Page 1





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


20/01/2017 16:47

The Experts in new & used food processing equipment and packaging machinery


Henderson Food Machinery Ltd. Units 5, 6 & 7, Madines Site, 79 Downpatrick Road, Crossgar, Co. Down. BT30 9EH Telephone: +44 (0) 2890 994 202 Email: www:





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

NI consumers hit hardest by Brexit price hikes Fuel and food price rises mean bad news for NI families whose disposable income remains static


I consumers began the year with a stark warning from local economist John Simpson who predicts that rising petrol costs and increased price tags on imported foods will squeeze spending. This follows news that the cost of basic goods such as coffee, tea and chocolate could increase by as much as 15 per cent in stores across the UK - another aftershock from the Brexit vote last year. Mr Simpson said the UK’s imminent departure from the EU must take most of the blame. “A depreciated value of sterling by between 10 and 15 per cent was always going to be bad news,” he said. “Imported essentials are now causing consumer pain. Motoring costs are on the rise - but not only motoring. A big proportion of imported foods are from warmer climates and they arrive in the UK priced in currencies other than sterling. Now we are being asked to pay more.” He added: “All that points to a winter, spring and summer of discontent. And when inflation starts, it spreads.” While consumers are being hit with price rises news also came that household disposable income in NI remains static at £105 per week.

This latest figure is derived from Asda’s Income Tracker. What’s more disappointing for families in NI is the contrast across the water, where families continued to enjoy an average weekly disposable income of £202 per week. And despite having a lower disposable income, NI drivers are paying more per week on fuel compared to their UK counterparts; £28.90 and £19.90 respectively. Commenting on the report, Kay Neufeld, Economist, Cebr, said: “Rising inflation is clearly weighing on the growth in spending power now. Price increases in most product categories reduce the spending power of UK households. This is most clearly visible in the rising prices at the pump – annual price inflation for fuel stood at 10 per cent in December, the highest rate in nearly five years.” On a positive note, wages have increased due to less competition in the workforce according to Asda’s Income Tracker, which can be attributed to a lower UK unemployment rate however Kay anticipates “an increase in unemployment and lower wage growth are on the cards potentially putting a further dent in households’ spending power”.

Shop vacancy rates in Belfast at their lowest since 2011 BY MARGARET CANNING


elfast is in the midst of a retail boom with vacancy rates in its top shopping spots the lowest for five years, according to a report. Commercial property agents Lisney said the city had gone from one in 10 shops being empty in 2014 to just one in five lying vacant during 2016. And at one in 10, the vacancy rate was now the lowest since 2011, when it was 16.5 per cent. The fall has been driven by the arrival of a string of new retailers, from Danish chain Sostrene Grene to Spanish fashion shop Stradivarius. The sale of a unit at Sprucefield Park, let to Currys and PC World, to pension fund Aberdeen Asset Management also presented good news. In addition, new developments were planned, including Parker Green’s extension of The Quays in Newry, and work by Turkington Holdings on Laganbank in Lisburn.








Boyd’s Centra store, Antrim

Jason Winstanley on 2017 spending

The soft drinks market

The judge’s viewpoint





t is my pleasure to edit Ulster Grocer magazine while Alyson Magee takes a sabbatical. I’m no stranger to the grocery trade having grown up in a family with a strong history in independent retailing but the advancements made in this sector still continue to impress me. The local grocer has adapted dramatically to accommodate changing consumer behaviours and this enthusiasm for business development is why this sector will always be at the heart of any community. The growing mindfulness of shoppers is especially prevalent and although this is not so much a new trend it is one that will be reflected through a mass of new product developments in 2017. I plan to explore and present this trend to you as well as the issues and news affecting your industry. Enjoy the read and I look forward to working with you...

Volume 52, Number 2 February 2017 Editor: Emma Deighan E: Contributors: Michele Shirlow, Donald McFetridge, Jason Winstanley, Chloe Ormiston Sales Manager: Mark Beckett E: Senior Accounts Manager: Michelle Kearney E:

Emma Deighan

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 Tel: 028 9026 4267 Web: @ulstergrocer Subscriptions: £27.50 per month £37.50 outside UK Designed & Produced by: Independent News & Media Ltd Tel: 028 9026 4000 Printed by: W&G Baird, Antrim Tel: 028 9446 3911

Independent News & Media Ltd ©2017. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or stransmitted in any form, or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise without the prior permission of Independent News & Media Ltd.


