was much more than a marketing campaign. A partnership-focused approach brought retailers, consumers and wider stakeholders on the journey. Creative photography brought the story to life, while valuable third-party endorsements added credibility and weight to the initiative and creative PoS brought the campaign to life in-store. A digital-first marketing strategy delivered impressive results across owned social media channels. An image-led content strategy and a tongue-in-cheek tone that communicated with the brand’s core values spoke to a Millennial audience drove significant amounts of usergenerated content. Locally, this was supported by regular Frank and Honest content on the SuperValu NI and Centra NI social platforms. Alongside this, an impactful PR campaign far exceeded expectations and objectives set.

» BEST IN-STORE CONSUMER SALES PROMOTION I SPONSORED BY AQUA TWIST HENDERSON WHOLESALE - ELF ON THE ‘SHOP’ SHELF During late 2018, EUROSPAR stores across Northern Ireland played host to dozens of Christmas elves, encouraging shoppers to take part in their Elf on the shelf treasure hunt style competition in stores. From November 26–December 24, shoppers were challenged to visit their local store each day, find the elf, and post their entries into the official entry form box or take a picture and post it on the EUROSPAR NI Facebook page. Entrants had the chance to win a holiday worth £2,000 and two runners up would each receive a bike - with no limit on the number of entries, shoppers could boost their chances of winning by returning to a participating EUROSPAR store every day. Each day during the campaign, the designated Elf Champion in store would come up with different locations and situations the elf would get into – maximising the engagement and positive experience of elf-hunting shoppers. The campaign was arranged in partnership with Golden Cow – which helped to ensure fantastic commercial success for two of Northern Ireland’s most recognisable grocery brands.Shoppers were keen to enter as frequently as possible – contributing to a footfall increase in EUROSPAR stores of 6.57%; while Golden Cow recorded a like-for-like retail sales increase of 21.7%. 30

MUSGRAVE - SUPERVALU & CENTRA IN-STORE LAPLAND COMPETITION WITH KELLOGG’S AND TERRA TRAVEL In the run up to Christmas 2018, the SuperValu and Centra teams were tasked with ‘Winning Christmas’ and creating a fun in-store promotion that aligned with their central brand campaigns Helping you make Christmas Super for SuperValu and Live the Magic for Centra. A cross-divisional team was set up with representatives from Trading, Sales and Marketing. The team set out to develop a promotion that would not only create cut through in the market but would ultimately help increase footfall into stores. Launching in November 2018, custom Christmas post boxes were placed in every SuperValu and Centra store across Northern Ireland to post their letters to Santa. The ultimate aim of this creative in-store promotion was to send two families from Northern Ireland on a magical trip of a lifetime to Lapland. With Kellogg’s and Terra Travel on-board as partners, the campaign was communicated to local press and consumers via press releases, in-store PoS and social media. The creation of the in-store competition helped to drive customers into stores and gave independent retailers and companyowned managers something to shout about in their local communities. The campaign also generated considerable online and press awareness and saw like-for-like sales increase for both brands. In total, 1.5k entries were received.




Marie Curie provides nursing services for around 4,000 people living with a terminal illness and their families at home in Northern Ireland each year, and cares for 500 people in the Belfast Hospice helping families make the most of the time they have together. It needs to raise over £3.5m per annum to fund its hospices and nursing care in Northern Ireland. As a charity partner of Marie Curie, SPAR NI wanted to get behind an initiative, The Blooming Great Tea Party, to encourage as many SPAR stores as possible across Northern Ireland to host a tea party on the same day for four hours to fundraise. A cost effective through-the-line marketing campaign including outdoor, radio, digital, direct mail and PR was developed to communicate the SPAR Marie Curie Blooming Great Tea Party Campaign. This resulted in 240 stores participating, raising £74, 876 in just four hours, whilst driving footfall to SPAR NI stores and positioning SPAR at the heart of local communities across Northern Ireland. The impact of the funds raised enables Marie Curie nurses to provide 3,750 hours of specialist nursing care in people’s homes throughout Northern Ireland.

Northern Ireland has some of the most disadvantaged communities in the UK; one in five adults lack basic literacy skills. Through its Young News Readers (YNR) initiative, The Irish News underlined its commitment to the community and to delivering its Corporate Social Responsibility agenda.The initiative addressed the important social issue of low literacy rates impacting very negatively on people’s lives. YNR involves the weekly distribution of a New School Edition of The Irish News to schools throughout Northern Ireland via the existing wholesale and retail network. It is supported by a teacher resource pack and the initiative was developed in partnership with St Mary’s University College and CBI NI. YNR builds readership, grows literacy and builds partnerships with schools and is a central strand of the paper’s CSR.YNR is fully resourced by the paper in providing editorial and journalistic input; dedicated design and print capacity with associated overhead costs are absorbed by the paper as part of its CSR commitment.Over 6,500 pupils and 100 plus schools across NI were reached, with primary, post-primary, grammar and secondary schools, Catholic, integrated and state schools all signed up to YNR to receive the school edition. Increased circulation via YNR and the Schools Edition enabled The Irish News to outperform the market.



With 35 stores in rural towns across Northern Ireland, SuperValu is literally positioned at the heart of the local community. SuperValu wanted to reflect that position, not only through the services on offer and food and drink that they sell, but also through the work that they do within the local community. While the SuperValu stores are committed to supporting the central partnership with Action Cancer, SuperValu also set itself an ambition to grow its already proven formula for SuperMums into an initiative that celebrates everyone in our community, and SuperValu SuperStars was born. At SuperValu, the brand stands for Real Food, Real People, and SuperValu SuperStars would help recognise and celebrate real people in local communities who go above and beyond the call of duty to help and support those in need. Categories include Young SuperStar, Fundraising SuperStar, Unsung Hero, Community Group SuperStar, Social Enterprise SuperStar and a sixth award for a SuperValu colleague raising vital funds for Action Cancer. The awards were promoted through media partners, promotional leaflets, in-store promotions and social media. Now entering into its third year as SuperValu SuperStars, the initiative has gone from strength to strength, with finalists from every county, age group, gender and religious background recognised.

In July 2018, Deep RiverRock launched Thirst for Better, a five-year CSR initiative designed to celebrate and support community groups across the island of Ireland. The campaign enables consumers to donate 10p from every bottle of Deep RiverRock to a registered community group of their choice, including community groups engaged in activity spanning education, fitness and well-being through to creative art, family and kids’ activity. In 2018, Deep RiverRock held the number two market position for bottled water brands in the RoI market, behind Ballygowan. Sourced in the Antrim Hills and bottled locally, the brand holds the number one position in the NI market. In 2018, it was determined that one of the key elements necessary to help the brand reach the number one position in the RoI market was for the brand to assert its Irish roots and become more embedded in the local psyche. Thirst for Better as a CSR initiative was created to positively make a difference to communities across Ireland, at a grass-roots level, delivering positive social impact with every bottle sold. Six months into the campaign, over 7,500,000 people have been reached through media activity across the island of Ireland. There have been over 160,000 donations made to date.





HOW DO YOU RETELL A STORY THAT’S BEEN TOLD FOR 151 YEARS? Brand stories well-told feel unique, alive, meaningful and connect with audiences both old and new. The story of Balmoral Show may be 151 years old, but this year we’re proud to tell it like never before. And perhaps you, like many, will experience it like never before. #WeDoDifferent.





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Boost’s mission for 2018 (its 15th year in NI) was to protect its number one position* and to increase sales by delivering a year-long programme of consumer and trade activity, designed to keep the brand at the forefront of customers’ minds. This was developed through strategic PR and promotional marketing methods. The Design a Can campaign engaged with consumers and created excitement. Organised in association with creative community YCN (You Can Now), it saw students from Northern Ireland redesign Boost’s Sugar-Free Energy 250ml can with the winning design manufactured and launched into the market as a limited-edition product featured on more than one million cans across the province. The winning student developed the campaign 15 Years a Giant, which was a nod towards the Giant’s Causeway. The We Love Local Road Trip, meanwhile, saw Boost travel 200 miles across NI to thank retailers for their support over the last 15 years. 2018 saw Boost taking the top three selling soft drink spots in NI convenience**, with sales of 32.9 million, up almost 2,000,000 units y-o-y. A carefully crafted PR, media and social media plan underpinned the campaign. *IRI Marketplace Data Symbols and Independents 52 weeks unit and value sales to 10.09.17 **Data NI Convenience unit sales 52 weeks unit and value sales to 30.12.18

When it comes to wine, provenance and terroir are important. The same is true for food. Which is why Henderson Wholesale made the original decision in 2015 to create enjoy local, a range showcasing the quality of Northern Irish food. Sourcing its food locally enables SPAR to take care of the hard part, so consumers can focus on eating better food daily. It knows exactly where its food has come from, and deals directly with farmers and grocers, allowing it to support and improve both local suppliers and the economy. Key consumer insights in 2017 indicated that shoppers were confused by the range’s wide colour palette and didn’t feel the packaging effectively highlighted the products’ quality. Henderson Wholesale’s objective in 2018 was to build upon its initial success, re-branding and re-launching 16 categories and 123 SKUs within enjoy local that clearly confirmed the range’s locality and communicated the quality of the products within the range through packaging and messaging. Two areas of importance repeatedly arose from insights fundamental to a customer for authenticating a product’s locality and quality: product origin and place of production and packaging, which Henderson Wholesale then used to shape its core objectives and project direction.