Severe Spanish floods ‘worst disruption’ in Willowbrook’s history Weather crisis could cost firm up to £1m. BY RACHEL MARTIN


orthern Ireland pre-pack salad company Willowbrook Foods has said it could lose up to £1m as lettuce supplies were hit by extreme weather in Spain recently. John McCann, founder and managing director of Willowbrook Foods, spent a week braving floodwaters in Murcia, Spain to inspect the damage to his firm’s raw material supplies. The Willowbrook boss said that as a result, he could not fulfil orders of ready-to-use lettuce to the retail and food service industries. The crisis is set to hit the company’s sales, which last year reached £22m. Floods in southern Spain have hit the country’s crops, leaving around 80 per cent of the salad crops produced in Murcia unusable. And the worst snow in decades has hit the company’s other suppliers in Italy. “Looking to the future, assuming the weather does improve as the spring arrives, the problems have not gone away,” said John McCann. “A certain fact is that with three to four weeks of no planting at the end of December and January, there will be no crops maturing in March. “This will see a possible total stoppage. Maybe warm weather and growth compensate a little, but the growers and lettuce users are facing a period of no crops.” Murcia, in south east Spain, produces around 80 per cent of the salad mixes eaten in northern Europe and supplies vegetables to firms including Willowbrook Foods, which is based in Killinchy. The firm has warned customers and is sending daily updates on the situation. But the worst could be yet to come as growers have been unable to plant for almost four weeks. That will leave Willowbrook Foods and other customers with a lack of supply as there will be

nothing to harvest. Willowbrook Farm Foods said the situation is a ‘disaster’ and likely to continue for at least six to eight weeks. Mr McCann described the carnage wreaked on agricultural land in the area: “Floods washed away planted crops, fields became lakes and mud washed over the level fields which did have crops. Fields due to be planted became rivers of mud and planting had to stop.” He said lettuces were almost half their normal size, a deficiency likely to cost the firm £150,000. Extra labour required to wash mud carried by flood water off the vegetables is expected to cost a further £116,000 in the first quarter of the year. He said it was the ‘worst disruption’ in the company’s service he had ever seen since he started trading in 1968. “The hardest part is telling people and hoping that your reputation won’t be destroyed by this,” he said. “It’s hard in this day and age where things come back in stock within a few days - people don’t understand what you mean when you say the crop just isn’t there.” Mr McCann added that supplies from the USA or further afield could not plug the gap as crop production could not be sped up. And where available, emergency supplies could cost up to five times the normal price.


Tesco’s £3.7billion Booker deal will draw scrutiny from competitions regulator says retail analyst T

esco has bought over Booker, the UK’s largest food wholesaler and owner of the Londis and Budgens convenience brands, in a move which it says will create ‘the UK’s leading food business’. As well as providing benefits to consumers, the grocery giant said that independent retailers under Booker will also reap rewards but experts believe the ‘merger’ will face regulatory scrutiny from the Competitions and Markets Authority (CMA). Independent retail analyst Nick Bubb said: “The CMA will have a field day with this, as although Tesco is mainly a retailer in the UK and Booker a wholesaler, Tesco does own the One Stop convenience store chain that competes with Booker’s interest in symbol groups and convenience store retailing. “So it is by no means clear that the CMA will allow things to proceed very far without having a good look at the overlap.” But Tesco chief, Dave Lewis and Booker chief executive Charlie Wilson batted away suggestions of potential competition concerns. Mr Wilson said: “We think it is pro-competition; the CMA will go through what it does, but we’ve had good advice on this.”

Tesco and Booker chief executives Dave Lewis and Charlie Wilson

The deal values Booker at £3.7 billion, or 205.3p per share, a 12 per cent premium on Booker’s closing price of 183.1p on January 26. Booker shareholders will hold 16 per cent of the combined entity and will receive 42.6p in cash. Shareholders have been asked to approve the deal in a vote. Mr Lewis said the combination would result in total savings of £200 million, but stressed that it will ‘not be driven by a reduction in roles’. Mr Wilson - who will join the combined group’s board and executive committee as part of the deal - added that there is no intention for large-scale job cuts. Neil Shah, director of research at Edison Group, said the deal could help in the fight against Amazon and budget operators Aldi and Lidl. He said: “With Booker onside, Tesco will have smart first mover advantage in tying up the food supply chain in the brave new world of online shopping, with Amazon the main disrupter and a pricing race to the bottom within the core grocery stores market catalysed by Lidl and Aldi, all of which makes shopper loyalty increasingly fickle.” Alongside the deal, Tesco also announced plans to resume its dividend next year.