At the start of 2017, ORMO was the fifth bestselling brand in the Northern Ireland Traditional Other Bakery category, and immediate action was required to re-build the brand and reengage with new and existing consumers. A Product Improvement programme was introduced to benchmark ORMO against its competitive set on core product characteristics, conducted independently at Loughry College, with improvement areas identified for Soda Farls, Fruit Loaf and Rolls.The key ORMO campaign in 2018 was to support the launch of a new premium range in September 2018. The NPD strategy was very explicit, ORMO an iconic Northern Ireland brand collaborating with two other successful NI agri-food brands in the form of Mash Direct and Ballyrashane Creameries. The campaign was fully integrated including a province-wide outdoor and PR programme to drive consumer awareness and engagement of the new ORMO range, with coverage achieved in all national papers. An extensive in-store campaign ensured strong stand out in the bakery aisle with display units and shelf branding. Sales exceeded all internal forecasts, and ORMO increased its share in both the Potato Farl and Wheaten Bread categories while, by the end of December, ORMO was the number two brand and the fastest growing (Source : Nielsen MAT 2018 Value).

Naturo is Mackle Petfoods’ superpremium wet dog food offering, made with 100% natural ingredients that are fresh and locally sourced. The development of Naturo: Chef’s Selection came from an innovation by founder John Mackle, teamed with identifying gaps in the market. This new, super premium range of Naturo gives customers an additional value, while also attracting new customers with an interest in a healthier diet for their pets. To make the new range a success, Mackle Petfoods came up with a strategy to communicate the key messages and ethos of Chef’s Selection, which included using the following channels:i n-house social media; PR; press/influencer drops; exhibition promotion; advertising (print, adwords, display, etc); and existing customer trials. Naturo: Chef’s Selection was only launched in the past six months, but the growth and demand for the product has been overwhelming. Since the range launched in September, Mackle Petfoods can tell from the analytics that existing customers of the Naturo range are trialling and switching to the new premium range. This new range of Naturo was a hit with online customers and was immediately launched into Tesco stores in the UK and Ireland, later followed by Morrison’s. 37

ULSTER GROCER MARKETING AWARDS MUSGRAVE - SUPERVALU SIGNATURE TASTES Through independent qualitative research, SuperValu found that during the week, consumers are looking for value and healthy time-saving meals. However, when it comes to the weekend or key seasonal events, they are willing to spend more on top-tier ingredients and premium meals. Inspired by this insight, SuperValu saw an opportunity to bolster its premium ownbrand offering in the convenience space and agreed supply and distribution arrangements for over 80 new SuperValu Signature Tastes products for Northern Ireland. It didn’t stop there, as SuperValu was determined to ‘Win Christmas in 2018’, adding an additional 29 seasonal lines. SuperValu Signature Tastes was re-launched at a special Christmas event in November 2018. Guests, including press, media and influencers, were treated to multiple courses of food across the new range, as well as a branded goodie bag filled with ambient lines from the Signature Tastes Range. Furthermore, an extensive marketing campaign was launched to engage the consumer, including outdoor and print advertising; promotional leaflets; social media; recipes promoted online; instore and through local press; digital advertising; and bespoke PoS kits for retailers. Results were extremely strong, gaining a significant increase in like-for-like sales and high levels of awareness and brand impact.

» BEST BRAND I SPONSORED BY HENDERSON FOOD MACHINERY BOOST Boost’s mission for 2018 (its 15th year in NI) was to protect its number one position* and to increase sales by delivering a year-long programme of consumer and trade activity, designed to keep the brand at the forefront of customers’ minds. This was developed through strategic PR and promotional marketing methods. The Design a Can campaign engaged with consumers and created excitement. Organised in association with creative community YCN (You Can Now), it saw students from Northern Ireland redesign Boost’s Sugar-Free Energy 250ml can with the winning design manufactured and launched into the market as a limited-edition product featured on more than one million cans across the province. The winning student developed the campaign 15 Years a Giant, which was a nod towards the Giant’s Causeway. The We Love Local Road Trip, meanwhile, saw Boost travel 200 miles across NI to thank retailers for their support over the last 15 years. 2018 saw Boost taking the top three selling soft drink spots in NI convenience**, with sales of 32.9 million, up almost 2,000,000 units y-o-y. A carefully crafted PR, media and social media plan underpinned the campaign. *IRI Marketplace Data Symbols and Independents 52 weeks unit and value sales to 10.09.17 **Data NI Convenience unit sales 52 weeks unit and value sales to 30.12.18



In 2018, Dale Farm Ice Cream invested a significant proportion of its total marketing budget in its marketing strategy to further consolidate its excellent credentials in NI and raise awareness in RoI. With a more varied and vibrant product portfolio than ever, a 360 campaign was developed, Take Your Tastebuds Back, using outdoor, PoS, digital, social media and PR. The OOH campaign was a colourful expression of the brand, utilising 10 different formats, two of which were first-to-market channels, supported by a suite of PoS material, maximising standout at store level and building a path to purchase for the consumer to the freezer. Dale Farm Ice Cream embarked on an experiential consumer engagement campaign, hitting the road in a bespoke ice cream van on a Big Summer Road Trip. A detachable social media wall provided rich content. Facebook following increased by +7% and Instagram +9% across the two months; the campaign reached over 515,000 people. Widespread listings were secured in forecourt and convenience stores throughout Ireland, and expanded listings with multiples. DFIC was the fastest growing ice cream brand in both Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland. Having grown its market share +7.5%, it is Northern Ireland’s number one ice cream brand.

At the start of 2017, ORMO was the fifth bestselling brand in the Northern Ireland Traditional Other Bakery category, and immediate action was required to re-build the brand and re-engage with new and existing consumers. A Product Improvement programme was introduced to benchmark ORMO against its competitive set on core product characteristics, conducted independently at Loughry College, with improvement areas identified for Soda Farls, Fruit Loaf and Rolls.The key ORMO campaign in 2018 was to support the launch of a new premium range in September 2018. The NPD strategy was very explicit, ORMO an iconic Northern Ireland brand collaborating with two other successful NI agri-food brands in the form of Mash Direct and Ballyrashane Creameries. The campaign was fully integrated including a province-wide outdoor and PR programme to drive consumer awareness and engagement of the new ORMO range, with coverage achieved in all national papers. An extensive in-store campaign ensured strong stand out in the bakery aisle with display units and shelf branding. Sales exceeded all internal forecasts, and ORMO increased its share in both the Potato Farl and Wheaten Bread categories while, by the end of December, ORMO was the number two brand and the fastest growing (Source : Nielsen MAT 2018 Value).




Irwin’s Bakery celebrated 100 years baking in Northern Ireland in 2012. WD Irwin started in business in 1912 in Woodhouse Street, Portadown, as a grocer and was baking cakes and breads to sell in his shop. Business continued to prosper and with it employment; in 1995 when current premises were outgrown, W.D. Irwin and Sons moved to new purpose-built 100,000-square-foot premises at Carn. Now in 2015, the bakery employs over 450 staff and operates 24 hours a day, 363 days a year. Irwin’s manufactures a full portfolio of breads encompassing five brands: Irwin’s, Nutty Krust, Softee, Rankin Selection, and Howell’s. The company core values are reflected in every aspect of the business, from the bakery floor to marketing and advertising to the sales force – Quality, Integrity, Service, Energy, Wealth Creation, Family, Reduction of Waste and Community. The bakery sector is very much price led within Northern Ireland and dominated by both national and multi-national brands. Irwin’s has been baking since 1912; this wealth of knowledge and experience gives Northern Ireland consumers confidence in the range and has encouraged a loyalty across all brands under the Irwin’s umbrella. The strength of the Irwin’s brand provides a fantastic platform on which to launch new products.