Greggs opens new store in West Belfast Twin Spires welcomes Greggs at part of redevelopment


n just ten months the UK’s largest bakery, Greggs, has opened eight stores in Northern Ireland and at the time of print it officially cut the ribbon for a new West Belfast store in Twin Spires. The new addition has created 12 jobs in the area where Greggs will offer its full range of products of baked goods, coffee, confectionary, salads, soups and sandwiches as well as its ‘Balanced Choice’ selection of healthier products. Twin Spires has undergone a redevelopment recently which saw it welcome a new Go Petrol forecourt which is still under completion. The complex is owned by The Ortus Group which was recently named Social Enterprise of the Year NI. Speaking about the new Greggs store, Noel Rooney, Ortus Property Executive said: “As an organisation committed to driving social and economic regeneration in West Belfast we’re delighted to welcome Greggs to the Twin Spires Complex. We believe it will bring many benefits to both the complex and the local community complementing the existing offering on site. With other projects progressing on site, we are looking forward to making more tenant announcements in the near future.” 5


Local businesses team up to create innovative pork product


wo Northern Irish artisan food processors have teamed up to develop an innovative pork product. Kennedy Bacon, which is based near Omagh, has linked up with Long Meadow Cider at Loughgall to

Kennedy Bacon Long Meadow Cider

produce a dry-cured ham cooked in craft cider. Mervyn Kennedy, founder and managing director of Kennedy Bacon, a small farm-based business that has won UK Great Taste Awards, said: “We’ve been looking at a number of products that will help set us apart in what is very competitive marketplaces in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.” Long Meadow Cider is among the most successful cider processors in Northern Ireland. The business is based on an apple farm at the heart of the region’s ‘Orchard County’. Cider is now among the most dynamic and successful categories in Northern Ireland’s burgeoning artisan food and drink sector. Long Meadow has developed sales outside Northern Ireland including France.

an unrivalled portfolio of grocery & impulse brands

Island of Ireland Total Market Coverage

Experienced, Professional & Dynamic Team

t: 028 9267 3316

Building Brands with Passion 6

Free’ist to carry Sugarwise marque F

ree’ist, the Northern Ireland-based specialist in ‘free-from’ foods, is the first snack company in Ireland to join Sugarwise, the organisation that promotes low sugar products. The company, which is based in Belfast, has developed a portfolio of sugar-free/ no added sugar snacks, will now use the Sugarwise Kitemark certification in its packaging. Announcing the support for Sugarwise, Gerard McAdorey, the founder and managing director of Free’ist, says: “The decision to join Sugarwise is a further demonstration of our commitment to products which are free from sugar. Our products were rigorously tested to ensure they met the Sugarwise requirements for certification. “This means that consumers can be assured that our products are fully certified as sugar free/low in sugar.” The Sugarwise standard has been developed with the help of Cambridge University and Caltech scientists and is in line with World Health Organisation guidelines on sugar. The standards include ensuring free sugars in foods are calculated and expressed as a percentage of total energy intake, and that they are at or below the five per cent level to qualify for the Sugarwise marque, or that the total sugars in foods or drinks are low.

Northern Ireland’s Pizzado wins first business with Ocado P

izzado, the Northern Irish producer of frozen pizza kits, has won business for its products from Ocado, the leading UK on-line retailer. Based in Portaferry, county Down, Pizzado is now supplying Ocado with its Pizzado Cheese (RRP £5), Pizzado Pepperoni (RRP £5.49) and Pizzado Gluten Free Cheese (RRP £6). Established in 2013 by Karen Boyd, an experienced pizza retailer, Pizzado is now developing significant business in Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland. The Ocado deal is the small producer’s most significant business to date in Britain. Mrs Boyd, commenting on the Ocado contract, says: “The deal gives me a strong foothold in what is clearly a huge marketplace for my range of pizza packs. There’s tremendous interest developing in my unique DIY pizza packs.” Virtually all the Pizzado ingredients – flour and medium fat mozzarella cheese - are sourced from Northern Ireland suppliers. The frozen pizzas are gluten-free and available in cheese and tomato, pepperoni and garlic bread flavours. They are also low in sugar and have half the salt of other pizzas currently on the market. Tesco was among the first retailers in Ireland to place an order.