In 2016, Musgrave developed premium, on-the-go artisan coffee brand, Frank and Honest. The on-the-go coffee brand was developed to capitalise on the emerging coffee market, using world-class technology that would deliver a consistently great cup of coffee. Ultimately, the objectives of the campaign were to establish the new brand’s position as the biggest and leading coffee brand on the island of Ireland and boost availability and visibility across Northern Ireland. Significant investment, innovation and a tongue-in-cheek marketing campaign all led to a rapid roll-out, to build the brand over the last two years. Cut to 2018, and Frank and Honest is now the largest-selling on-the-go coffee brand on the island of Ireland based in over 700 locations across the island, with over 110 of these in Northern Ireland. In 2018, sales objectives were met and exceeded, with over 2.5m cups of Frank and Honest Coffee sold in the first two years. Feedback from customers and retailers alike continues to exceed expectations, with the vast majority stating that Frank and Honest is the best ‘on-the-go’ coffee on the market. The Frank and Honest ground coffee was also recognised with a Great Taste award. A full range of new innovations, ways to market and a major new marketing campaign are in the pipeline for 2019.



What has the World Cup got to do with sausages? It’s simple. Watching the tournament is a social experience - and like most social experiences, it typically involves food and drink - food like hot dogs, cocktail sausages and pies. Cookstown recognised the fit with their products, and the opportunity presented by the collective attention created by the World Cup provided the chance to position the brand as relevant to a Northern Ireland World Cup-watching audience. It used Facebook to target its selected audience and deployed a Custom Audience tool in order to build out a profile that would most likely engage with the campaign, ie one that enjoyed football. Cookstown recognised that it needed to put relevant content in front of them. Its key principles for creative development were product-centric content that works for the brand, and sports-centric content that works for the fans. Recognising that timing was key to engagement, Cookstown wanted to be involved in the matches and become part of the audience’s watching experience. It did this by creating real-time responses to in-game activity, for those on the sofa (and those sitting beside them). A tongue-in-cheek version of real sports coverage. Ownable by Cookstown, perfectly pairing product giveaways with match activity.

With Halloween traditionally a spike in the Forest Feast selling calendar, the brand wanted to activate a fully-integrated marketing plan, to emphasise the Monkey nut as a Halloween staple in the minds of the consumer, whilst reinforcing awareness of the brand as a leader in Halloween snacking. Digital media allowed Forest Feast to reach out to consumers in the most cost-effective way and encourage engagement directly with the target audience. Using the most popular Halloween snack, the Monkey nut, as an artistic medium, the competition winner and a friend would be transformed into their very own miniature pieces of art. Entry was kept very simple in order to maximise engagement; individuals had to tag a friend on the Forest Feast social channels, under the competition post, using the hashtag #MakeMeAMonkeynut. Monkey nut artist Steve Casino was commissioned to create a line-up of well-known Irish personalities to launch the campaign and help engage consumers. A six-week social media campaign programme was devised, with the launch both online through social media and offline at Tesco Taste Festival. A combination of both online content and outreach, coupled with traditional offline media and trade sell in driving traffic back online, resulted in sales uplift of 38.5% year on year.




To help maximise Christmas sales, Henderson Group implemented a 12-week strategy promoting weekly deals at market-leading prices across 458 of its stores, including SPAR, EUROSPAR, VIVO and ViVOXTRA. On October 1, the annual 12 Deals of Christmas campaign was launched, focusing on one weekly deal for each of the 12 weeks leading up to Christmas and finishing on December 23. The 12 Deals of Christmas campaign was advertised both online and offline. The campaign had three key objectives, increase average LFL weekly impressions by 30%, average LFL weekly video views by 25%, and increase LFL website traffic to the campaign landing page by 50%. Overall the campaign surpassed forecasted objectives and was very well received by both shoppers and retailers. To demonstrate the ‘halo effect’ created by the buzz of these deals, average basket spend across all stores participating increased by 5.1% with LFL sales increasing by 9% and LFL Punjana sales alone increased by 88%. Alongside healthy sales growth, this campaign encouraged a change in perception of SPAR, EUROSPAR, VIVO and ViVOXTRA, as shoppers perceived better quality and value from their local convenience store. This pioneering campaign therefore demonstrates how a wellplanned and timely, integrated marketing approach is critical in meeting modern consumer demands.

Mash Direct was grown around family values. It was founded on a sixth-generation, family-run farm to make meal times easier for their customers; creating healthy and convenient vegetable side dishes, free from artificial nasties and with homemade taste and texture. In 2018, the Hamilton family (Martin, Tracy, Lance and Jack) decided to team up with Peter Rabbit for the launch of his new movie and to spread the word about Mash Direct’s award-winning vegetables. They seamlessly integrated the brand with Peter Rabbit over a range of platforms to gain maximum exposure for the movie launch, utilising followers on social media as well as pursuing traditional means of advertising such as PR, out of home, radio and email marketing. The marketing campaign reached 17,336,179 people. An on-pack promotion allowed customers to enter a prize draw to win a ‘Family holiday to Peter Rabbit’s Farmhouse in France’, with strong visibility on supermarket shelves. To close the campaign, Mash Direct hosted an exclusive screening of the Peter Rabbit Movie for media and influencers. Sales across the Peter Rabbit-branded lines increased by 11% during the campaign which has contributed to a record-breaking financial year with 35 Mash Direct packs sold every minute across the UK and Ireland.

MUSGRAVE - CENTRA LIVE WELL In January 2018, Centra launched the Live Well programme, designed to motivate and inspire individuals and communities across Northern Ireland to get active and eat well. Using insights from 2017, the new ‘digital first’ campaign was born. A total of £1.25m was invested in the campaign, which included a 10-Week Plan, an extensive range of healthier food and drinks in-store, an enhanced series of family fun Run Together 5K events and a series of summer roadshows across Northern Ireland. The Centra Live Well digital marketing campaign was made up of an interactive online Live Well members’ hub on the Centra website, extensive social media content, email marketing and video content including fitness routines, weekly food plans and mindfulness tips. The campaign was supported by a team of highly credible ambassadors, influencers and brand advocates. The online experience was matched in-store with Live Well PoS and an extensive range of 700 healthy lines. The key objective was to connect with as many NI customers as possible, and in turn grow footfall and sales across the store network, which was met and exceeded. The 10-Week Plan achieved over 1,000 sign ups and thousands took part in six Run Together events. Digital engagement was also exceeded, achieving an online content reach of over 1m.

» BEST ARTISAN CAMPAIGN I SPONSORED BY FOOD NI CHOICE PIZZA – PIZZADO With the development of an authentic, artisan, hand-stretched pizza base, Pizzado’s chilled, convenient, high-quality product has proved to be very successful. Karen Boyd saw a gap in the market, bringing all her know how gleamed over 30 years in the pizza industry together with customers’ focus on provenance, quality and authenticity to enable this Pizzado product to be brought to market and grow the business to a new level. Pizzado bases are available locally in some Centra and Supervalu stores, while Indie Fude was first to champion the locally-produced bases alongside Russells Shop4You. With a recent sales launch in the UK, Pizzado bases are now available in farm shops in the north of England and continue to work with Aldi in preparation for the imminent launch across Ireland at the beginning of June.This continued growth will mean the development of a new factory down near Portaferry with the benefit of local employment and continued growth of the company. 42



Harnett’s Oils grows sustainably, cold-presses, filters and bottles oilseeds from the family estate in the Barony of Iveagh, Co Down. The overall marketing objective for Harnett’s Oils as an artisan food producer is to increase awareness of the brand. The marketing strategy has changed from educating consumers on rapeseed oil to increasing awareness of Harnett’s Oil as a brand and the benefits of the business over its competitors. To achieve this, a number of goals were set out: use of Harnett’s recipes; use of social media; entering Blas na hEireann, Made in Ireland and Food Heartland awards; use of local markets and food events to sample the oils; and increasing media attention. To increase awareness of Harnett’s Oils the brand over the last 12 months, the business has been at a number of NI markets as well as food events such as Borough Market in London for St Patrick’s Day. At the start of the year, the business set up a blog and created a range of recipes posted on social media outlets every fortnight to increase the use of Harnett’s oil within a dish. The business also appeared on Farmers’ Country Showdown on UK BBC1 and BBC2, showing production and sales at fairs.