Willowbrook Foods wins major flight catering contract


Key shopper trends emerge in 2017’s top products

illowbrook Foods has won a contract to develop, produce and supply a range of deli-style salads to Alpha Catering, one of the world’s leading flight caterers. The Killinchy, county Down business is providing almost 70 deli salads for Alpha Catering in London. The salads were developed by the new product development team at Willowbrook’s dedicated Innovation Centre in association with Alpha chefs for in-flight meals supplied to major international airlines. John McCann, founder and managing director of Willowbrook Foods said: “Winning this significant business from such a prestigious and quality focused customer as Alpha Catering is a marvellous boost for us and especially for the expert team in our Innovation Centre. “Alpha tasked us to come up with 68 authentic deli salads for airline meals that offered outstanding taste in July. We pulled out all the stops and developed a close relationship with Alpha’s chefs which enabled us to deliver innovative salads by August and to secure the hugely important business.”


his year’s Product of the Year winners follow a theme; mindful consumption – a trend that is set to continue for quite some time. The Product of the Year event was held at the Sheraton Grand on Park Lane recently when it was attended by some of the biggest players in manufacturing. The winners on the evening were based on collating information from a survey of more than 11,600 people. The findings nodded to a persuasion for health-focused foods and FMCG products. Among the winners demonstrating this explosive trend in sales for mindful foods included; Tetley’s Super Everyday Tea, antioxidant-packed Sparkling Ice, Weetabix Protein, Flora’s 100 per cent plant-based Freedom Diary Free Spread among other key brands homing in on nutritionally moral products. Mike Nolan, CEO of Product of the Year, said that quality remains at the core of consumer demands but an influx of product launches means differentiation is key to standing out. Eve Dixon, Managing Director of FMCG & Retail, at Kantar TNS UK, which carried out the research for the event added: “The most successful products are those that engage shoppers on an emotional level such as; low-fat alternatives, products that aim to actively combat the UK’s waste management issues and those that have time-saving multi-functionality - much like the winners across the personal care sector. These ‘USPs’ or points of difference help consumers navigate the complexity of choice we see in today’s supermarkets, by speaking to them as consumers, but also as people coping with life’s stresses and strains.”

SPAR Shandon of County Antrim




retail triumph Brian McCalden reports on the first six months of operation of the latest addition to the Boyd family’s grocery operations – Centra at Junction One in Antrim.


tarting out from humble beginnings in a small petrol station in rural Toomebridge in the 1960s, a rapidly developing grocery retailing business has since evolved for the Boyd family. From that first wee shop – selling little more than oil and car spares to complement the petrol forecourt - the latest phase is a new grocery business and petrol forecourt in the expanding Junction One Centra, in Antrim. Gerard Boyd who runs the newly opened Centra with his brother Frank as the manager relates how his grandad, Cathal Boyd went from building chapels across Ireland as a clerk of works to the forecourt trade. “In those days, forecourts were just that – petrol and diesel and some accessories – with little or no groceries,” said Gerard. “However, he saw potential and took the opportunity in Toome when it came up and the rest is history.” It is a far cry from those early days to the 2,600 sq. ft. shop in Antrim that now operates a lucrative 8

trade adjacent to the self-contained Nicholl Fuels 24/7 self-service forecourt. The two islands with eight units that include diesel and red diesel alongside the usual unleaded operate without the need to provide a cash desk – as it is a ‘pay at the pump’ operation. Gerard’s team of 25 full and part time staff continue to make the most of the £300,000 investment in the store by trading at the (proably) less lucrative fuel facility. “Thanks to Musgrave and First Trust Bank, we have been able to invest in what had been a closed facility, and inside six months of operation, bring it to the stage where we are hugely exceeding our targets in the original business plan,” he added. There’s much more to come too as the large edge of town Junction One shopping centre is about to grow even more with a further £30 million development set to commence soon. This business is run by the Boyds in conjunction with two other forecourts in Toomebridge, one of which is under the Mace brand.

“Trolley shoppers mostly go to the supermarkets while we are prefectly set up for the convenience shopper. “Both Nigel Maxwell and Barry Holland from Musgrave were superb in their support for the store with their professional advice and hands-on guidance as we took on the task of rebuilding trade lost for a full 18 months since the previous site operator. “Musgrave is second to none,” he said, adding that he wouldn’t partner with any of the other wholesalers. “My dad – also Cathal like his father, who founded the business originally, caught the retailing bug and now most of the family are involved in running the three stores including Michael, my brother too. “I myself adapted to it, having been a welder by trade, only moving into the grocery and forecourt trade later – but being able to turn your hand to almost anything is very beneficial in getting things done. “There are now 56 staff across the three locations, with Antrim being the fastest growing for now,” he said. It is open seven days a week, 6am to 11pm daily and 7am to 11pm on Sundays, with some surprising successes. Convenience food to go is a hugely successful factor, with a very attractive £2 deal for a five piece fry – with tea or coffee – (before 11am) really bringing in trade. Two coffee machines are on the go virtually nonstop and they have identified a lucrative business in cooked meals to go (or sit in) with hundreds of Sunday dinners at under £5 flying out of the shop every week from the hot food bar.


Gerard said: “Christmas was especially good with the turkey and ham proving a traditional favourite among our expanding customer base. “Gourmet sandwiches, cold salads and a range of Mexican-style Burritos are also a hit among customers as well.” The shop also offers coal, logs and heating oil to take away and the Pay Point and Lottery are draws too as well as the standards of newspapers and milk and bread and other necessities. The Danske Bank ATM is also seen as a very important service – and of course the ‘neverclosed’ petrol means it is a local essential for passing trade and local people alike. The site was empty for a long time so trade had to be won back – and it was anticipated this might be a slow process. In fact business took off much faster than

expected once the full Centra branded fit out was achieved in September last year – business targets were already broken by the New Year. It is certainly a long way from when Cathal Boyd took the chance of moving from construction to retail trade back some 60 years ago, but it all developed from that single petrol pump-based business. Now a fresh chapter in the story is being written and the whole Boyd family is involved in making it an even greater success than it is already. • Watch this space for next year’s crop of awards, as the various competition judges would be hard-pressed to find a better example of a successful and forward-looking grocery/forecourt retailer than at Centra Junction One.



Costcutter unveils ‘shopper first’ pilot store Ron and Yvonne Ford Toast New Costcutter Store


ostcutter Supermarkets Group opened its first pilot store as part of the rollout of its Shopper First programme to drive retailer sales growth. Having carried out the most in-depth study of shoppers in Costcutter Supermarkets Group’s 30year history, the Shopper First programme brings together new brand and store design, store-level

shopper insights and sales driving range initiatives. These have been applied for the first time within the pilot store. Located in the South Yorkshire village of Darfield, the 2800 sq.ft new build store is owned by long-standing Costcutter retailers Ron and Yvonne Ford and is the first store to feature the new

Costcutter brand look and strapline: ‘Shop the way You Live’. Further pilot stores will be opened by the end of March. Commenting on the new store, Costcutter Supermarkets Group Customer Director, Jenny Wilson, said: “Unveiling the Shopper First programme was the most important announcement in our 30-year history and opening the first pilot store just three months later is a significant milestone. The all-new Costcutter brand and store design has been created to connect with shoppers, stand out from the crowd and transform the in-store experience and this new Costcutter store marks a step change in convenience retailing.” Ron Ford, owner of the new Costcutter store in Darfield, said: “The new Costcutter brand is a really attractive and exciting proposition that will transform our ability to connect with shoppers and drive footfall into our store. As a new build store, the shopper insights have been crucial and I am confident that we have created a store that will engage with the local community and deliver their everyday shopping needs.” Ron and Yvonne own four Costcutter stores in the Barnsley area and recently signed a new five year contract with Costcutter Supermarkets Group for all of their stores.

Henderson’s coffee brand is Northern Ireland’s biggest retail brew A

coffee business owned by Henderson Foodservice Ltd is now the biggest retail coffee brand in Northern Ireland after an investment of £3m, the company has said. Henderson said Barista Bar Coffee was now on sale in 260 sites across its Spar, Eurospar and Vivo network of convenience stores. And the company said it planned to bring the brand, which is exclusive to its network, to another 70 of its sites. The brand grew from 30 machines to 260 during last year. Three million pounds has been spent on the brand, and Henderson proposed a further investment of £1m before the end of 2017. Ronan Gourley, Business development director Mark Stewart-Maunder said: National Sales Manager “The easy to use machines, the consistency in every cup and Ireland, UCC Coffee; David Bucklee, store availability in virtually every town and city in Northern Ireland, manager at Milltown means that you no longer have to visit a coffee shop to enjoy a Spar, Ballymoney and Mark Stewart-Maunder, truly fantastic cup of coffee. Business Development Director with Henderson “Investment in this brand has reached over £3m to date and Foodservice Ltd we will continue to invest heavily to bring the brand to even more customers throughout 2017.” David Bucklee, manager of Spar in Milltown, Ballymena, said: “We are delighted to have the Barista Bar installed in store and pleased to be able to offer our customers what we believe to be a truly great cup of coffee. “At Milltown SPAR we understand that the needs of our customers are growing and evolving, convenience is becoming increasingly important to them so we are always trying to deliver more great services and expect the Barista Bar to be very popular with our customers.” The first Barista Bar site opened in March 2015 and it is hoped that the 300th site will be installed before March 2017.