Natural Umber is a deliciously different apple cider vinegar launched in January 2018, which turned out to be an incredible year. Following an initial online-only launch through and, Natural Umber was quick to gain momentum through social media advertising and customer endorsement. Soon it was stocked in a number of the major delicatessens and health food stores in Northern Ireland. In May 2018, Ulster University independently taste-tested Natural Umber against the top three selling brands of ACV, and Natural Umber came out top in every single category including sweetness, aroma and flavour intensity (full results available on request). Then in August 2018, Natural Umber was awarded the coveted three stars from the Guild of Fine Food in London and shortlisted for the top prize, the Golden Fork for Northern Ireland. In September 2018, it scooped the Golden Fork, complimented by judges for its ’sweet apple character and a sharpness’. Success at the Great Taste awards in 2018, has led to growth within the market, with Natural Umber now widely available in over 100 independent high street delicatessens and health food stores in the UK and Ireland. Natural Umber also prides itself on consistent five-star customer reviews across Facebook and Google, which fuels growth.

BOOK NOW! BOOKINGS OPEN FOR GROCERYAID ULSTER GROCERS’ BALL The GroceryAid Ulster Grocers’ Ball will be held at the Culloden Estate & Spa on Friday, May 10. To book seats or tables at the Ball, during which the Ulster Grocer Marketing Awards 2019 will be held, email GroceryAid NI Committee representative Jim McAlea at




conic Northern Ireland brand Tayto continues to enjoy the taste of success with NI consumers, new and old. Having just recently embarked upon its largest-ever support campaign in March, Tayto has invested in a comprehensive £1m brand rejuvenation programme. Reinvigorating the well-loved brand to bring it up to date and with more resonance for current and new generations. Underlining the strength of its taste credentials and proud heritage, the campaign focuses on the new-look recyclable and redesigned packaging across its entire crisps and snacks range supported by its first creative TV advertising undertaken in more than 15 years. Tayto Crisps are the number one crisp brand in Northern Ireland with 49% share

of the flat crisps market* and this brand relaunch is strategically aimed to maintain our brand leader status for many years to come by engaging with and becoming more relevant to the younger generation of crisp and snack consumers. Elly Hunter, marketing director of Tayto, said: “With a new look across our entire range and a reinvigoration of our marketing efforts to drive new and greater awareness and sales, to audiences old and new, we’re delighted that this fun, engaging and cutting-edge campaign marks a new era of innovation. “In a competitive

marketplace, we want to leverage the bestloved brand aspects of Tayto in Northern Ireland, promoting its great taste, fun, witty personality and the approachable, likeable associations which Tayto has with everyone. “Bringing this to new audiences and creating greater awareness to our new and loyal customers, is intrinsic to the Tayto legacy. Both reigniting and introducing love for the brand with all audiences tees us up for some exciting new product news coming up imminently.”

*Source: IRI Market Place| Total NI | Total Crisps | £ Value | 52 w/e 27-Jan-19 IRI, a retail and FMCG market intelligence company

KP SNACKS ENJOYS POP-TASTIC PERFORMANCE IN NI MARKET Six of the local independent sector’s top 10 Handy Packs (singles) are now from the KP Snacks portfolio, including flagship brand McCoy’s. The company also has two of the sector’s top three best-selling Share Bags in Hula Hoops Big Hoops BBQ Beef and McCoy’s Flame Grilled Steak. KP is looking to build From left, Jamie Tomaselli and John Baxter of KP Snacks (Northern Ireland). on its success here with a P Snacks is aiming to build on a very significantly increased marketing spend successful year with the launch of and the introduction of two newlytwo new products in the Northern acquired brands including Popchips, Ireland marketplace. one of the UK’s fastest-growing bagged In the local convenience sector snacks and the latest addition to KP’s (excluding large supermarket chains expanding ‘under 100 calories’ portfolio. and discounter stores), the company Also acquired by KP and set for a big experienced growth of 5.5%* during local push is premium crisp brand Tyrrells. 2018 and now boasts a 21.1%* value These acquisitions follow the purchase share of the Northern Ireland crisps, last year of Butterkist, the UK’s biggest snacks and nuts (CSN) convenience popcorn brand with a massive 34%** market. value share.



“The crisp, nuts and snacks market in Northern Ireland is worth a massive £38m in the convenience sector alone, and, within this, we’re delighted to report 5.5% growth year on year and a market share of more than 21%,” said Ricky Watts, KP Snacks business account manager for Northern Ireland. “As part of our Taste for Good commitment, we’ve been working on improving the health credentials of our products for a number of years, for example by reducing saturated fat by 80% across our core brands. “The Better For You category is a real growth area for us and we now offer no fewer than 37 products in our ‘under 100 calories’ portfolio. Within this, we’re delighted to launch Popchips - a very tasty addition to sit alongside Hula Hoops Puft, which is the lowest calorie bagged snack in the UK marketplace.” *Source: IRI Ext3 Convenience NI MAT 28.01.2019 **Source: Neilson 4 w/e 26th of January 2019



CONSUMER USAGE AND ATTITUDES/SALES TRENDS • The tobacco category remained bullish last year. Although EUTPD II and standardised packaging regulations have brought challenges, numerous opportunities still exist to bring products to the market that meet evolving consumer demands. This ensures that adult smokers continue to enjoy innovative new tobacco experiences. • Downtrading is one notable current trend. At Imperial, we continually monitor and – if necessary – reposition our portfolio to react to such movements. For instance, L&B Blue shifted from the Economy to the Sub-Economy factory made cigarette (FMC) sector in 2018. We also announced plans to reposition Embassy from its traditional home in the Premium price sector to the more popular Economy price sector. This provides a competitive new price point for Embassy that will appeal to adult smokers seeking premium quality – but at an affordable price. • In the UK, Roll Your Own (RYO) has been consistently growing its share of the overall tobacco category. However, since the introduction of EUTPD II in May 2017, the speed of the shift from FMC to RYO has increased significantly. Between 2014 and 2016 RYO saw an average monthly gain in White Stick Equivalent (WSE) share of 0.07%2. However, through 2017, RYO’s share of WSE grew by an average of 0.18%2 per month – almost triple the rate of overall category growth. UK RYO market share in relation to FMC stood at almost 39%2 in November 2018. Current trends suggest this pattern is set to continue. • The crushball (capsule) sector also continues to flourish, currently standing at over 15%2 of the overall FMC market. 50

If they don’t already do so, wholesalers should consider stocking our awardwinning JPS Player’s Crushball and JPS Crushball. We have also recently released an exciting new Rizla Crushball filter tip. BEST-SELLING PRODUCTS • Retailers should continue to stock up on best-selling Imperial FMC and RYO brands like Player’s, L&B Blue and Gold Leaf to ensure they meet consumer demand. • We have also recently reimagined our Rizla papers packaging, with each pack now featuring a ‘tuck in’ closing mechanism designed to reduce wastage plus a ‘soft touch’ finish designed to make the packaging feel more tactile. There are a wide range of Rizla papers available, but our best-selling Medium Thin Green and Rizla Medium Thin Red variants are available in packs of 100 (Regular) and 50 (King Size). • Retailers shouldn’t forget about Rizla tips either. They’re available in several variants, from Slim, Ultra Slim, Natura Ultra Slim and Menthol Ultra Slim. NEW PRODUCTS • Imperial’s newest innovation is L&B Blue Bright Air Filter, which combines a recess in the filter tip with a firmer filter structure. The product has been developed to satisfy the needs of modern adult smokers looking for a combination of premium features and a smoother smoking experience – while remaining at a great value price point. • Embassy’s repositioning now means that it will be available to retailers in King Size 20s. • Rizla Polar Blast is the first ever RYO filter tip to contain a Crushball. An innovative and exciting proposition, Polar Blast brings the popularity of FMC Crushballs to RYO. The squeezable filter

tip means adult smokers will be able to ‘click’ to enjoy the taste of mint whenever they roll their own. • Riverstone is our new RYO tobacco brand. It offers a high quality, easy-toroll blend at an affordable price, and is cut using an innovative, bespoke manufacturing technique. Designed to appeal to FMC smokers moving over to the RYO sector as well as dualists, Riverstone offers a smooth taste at a great value price point. • Our Mid-Price RYO brand GV Smooth Bright Yellow is to be renamed Golden Virginia Yellow, capitalising on the strong brand equity the latter enjoys as a premium RYO brand. This transition is taking place over the coming months, so we’d advise retailers to keep their eyes peeled and contact their designated Imperial representative with any queries. WHAT RETAILERS NEED TO DO TO MAXIMISE SALES Continued focus on new product development is critical, but in a challenging post-EUTPD II environment it’s also vital to communicate that innovation to retailers. Our salesforce spends significant time with our customers explaining the importance of new products. • Meanwhile, our Intelligence and Brand teams collaborate closely. They actively monitor category trends to both cater for and react to changing consumer tastes, while ensuring adult smokers continue to enjoy innovative new tobacco experiences. • Imperial suggests organising tobacco products by brand, range and price segment – sub economy to premium ensures availability is consistently maintained. • Retailers can also take note of their bestselling FMC and RYO SKUs and always ensure their stock rooms contain enough backups to replenish gantries, should supplies run low. • To find out more, we recommend retailers contact their dedicated Imperial sales representative. RRP price as of 4 Feb 2019. Retailers are free to determine the selling prices of their products at all times 2 ITUK Estimates, November 2018 1