Husband and wife open NI’s first cheese shop with ‘gallery’


wo county Down cheesemakers are giving their customers a bit of an eyeful when they visit their Ballywalter store, Angelique’s Pantry. It’s the first of its kind here where customers can witness every step of the production process to see exactly how the couple craft their cheeses. Christo Swanepoel, a south African-born chef and his wife, Angelique say education was a central part of the business which stemmed from an educational project for their children. The couple began selling cheese two and a half years ago but opened their innovative store just before Christmas. “We always said that when we moved to Ballywalter that we wanted to open something educational,” said Chris. “Since the whole thing started off as a home school project we always wanted to bring it back to education,” he added. “The viewing area was actually our environmental health officer’s suggestion. He said, ‘why don’t you just put your kitchen there and put a window in - that way you’re preventing people from crossing your clean lines but they can see everything’. “It means anyone can see how the cheese is made and you’ll not need to put on a white suit, hair net

and shoe covers to see what’s going on.” The company makes three cheeses on site, including Pitjes Kaas, Angelique and Young Culmore - a nod to the farm where the milk used for the cheese is made. All three cheeses are made using unpasteurised milk from Culmore Organic Farm in Kilrea, Co Londonderry, before they are matured for three months. It also sells items made by other small-scale food producers such as Made With Love xo and Passion Preserved. The Pantry has been open less than a month, but the couple have been working intensively behind the scenes to make enough cheese to stock its shelves. Christo who previously worked in a five star a la carte restaurant in Pretoria and other venues in England, Azerbaijan, Equatorial Guinea and Kazakhstan said he first learned how to make cheese on a placement as part of his apprenticeship as a young chef starting out in South Africa. His creamery has the capacity to mature up to 1,800kg of cheese at any one time - a waiting process that he says is unheard of in the heat of his former kitchen career.

Christo and Angelique aren’t the only innovative cheese makers in Northern Ireland. Mike Thomson of Mike’s Fancy Cheese in Newtownards also operates beer and cheese nights in a bid to educate its customers about food origins. Mike buys the milk he uses from Bangor farming brothers Nicholas and Smyth McCann collecting around 900 litres three times a week. He is part of a group of raw milk cheese producers featuring nine others from across Ireland. His best-known product is Young Buck, a raw milk blue cheese. As part of this he also includes cheeses from other producers in the beer and cheese nights - as well as beers from Belfast co-operative Boundary Brewing.

Cunningham Butchers crowned ‘best in Ireland’ BY MARGARET CANNING


family-run butchers in Co Down has been crowned the best on the island of Ireland at a major industry ceremony. Cunningham Butchers, which is close to celebrating its 100th anniversary in Kilkeel, won the top gong at the recent Butchery Excellence Ireland Annual Awards. The fourth-generation firm employs over 50 people and recently renovated its premises - opening a new bistro and fresh food hall. The butchery is one of only a handful of stores with a Himalayan salt chamber for dry-ageing beef. The company also offers customers over 1,000 different products all sourced from the family’s farm or bought from farmers and suppliers. The judges applauded Cunningham’s commitment to industry-leading

standard. Chef judge Sean Owens said: “This butchers is simply a cut above the rest and has class written all over it. “Their shop is a shining example of how a modern Irish butcher shop should operate - it is a great retailing outlet.” The company has grown from employing just three people in 2010, and has experienced growth over each of the last six years. Its recent expansion was supported by First Trust Bank. Speaking last September, owner James Cunningham - the fourth generation of his family to run the business - said: “Northern Ireland’s agri-food industry is thriving, and this is partly down to the innovative mindset of local food businesses that are ready to jump to the challenge and modernise their operations in response to market demands. “Our own expansion meets a growing need for products that don’t compromise on taste or quality, including those of health conscious consumers. “Thankfully, our reputation for preparing food in a traditional way but with a modern twist has grown over the years.” The business also broadened its range to include low fat and glutenfree ready meals. Next year, Butchery Excellence Ireland will host the World Butchers’ Challenge in Belfast - the first time the event has ever come to the island of Ireland. The World Butchers’ Challenge will be taking place during IFEX 2018 at the Titanic Exhibition Centre, Belfast, with a gala awards event planned for Titanic Belfast. The event is expected to attract 250 butchers from around the world.



Daily Bake Managing Director of Daily Bake, Johnny Stinson, talks humble beginnings to working with the domestic export market thanks to Hendersons WHO ARE YOU? Daily Bake has been serving up tasty, nutritious ‘home from home’ food across the UK and Ireland for a quarter of a century, using the wealth of delicious produce on our Armagh doorstep. We are a small family business who started in 1988 from our kitchen at home, employing just two people. My sister and I peeled apples when we got home from school. It has now developed into a large business with forty employees. We’re passionate about food quality and provenance and are committed to using the freshest, locally sourced ingredients in our traditional family recipes. WHEN DID YOU BEGIN SUPPLYING TO THE HENDERSON GROUP, AND HOW DID THE BUSINESS RELATIONSHIP BEGIN? In 2005. The Henderson Group provided a platform for us to expand by supplying hundreds of SPAR stores; offering us this widespread distribution opportunity allowed us to reach into every household in Northern Ireland. Daily Bake have been supplying SPAR and EUROSPAR stores with wholesome home cooked pies, tarts, and Convenience Ready meals for almost three decades through our van sales operation, but our recent focus has been developing and growing the business through the groups distribution centre, allowing Daily Bake to be available in over 400 stores across Northern Ireland. WHICH PRODUCTS ARE PERFORMING BEST? Our Irish Beef in Peppercorn, Chicken and Chorizo pasta with a selection of chargrilled. We are very proud to be a supply partner for several SPAR branded lines including Savoury Pies, Roast Dinners and more recently the Specially Crafted 12

range. The Irish Beef Silverside in Peppercorn Sauce from the Specially Crafted range is a big hit with customers and has become a top seller alongside the traditional dinners. HOW DO YOU GO ABOUT DECIDING WHICH PRODUCTS TO SUPPLY? We have a great New Product Development department that constantly creates lots of new ideas for the buying team at the Henderson Group. We follow any market trends and are always researching recipe books to find products that suit the Northern Irish palate. Our family are often inspired by dishes we have enjoyed and this is transferred back to our NPD team. HAS THE CONTRACT OPENED UP YOUR BUSINESS TO NEW MARKETS? WHAT SORT OF IMPACT HAS IT HAD ON YOUR SALES? It has opened up our ability to develop sales in the UK and ROI. The SPAR contract has helped to launch our products in NI and we feel that these export markets offer huge potential for a similar range and so our sales have increased in these areas which we are really pleased about. Working closely with Steven Kennedy and Jane Pyper in the fresh department, Daily Bake far exceeded the projected growth of 75% from 2014 to 2015, with an actual growth of 162%. Steven’s ideas and Jane’s NPD knowledge has helped us to hit the shelf with some fantastic new products. The new Specially Crafted range is projected to continue to grow a further 67% this year. Performance level is a priority for us and even with this growth we have managed to maintain a 99% service level – something we are exceptionally proud of. DO YOU HAVE ANY PLANS TO

INTRODUCE MORE NEW LINES THIS YEAR? The expansion of our exciting range of cheesecakes has been something we have been working tirelessly on lately. In addition to the Raspberry and White Chocolate Cheesecake, we are currently developing the Salted Caramel Cheesecake. In the coming year we look forward to developing the SPAR Enjoy Local whilst further developing more products under the Enjoy Local brand, including pulled Irish beef with mash and beef bourguignon and creamy mash. We are also currently finalising a new range of products based on Asian takeaway food, as we continue to stay aware of market trends and deliver exciting new foods for our customers. ARE THERE ANY SPECIFIC CHALLENGES ASSOCIATED WITH SUPPLYING TO THE WIDER RETAIL SECTOR, AND HOW HAVE YOU OVERCOME THESE? Quality has always been our biggest objective regardless of the size of the customer order. Of course the challenge becomes greater as the market grows but we strive to achieve the highest quality in every sense and that’s something that will never change. Our contract with The Henderson Group has meant that we face challenges that come in conjunction with the high level of growth but we thrive on these. HAS THE HENDERSON GROUP CONTRACT GIVEN YOU ANY SPECIFIC INSIGHT INTO THE WIDER RETAIL MARKET, OR HELPED YOU IDENTIFY NEW OPPORTUNITIES? We continue to develop many new products and ideas for the buying team at Henderson Wholesale, leading the way with new market trends, inspired by world cuisines and local palates.