UUL, the best selling vape brand in the US with its mission to improve the lives of the world’s one billion adult smokers, has confirmed plans to roll out its products to Northern Ireland. The brand, which was launched in the US in 2017, has seen phenomenal growth stateside and currently has over 75% of the US vaping sector,with retail sales of over $2.4bn in the last year alone. In July last year, the brand launched into mainland UK with distribution into the specialist vape sector before an exclusive agreement with Sainsbury’s saw the brand enter the mainstream market in November. The brand has subsequently been listed in Boots stores in England and across Motor Fuel Group which has over 900 sites. It now has Northern ireland firmly in its sights. “JUUL’s mission is to help adult smokers make the switch from tobacco to less harmful alternatives and improve both their lives and the lives of those around them,” says John Patterson, sales director of JUUL Labs UK. “Given that Northern Ireland has the highest percentage of smokers in the UK - with 16.5% of the adult population smoking - we see huge potential in helping these adult smokers make the transition from tobacco to vape and improve their lives. Additionally, adult smokers expect to see alternatives to smoking in the stores where they have

traditionally purchased their tobacco products and that’s why convenience is such a major strategic focus for us.” The success of JUUL lies in three main areas: it’s simple, it’s clean and it satisfies. The unique pod system simply clicks into the device and it’s ready to go. It’s clean as there is no ash nor smell and the patented nicsalt in JUULpods delivers in terms of satisfaction for switchers replicating the ritual of smoking a cigarette. Latest figures from industry specialist IRI shows that JUUL had taken a 6.1% share of the total vaping sector in the UK multiple grocery by the end of January - only 12 weeks after launch.1 “To have achieved this level of sales in 12 weeks - and in only one account - is an incredible achievement and this performance shows there is a real appetite for JUUL among adult smokers who want to make the switch” continues Patterson. “In convenience, we have made significant investment into recruiting a field team to work with independent retailers - including those in Northern Ireland - helping them to develop the vape category in the convenience sector and increase their share of the market.” The company is keen to emphasise that all their retail partners act responsibly and every retailer that stocks JUUL has to sign up to Challenge 25 - a scheme where anyone wishing to purchase JUUL products and appears to look under 25 years of age must be asked for identification to prove they are over 18. Patteson concludes: “As we grow at pace across a broad range of retailers

and new channels, we will continue to reinforce our key policies and practises around age-gating. “Challenge 25 will remain a prerequisite for any retailer we partner with and we will continue to police this regularly with independent mystery shoppers, while imposing sanctions on noncompliant retailers. As we strive to improve the lives of the UK’s 7.4 million adult smokers, it is important that all our partners, big and small, value our mission and also act responsibly.” The JUUL range consists of the JUUL Starter pack (RRP £29.99 and includes JUUL device, USB charger and four flavoured JUULpods); Single JUUL device (RRP £24.99) and five 4-pack flavoured JUULpods refills (Golden Tobacco, Glacier Mint, Mango Nectar, Royal Creme and Apple Orchard - RRP £9.99). Retailers interested in becoming a JUUL stockist can call 0808 164 1301 or email More information on JUUL products can be found at 1 IRI Value Sales, Vaping category, Total Major Multiples, 12 w/e 27/01/19




he innovative e-vapour brand blu is expanding its flavour portfolio with the launch of a new and improved Golden Tobacco flavour for its pod device, myblu – the No.1 closed kit device in the UKi. Chris Street, head of Trade Marketing at blu UK, comments: “We’re always looking at ways to strengthen our flavour portfolio using the latest in vaping technology to deliver innovative products that respond to rising trends. This is why we’re launching a new and improved Golden Tobacco flavour to complement our existing myblu range.” myblu Golden Tobacco has notes of caramel and nutty flavour tones which have performed exceptionally well in consumer testing. The new and improved flavour will be rolled out in stores in the coming weeks and available in both myblu core and Intense Liquidpod variants, which feature nicsalts to more closely replicate the sensation of smoking a traditional cigarette. Street continues: “Retailers should make sure they’re stocking a strong range of liquids, including our latest Golden Tobacco variant, alongside other

fruit and mint-based flavours, to ensure they’re well equipped to capitalise on the lucrative sales on offer through this fastgrowing category.” myblu Liquidpods and Intense Liquidpods retail at £5.99 for a pack of two 1.5ml Liquidpodsii. Please see below for further details on the different strengths and flavours available. myblu Intense Liquidpods are available in the following flavours: • Golden Tobacco: A delicious tobacco blend with both caramel and nutty flavour tones • Tobacco: Mimics the authentic, classic taste of rich, robust tobacco • Menthol: Notes of sweet spearmint and peppermint give this flavour a classically cool taste • Strawberry Mint: Blends sweet and minty elements with distinct notes of fruit • Blueberry: Crafted to deliver the fresh flavour of ripe, handpicked blueberries myblu standard Liquidpods are available in the following flavours including zero, 9mg/ml and 18mg/ml nicotine strengths: • Golden Tobacco: A delicious tobacco blend with both caramel and nutty flavour tones

• Green Apple: A sweet-and-sour vape inspired by mouth-watering green apples • Mango Apricot: Sweet and tangy, with notes of mango and apricot • Cherry Crush: Sweet, sun-ripened Maraschino cherries, topped with notes of tobacco • Eucalyptus Lemon: Melds zesty, sour lemon with cool mint tones of eucalyptus • Ginseng Ginger: Sweet and spicy, combining warming ginger and restorative ginseng • Café Latte: Hearty notes of roasted espresso beans and steamed milk • Bourbon Caramel: The irresistible essence of aged Bourbon and creamy caramel Nielsen market data – December 2018 For the avoidance of doubt, retailers are free at all times to determine the selling price of their products




mbassy is one of Imperial’s most renowned factory-made cigarette (FMC) brands, enjoying over a century of success in market. In order to meet the evolving needs of adult smoking consumers, the brand has been repositioned from its traditional home in the Premium price sector to the more popular Economy price sector. Tom Gully, brand planning manager, comments: “Embassy has been one of Imperial’s most enduring and recognisable FMC propositions across the years. Crucially, this repositioning doesn’t involve any changes to the packaging or the cigarette itself. However, the competitive new price point will appeal to adult smokers seeking premium quality at an affordable price. We’re excited about Embassy’s future and recommend retailers stock up now.” Embassy will be available to retailers in King Size 20s with an RRP* of £9.35 for Embassy Red and Bright Blue from March 18. Embassy Filter’s RRP will remain at £11.95.

*Retailers are free to determine the selling prices of their products at all times. 52




atest DAERA figures are showing a 30year low of suckler cows in Northern Ireland, and this trend will escalate until farmers receive a fair price, according to National Beef Association (NBA) NI board representative Ernie Ritchie. “Costs have continued to rise, and this is raising serious questions of the industry,” he said. “NI beef was quoted at 334p per kilo in the last week, and this in itself is down some 30p in the last few months.” DAERA’s December 2018 agricultural survey places suckler cow numbers at 245,100, down 5% year on year and the lowest number recorded in Northern Ireland since 1988. “Processors have been filling cold stores in anticipation of a worst-case scenario and pre-empting a lack of imported beef,

effectively looking after themselves,” said Ritchie. In fact, this is having the opposite effect and creating over-supply, which is driving prices down. The weather conditions have compounded the situation, and the end result is that NI farmers are being left behind due to lack of profits. Many beef farmers have moved to dairy or have simply stopped due to concerns on increased costs and reduced prices. “It ultimately comes down to lack of profit and rising costs of all inputs and the mediocre margins left by these unsustainable prices,” he said. Any difference between NI and GB prices is far higher than the associated transport costs, he added. “Northern Ireland complies to all the same quality standards as the rest of


lster Farmers’ Union (UFU) is encouraging livestock farmers to buy local grain, saying that it makes good business sense to have a shorter supply chain. “When farmers buy local grain, they can be confident they are getting some of the best quality grain grown right on their doorstep,” said David Matthews, UFU seeds and cereals chairman. “Using and processing feed from the same source provides consistency to a balanced diet rather than potentially having four separate loads delivered 54

the UK and should be encouraged to continue to supply to the UK market,” said Chris Mallon, national director, NBA. “But they need to be able to compete and be able to achieve a fair price.”



From left, David Matthews, UFU Seeds and Cereals chairman and Sam Chesney, UFU beef and lamb chairman.


Chris Mallon, national director, NBA.

from four different corners of the globe. “It makes good business sense to buy local. From a marketing perspective, it also adds provenance to your product when you can say your animals are fed with locally-sourced NI Farm Quality Assured grain.” The UFU says not only does it make good business sense but also benefits the environment, as buying locallygrown grain will help to reduce a farm businesses carbon footprint and also boost its environmental credentials.

lster Farmers’ Union (UFU) has challenged a decision by Lakeland to reduce their February milk base price in Northern Ireland, while holding the base price in the Republic of Ireland. “Lakeland has chosen to keep prices stable in RoI,” said William Irvine, dairy chairman of UFU. “This suggests they are confident in the market. Why then reduce the base price in NI? Surely as a co-operative, Lakeland has a duty to its members to pay them fairly. “All signs are that markets are good and prices should remain stable. While some views may vary over market forecasts, there is no case to suggest a downturn, something all processors should be mindful of. “Dairy farmers need a stable and fair price for the milk they produce, especially when the markets are positive. Margins are tight on farms at the moment and cash flows are stretched. Processors should be mindful of this.”




eppup, the Portaferry-based developer and producer of authentic Italian sauces, has won its biggest UK retail business. The company, established in 2013 by Luca Montorio, is to supply its unique ketchup and pasta sauces to TK Maxx UK stores throughout the United Kingdom. The contract, announced by Montorio, a native of Turin but now resident in Northern Ireland, is a major breakthrough for the small business in GB and was signed following the company’s participation with Food NI at the big Scotland Speciality Food Show in Glasgow in January. The Food NI presentation in Glasgow was assisted by Invest NI, while Peppup is also a Food NI member company. “I was thrilled to hear that the TK Maxx buyer attended the show specifically to talk to me about becoming a national

Luca Montorio of Peppup Sauces on the Food NI/Invest NI stand at Scotland’s Speciality Food Show in Glasgow.

ALDI IN REPUBLIC OF IRELAND LISTS CROSSGAR’S PREP HOUSE SAUCES From left, Avril Boyd and Lynne Berry in the Crossgar factory.

supplier,” he said. “A significant contract followed, representing my single biggest retail order. I’ve begun supplying products to the TK Maxx depot for distribution to the network of stores across the UK. It’s great working with such a progressive retail brand. “The buyer recognises that my sauces are all about flavour, with roasted peppers the main ingredient, and was impressed by their outstanding taste.” Peppup supplies a wide range of outlets in Northern Ireland and the Republic, including leading delis, independent retailers and farm shops, with its range of sauces. The company’s products have won UK Great Taste awards for excellence. The company also provides catering packs and has won significant business with restaurants in cafes in Northern Ireland and the Republic.


rep House Sauces in Crossgar has won its first business with leading discount retailer Aldi supplying its stores in the Republic of Ireland. Prep House, a family business which has won a string of national awards for its original sauces and dressings, is now supplying its pepper sauce to Aldi for its network of 137 stores across the Republic. The company is headed by Paul Bell, managing director, who took over the management reins in 2015. “Winning initial business from such a prestigious and quality-conscious retail chain as Aldi, which has such an extensive network of successful stores across the Republic, was a marvellous boost for everyone here,” he said. “This very important business for us resulted when we swiftly followed up a lead from Invest NI’s Drew McIvor. “Our approach was well received by the Aldi buyer who was extremely interested and very supportive. We were subsequently invited to pitch several products including the pepper sauce that is now on Aldi’s shelves. Working with Aldi is a tremendous experience. “As a result of the outstanding taste of the product and the convenient two-serve sachet, we’ve been invited to create additional sauces for the chain.” The Aldi listing is Prep House’s biggest deal to date in the Republic and its most significant retail business. The company has successful business with chefs, restaurants and hotels in Northern Ireland.



iberty London, the luxury and iconic department store in the capital’s Regent Street, has launched four original rapeseed oils created with Broighter Gold, Northern Ireland’s multi-award-winning producer of oils cold-pressed from a family farm in Co Derry. The four rapeseed flavours featured by Liberty, original and three infused oils, lemon, garlic and chilli, are the result of collaboration with Broighter Gold Managing Director Leona Kane over the past year. The oils are now available in store and from the retailer’s popular website, the first from Northern Ireland to win such important business with Liberty, which has been at the heart of retailing in London since 1875. Other high-profile customers of the oils include La Grande Epicerie in Paris, Brown Thomas in Dublin and Sainsbury’s.



TAYTO NI LAUNCHES CRISP £1M CAMPAIGN WITH BITE Elly Hunter, marketing director of Tayto.


From left, Hayley McQueen and Harry Redknapp.


conic Northern Ireland heritage brand Tayto has launched its largest-ever TV, digital and promotional campaign as part of a major £1m brand rejuvenation programme. Reinvigorating the well-loved crisp brand for current and new generations and underlining the strength of its taste credentials and proud association with Northern Ireland, the campaign reveals new-look, recyclable and redesigned packaging across its entire snack range and its first creative TV advertising undertaken in more than 15 years. Established in 1956, Tayto Northern Ireland’s parent company, Tayto Group, is one of the largest crisps and snack makers in the UK and Ireland, producing more than five million bags a day across seven sites and exporting to more than 40 countries across the world. With more than 360 staff and famous for its Tayto Castle and Mr Tayto visitor experience in Tandragree, Tayto remains a family-owned business with a product portfolio including Golden Wonder, Real Crisps, Mr Porky, Ringos and, of course, Tayto. “With a new look across our entire range and a reinvigoration of our marketing efforts to drive new and

greater awareness, and sales, to audiences old and new, we’re delighted that this fun, engaging and cuttingedge campaign marks a new era of innovation,” said Elly Hunter, marketing director of Tayto. “In a competitive marketplace, we want to leverage the best-loved brand aspects of Tayto in Northern Ireland, promoting its great taste, fun, witty personality and the approachable, likeable associations which Tayto has with everyone. “Bringing this to new audiences through TV, outdoor, social, sampling, experiential and PR, and creating greater awareness to our new and loyal customers, is an important part of this campaign.” To coincide with the new brand campaign and as part of Tayto’s wider environmental commitment, the company has partnered with Terracycle to create a free recycling programme for their crisp and snack packaging. The programme also offers participants the opportunity to fundraise for their favourite charitable cause. The new TV ad made its debut during the first episode of series two of Derry Girls on Channel 4 on March 5.


ichmond and football legend Harry Redknapp are on a mission to find the nation’s favourite football fans and celebrate the fans most dedicated to their local team with a match day to remember. Richmond Sausages has launched the search, with support from Redknapp and sports presenter, Hayley McQueen, after research found that over half of Brits believe that football is the sport that unites us the most as a nation. “At Richmond we’re on a mission to celebrate all of the nation’s favourite things – the simple things that make us all feel good,” said Dawn Spencer, marketing & category director, Richmond. “Football is the nation’s favourite sport and through our research we have discovered that local football clubs are often the heart of the local community. Come rain or shine their fans and supporters are always on the sidelines, so we thought it was time someone celebrated them.” To enter, simply head to Richmond Food’s official Facebook or Instagram pages and watch the video, commenting underneath why your local club’s fans deserve to be crowned the nation’s favourites.



rise in beef sales has followed the launch of the Livestock and Meat Commission’s advertising campaign to encourage more local consumers to purchase Northern Ireland Farm Quality Assured (NIFQAS) beef and lamb for a second year. In the 12 weeks ending December 30, 2018, beef sales accounted for 86% of total red meat sales in terms of volume which is an increase from 83% during the same period in 2017, according to Kantar Worldpanel data.


The number of households buying beef has also recorded a slight increase during the 2018 period with market penetration at 83.7%, up from 83.1% the previous year. Furthermore, the value of beef sales totalled £29.6m, a 1.6% increase from £29.1m. Running until March 2019, the campaign focused on various media platforms including television, radio, outdoor digital screens, online and in the press.


WHAT IS YOUR CURRENT ROLE? I’ve just launched a new small drinks company so I’m pretty much every role going in the company at the moment. The company is called The Bucha’s Dog, Craft Tonic Brews, and makes a fermented tea drink, known as kombucha. BRIEFLY OUTLINE YOUR EMPLOYMENT HISTORY I’ve been working in the agri-food sector my whole career. I graduated from Queen’s University Belfast with a biological BSc in 1997 and PhD in agronomy in 2000. Initially holding academic posts with both QUB and then the Agricultural Research Institute of Northern Ireland, I then took up various commercial roles over a six or seven year period. For the last six years, I’ve run my own agri-biosciences consultancy company, predominantly providing support to the biogas industry in UK and Ireland. This is really the day job. But now I have also added the new drinks company, which is a passion project. I’ve been home brewing kombucha myself for around five years. WHAT DOES YOUR ROLE INVOLVE? I do all the brewing, bottling, labelling and packing myself. The challenging role

right now is in the strategic and operational development of the company. Priorities are in developing the production capacity and facilities. Equally, decisions need to be made on things like investment, distribution channels and possible staffing. A major sales drive is also required. All these things are challenging, can be daunting and consume a lot of energetic bandwidth. WHAT ARE THE BEST/WORST PARTS OF YOUR JOB? Simultaneously the best and worst parts by far are being in front of people when they taste the product for the first time. This typically happens at pitches to potential stockists and at market stands. With kombucha being a product of a souring process, it has a bit of an acquired taste. So not all reactions are good. But nothing is better than getting a good response. And some of the early feedback has been overwhelming. BRIEFLY OUTLINE A TYPICAL DAY. I’m not one for routines so I don’t think I naturally encourage a typical day. I tend to feel a bit oppressed by a routine and sort of rebel against it. So far I have done most of the product production outside of normal working hours, either in the evenings or at weekends.

WHAT IS THE BEST THING ABOUT BEING INVOLVED WITH THE LOCAL RETAIL INDUSTRY? I’m new to the retail sector. But one thing that has struck me about it is the energy and character of the people I meet who run small independent businesses. I see a common thread of steeliness and spark in so many people I meet now. Most who have worked hard to start small businesses and fight for them to keep them alive and thriving. As well as that I see some enormously talented people in the food industry. People who have a skill and a craft and are amazingly creative. And who are constantly trying to develop and hone their skills to serve their customers better. WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO TO UNWIND AWAY FROM WORK? I would like to say that I am a mountain biker. But it just doesn’t happen often enough anymore. I still do some form of exercise three or four times a week. Like most people, I also enjoy travelling and love holidaying with my wife and son. When I go on holiday, I love to check out the local agricultural and food cultures. TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT YOURSELF THAT NOT MANY PEOPLE MAY KNOW Part of me has dreams to do some extended adventure travelling like transcontinental bike touring. I don’t know if it will ever happen, but maybe saying it might make it more likely.


AIR AMBULANCE NI RECEIVES BOOST FROM SOFT DRINK GIANT 500ml bottles of Northern Ireland’s no.2 best-selling soft drink, Red Berry. The Red Berry 500ml bottle came about from the success of the Red Berry 49p 250ml can. Last year, Boost Red Berry experienced meteoric sales growth of 57% making it the number two soft drink in the convenience sector* and feedback from consumers and retailers highlighted there was demand for the flavour to be made available in a 500ml bottle. Boost found this feedback crucial and 500ml Red Berry bottles are now on Northern Ireland shelves priced at 79p. Boost Drinks was established in 2001, launching in Northern Ireland in 2003 and now owns the province’s top three selling soft drinks* within the local independent convenience channel. From left, Glenn O’Rorke, operational lead paramedic, HEMS; Gareth Hardy, HSMNI, Boost distributor in NI; Francine Matthews, Boost Energy; Kerry Anderson, head of Fundraising, AANI; Lucy Manby, Boost Energy; and Dr Rob Barclay.


oost Drinks has pledged to raise vital funds and provide essential support for life-saving charity Air Ambulance Northern Ireland (AANI) which, in partnership with Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS), provides the Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) for Northern Ireland. Leading soft drink company Boost has selected AANI as its chosen charity for this year and through a variety of fundraising events and initiatives is committed to raising funds and awareness for the service. Since its first deployment in July 2017, AANI has been tasked almost 800 times to serious or life-threatening situations throughout the province but, to sustain this invaluable service, the charity needs to raise £2m per year. As part of its support campaign through the year, Boost will be donating 5p from every sale of its newly-launched Boost Red Berry 500ml bottles to the AANI cause, as Boost Trade Marketing Manager Amy Ankrah explained. “We are incredibly proud and passionate about supporting AANI as it is a phenomenal and essential charity,” said Ankrah. “5p of the sales from every Red Berry bottle will be donated to AANI. We hope to raise a considerable amount of money for the charity that is tasked to serious 58

* Source: IRI Marketplace Data Symbols and Independents 52 weeks unit sales to 30th December 2018

and life-threatening situations every day. “We will be also supporting AANI in other ways which will mean helping out at fundraising events, donating cans and bottles of Boost and raising awareness of the charity to the general public,” she added. AANI brings urgent medical assistance to anywhere in the province, operating seven days a week for 12 hours per day. It can get to anywhere in Northern Ireland in approximately 25 minutes. The Doctor and Paramedic service benefits those whose lives are at serious risk following significant injury or trauma. Effectively the service brings emergency hospital care direct to the casualty. Kerry Anderson, head of Fundraising at AANI, said: “We are so pleased that Boost Drinks has chosen AANI as its charity partner. “Not only will this help to raise funds but offers a real opportunity to generate awareness and raise the profile of AANI, which is so important to us as such a young charity. “We are really looking forward to working with Boost this year on some very exciting events and initiatives,” she added. BERRY GOOD CAUSE

The 5p donation will run all year on 200,000 of the newly-launched

BUSINESS NEWS The new store will feature stunning views over Strangford Lough.




PAR Kircubbin, Stephen and Gillian Kelly with store managers Clare Gilliland and Danielle Crawford. owned by thirdgeneration retailer Stephen Kelly, has announced major 2019 expansion plans, including a new café incorporating the well established Golden Diner, featuring stunning views over Strangford Lough. The convenience store, which offers a range of services including Circle K fuel, National Lottery, Post Office and PayPoint, makes the announcement following a period of sustained growth, working alongside accountancy and advisory firm Baker Tilly Mooney Moore, which were appointed in 2018. Stephen said he was delighted with their plans for the future: “Our expansion will be a really exciting juncture for our local community and has come about, thanks in part, due to our excellent relationship with Baker Tilly Mooney Moore. Their team has made our accounting so much simpler and informative - which is always a benefit when working in a fastpaced industry like ours.” Baker Tilly Mooney Moore has been working with SPAR Kircubbin to streamline processes around their quarterly and annual accounts. Following years of accounts being completed manually, Stephen McConnell and his Business Services team advised SPAR Kircubbin to move from annual accounts to introduce Sage accounting software to give real time accounting data, essential to decision making. The team worked alongside the retailer to ensure a smooth transition, and are now also managing their payroll using Sage. The accountancy firm, which has been working with clients in Northern Ireland for over 90 years, offers a range of business services including audit and assurance, taxation services and consultancy services. The firm will host the Baker Tilly international conference in Belfast in May, bringing together a team of expert firms from all over the world. For more information on how working with Baker Tilly Mooney Moore could help you move your business to the next level, contact Stephen McConnell, business services partner at Baker Tilly Mooney Moore on 028 9032 3466, e-mail or find out more at 60

From left, Dan Loughlin, IRP Commerce; Mark Lilley, Groundswell; Lyndsey Doherty, Origin Digital; Kevin Traynor, founder of eComm Live; Jenny Ervine, Airpos; and Glyn Roberts, Retail NI.


orthern Ireland’s first dedicated ecommerce conference, eComm Live 2019, will be held at the Life Church in Belfast on May 2. Aimed at retailers, including both those already selling online and others keen to start, the event has been founded by entrepreneur and experienced digital marketing professional Kevin Traynor to provide a resource for the fast-growing number of businesses selling online in Northern Ireland. “The inaugural 2019 eComm Live Conference will be a celebration of excellence across the entire ecommerce industry in the UK & Ireland,” he said. “It will be NI’s first conference dedicated entirely to ecommerce professionals, entrepreneurs, product and platform providers, digital marketers and agencies – or anyone who wants to learn about selling online.” More than 200 ecommerce professionals are expected to attend eComm Live to hear nationally renowned speakers, such as Gemma Spence, CEO of Omnicom Media Group’s ecommerce division and NI ecommerce experts including IRP Commerce, Groundswell, Origin Digital and Airpos. The event is also supported by trade body Retail NI. For more information or to register for tickets, visit https://



uests are invited to dine with the logistics industry’s finest and celebrate another successful year for the sector by attending FTA’s Northern Ireland Logistics Lunch, to be held at the Merchant Hotel in Belfast on May 10. Guest speaker John Hartson, a renowned ex-professional footballer and respected BBC and BT Sport pundit, will be sharing an inspirational account of his struggles and victories on and off the pitch. A table of 10 places is available to book for £1,000, or individual places are priced at £125 per person. For more information or to book a place, please visit nilogistics19


Bronagh Clarke.



remium dried fruit, nuts and seeds snacking company Kestrel Foods has announced the recent strategic appointment of Bronagh Clarke as the firm’s new marketing director, who will sit on the senior leadership team as well as the company’s operating board. A dynamic marketeer, with 15 years FMCG experience, Clarke is responsible for the strategic direction of the marketing and sales departments and the development of the Forest Feast and Acti-Snack brands in domestic and international markets. “Bronagh has a wealth of strategic marketing knowledge and expertise with an impressive track record of building strong brands and commercial growth by combining insight and creative edge with sharp business acumen,” said Michael Hall, founder and CEO. “We’re delighted to have her on the senior team as we continue to focus on growth into new and emerging markets with innovative product development.” Clarke has moved from Kerry Group, where she most recently held a strategic marketing role across key brands including Cheestrings, Dairygold and Denny.



ondon-headquartered Ortus Secured Finance has announced the opening of a Belfast office and the appointment of ex-Bank of Ireland’s Shane Donnelly to lead its Northern Ireland operations. The property-lending specialist, which plans to create 10 local jobs in the next 12 to 18 months, has been active in Northern Ireland since 2014 and lays claim as one of the ‘first movers’ in terms of offering alternative finance in this sector. Managing Director Jon Salisbury says having a physical presence demonstrates the company’s confidence and commitment to the local market, and is the next logical

step in its growth. “Our experiences in Northern Ireland have been really positive,” he said. “We have huge respect for the business and professional community and believe there is significant untapped potential for specialist lenders like Ortus. We have spent time getting to know the market before taking the decision to open an office.” To date Ortus, which has located its new office in Arthur House, has issued loan offers, or agreements in principle, totalling more than £20m in Northern Ireland, relating to a wide range of assets including commercial property, residential investment property and land with planning.

From left, Shane Donnelly, director in NI and Jon Salisbury, managing director of Ortus.

SHELFLIFE To see your product featured in Shelf Life, contact Chris Keenan at or Tel: 028 9026 4267

NEW COFFEE BAG LAUNCH – SD BELL’S BLEND CONVENIENCE WITH CAFETIERE-STYLE QUALITY I n a world where we sometimes struggle to balance convenience with cost and the environment, every now and again a product comes along that hits the right note. SD Bell & Co, Ireland’s oldest independent Tea Blenders and Coffee Roasters is keeping ahead of the competition with the launch of its first ever coffee bag. The new SD Bell Coffee Bag produces a one-person cafetière-style coffee, brewed in the cup without the fuss. Each coffee bag has 10g of freshly roasted and ground Brazilian coffee and has been individually wrapped in a foil bag to maintain freshness. Barista Roast is the first in what the Bell’s hope to be an extensive range of flavours. For those who are environmentally conscious, the SD Bell’s coffee bags are made from fully compostable BioWeb; a material that means the entire spent coffee and bag can be disposed of in the brown bin. An excellent cup of coffee with minimal impact on the environment! SD Bell’s Managing Director Robert

Bell commented: “Whilst the initial product idea was to supply the hospitality sector, we are delighted with the response we have had to date among independent retailers, particularly delicatessens, farmshops and tourist shops. Producing a high-quality coffee has always been at the heart of our business; we have simply taken convenience up a notch. The single serving bag in foil packaging allows you to pop one in your handbag, take on holiday or keep in the office desk drawer.” This is a great example of how this fourth generation Belfast institution is committed to improving and expanding its coffee offerings while maintaining a sustainable environment for generations to come. SD Bell’s is Ireland’s oldest independent

tea merchant and coffee roaster. Established in Belfast in 1887, the firm continues to supply the finest teas and coffees from around the world.



ETTLE is launching an on-pack promotion this spring, giving away exciting experiences in partnership with Virgin Experience Days. KETTLE Chips single serve bags are a great way for retailers and the on-trade to add value by trading up consumers’ on-thego snacking, whether lunch times or as a treat for any occasion. The Real Food Experience promotion, which will run on over 20m single serve, price-marked packs and multipacks, will give shoppers even more reason to purchase KETTLE. When entering the competition, consumers will have the chance to win one of hundreds of real food experiences, including a Champagne reception for two, cookery classes and 62

wine tasting. To make sure there’s something for all, everyone that enters will receive a 20% discount code to be used on the Virgin Experience Days website, perfectly complementing the ‘treat’ mentality and occasion of snacking. “This on-pack promotion is value-adding for consumers, with great on-shelf stand out and a compelling, generous prize from a household brand - Virgin Experience Days,” said Sarah Beck, Kettle Foods channel manager. “In the impulse channel, we saw great results from our on-pack promotion last year and we’re confident this will see similar success.” Entries into the competition are open until the end of July, with discount codes valid until the end of September.





Q&A TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF I’m the commercial director at Glenisk, which means I head up the division responsible for sales, marketing, insight and innovation, corporate and social responsibility and customer care. That’s the HR bit but effectively my job is about keeping Glenisk customers happy and growing their number. I’m married to Aidan and mum to Bill (12) and Connie (10).


WHAT DOES A TYPICAL DAY INVOLVE? Many variations of tasting, talking, watching and listening. I try to spend as little time as possible in meetings and as much time as possible at the supermarket shelf or speaking with customers, where I always learn something new. My time is split mostly between working with my brilliant colleagues in sales and marketing but inevitably some part of my day will be spent thinking about new product development. We are always looking ahead. WHAT HAS BEEN THE HIGHLIGHT OF YOUR CAREER TO DATE? We’ve hit some milestones and the past year has had many highlights. Three of note are reaching #1 in Yogurt in ROI; partnering with Irish Rugby as the Official Yogurt of Irish Rugby and with Rory Best to create training camps for boys and girls in Belfast and Dublin; and finally, the very successful launch of our new GO20 High Protein Yogurt & Granola Pots. WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT YOUR JOB? Since I spend quite a bit of time in the yogurt aisles of supermarkets, it is always a thrill to witness a customer place one of our products in their basket. This simple act of faith has ripples far and wide, sustaining as it does, 50 small family farms across the island of Ireland, 75 jobs and counting, and a business mission devoted to producing healthy food, naturally. We never take our customers for granted. WHAT IS YOUR MOST DIFFICULT TASK? The same as every business – differentiating our brand, reaching overburdened consumers across diverse and constantly-changing platforms, with fewer resources than I’d ideally like. But I’m much more interested in the opportunities that we face. More than ever, customers are awake to the importance of real food produced by 66

people who care about our health, our kids, our planet, our farmers, the welfare of our animals - and our future. Some of our customers are hyper-focused on health in terms of protein, sugars and fat; others want to indulge. But in either case, they are tired of eating rubbish. They want real food, free from artificial nasties, that tastes good and is produced locally. It’s not easy to do but it is simple. WHAT IS THE BEST ADVICE YOU HAVE EVER RECEIVED? Tell the truth. Take risks. Own your mistakes. Be accountable. WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST GRIPE? I find it so hard to fathom that we import more than 75% of our yogurts to what I know is the best dairy-producing island in the world. On both a personal and professional level, I despair at how little is being done by the food industry to address the causes of childhood obesity. As food manufacturers, we have a responsibility to make it easier for parents to make healthy choices for their kids. Glenisk is proof that it can be done. WHAT TALENT WOULD YOU LIKE TO HAVE? Wings and time travel would be excellent. Failing that, some kind of Marie Kondo-like ability to take pleasure from housekeeping. But preferably the wings.

WHAT ARE YOUR FUTURE PLANS/ AMBITIONS? To bring Glenisk to a wider audience. There is a huge appetite across Europe and the Middle East for fresh and organic dairy products from farms across the island of Ireland. WHOM DO YOU MOST ADMIRE? Keira Ball, aged 9 from Devon, who donated her heart to Max Johnson, also 9, following her death in a car accident. A new law based around presumed consent for organ donation comes into effect next year in England and will be named for Keira and Max. The odds are already so heavily stacked against successful outcomes, we need a much, much larger pool of donors. WHERE IS YOUR FAVOURITE PLACE? Anywhere by the sea. I have good memories of Portstewart from my student days at UU. WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE FOOD PRODUCT? Eggs. After milk, they are nature’s most perfect food. HOW DO YOU RELAX? Usually by being asleep. Otherwise, with a full house replete with good food, good wine and good people.

Profile for Helen Wright

Ulster Grocer April 2019  

Ulster Grocer April 2019

Ulster Grocer April 2019  

Ulster Grocer April 2019