The Brunch Box signs up to Tesco NI

Pictured are Colin Coey, operations manager of Brunch Box and Caoimhe Mannion, marketing manager of Tesco NI.


ward-winning salad and sandwich producer The Brunch Box has produced a new premium prepared salad range for Tesco Northern Ireland, in a deal worth £500,000 - representing a 900 per cent increase in its business with the retailer. The Brunch Box produces ‘food to go’ products such as pre-packed sandwiches, wraps, salads and ready meals to retail and food service customers. The new prepared salad range is part of The Brunch

Box’s commitment to growing the business with continued investment into the company and represents a 900% increase in its annual business with Tesco Northern Ireland. The commitment from Tesco Northern Ireland allows The Brunch Box to employ five additional staff, bringing the employee total to 130 people at its state-of-the-art facility in Dundonald, Co Down. The new range introduces four prepared salads to Tesco deli counters, including premium coleslaw, French style pasta salad, sweet chilli and cranberry coleslaw, and potato salad. The Brunch Box, established in 1994, has been supplying Tesco Northern Ireland with premium ready-made sandwiches since 2012. “After four years and countless sandwiches later, our relationship with Tesco Northern Ireland has gone from strength to strength,” said John Weatherup, manager director of The Brunch Box. “We share Tesco’s passion for supporting local suppliers and we use local ingredients in our products wherever possible, using rich sauces,

New Home Bargains superstore at Connswater BY JOHN MULGREW


revamp of Connswater Retail Park in east Belfast will see 65 jobs created as part of a new £1m Home Bargains superstore. But it means an existing Harry Corry outlet will shut its doors as early as March as the new business moves in. Home Bargains will take over the Harry Corry unit, which will be merged with premises currently occupied by Lidl. The German discounter is moving to a larger unit at the retail park. It’s understood Harry Corry staff will be redeployed elsewhere and that the company is in talks about finding a new location. Connswater Shopping Centre, located beside the retail park, is also selling one of its major

units, which includes part of the former Tesco store left behind when the supermarket pulled out last year. Retail experts highlighted their concerns over Connswater following the closure of Dunnes Stores in February and Tesco in April. The new tenant makes it increasingly unlikely Connswater will attract another big grocery retailer to the centre in the near future. Plans submitted to Belfast City Council detail the amalgamation of two retail units, including a change of use for the new Home Bargains store. A planning statement on behalf of Connswater says: “The introduction of a Home Bargains at this location will clearly complement the existing facilities and stem any leakage for this type of retail offer.”

Sainsburys in pilot scheme to encourage higher vegetable and less meat consumption


xford academics have teamed up with supermarkets to persuade consumers to eat less meat and more veg. Part of a £5m Wellcome Trust programme ‘Our Planet, our Health’, the scheme was launched late last month using a proposal of aisle redesigns; placing vegetarian alternatives on the same shelves as meat products, voucher and point incentives as well as placing informative literature around stores outlining how shoppers can eat less meat. Sainsbury’s said a range of its outlets – from local stores to its superstores and its online

shopping service – would be used in trials. The move to take specific steps to get people to eat more vegetarian food comes in the wake of a study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in the US last year, which concluded that eating less meat could reduce global mortality by six to 10 per cent and cut greenhouse gas emissions by 30-70 per cent. “The food system is responsible for more than a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions, of which up to 80 per cent are associated with livestock production,” say the authors, who were led by Oxford researcher Marco Springmann.

mayonnaise and dressings as key ingredients. “Following direct feedback from customers, the buying team in Tesco Northern Ireland worked closely with us to develop a prepared salad range for the deli counter specifically with the Northern Irish palate in mind. Our relationship with Tesco NI has given us the opportunity to expand our product lines and given us the confidence to invest a further £100k in our business, allowing us to meet the everchanging needs of our customers.” Sandra Weir, fresh food buyer at Tesco Northern Ireland, said: “This new prepared salad range from The Brunch Box has been created in response to the growing trend towards healthy, ‘grab-and-go’ fare which has been steadily increasing for some time. The Brunch Box has already proven it can consistently deliver an excellent product at a good value price point so we are really excited to have its new prepared salad range in Tesco deli counters across Northern Ireland – we know our customers will love it.”

M&S jumps on the vegan bandwagon


uxury supermarket M&S launched two new vegan sandwiches to its sandwich range in a bid to encourage people to give up meat as part of the ‘Veganuary’ drive by The Venganuary charity. The new Super Green Sandwich (£2.60) and the Rainbow Veg Sandwich (£2.50) use ingredients like minted pea on a chia and linseed bread and roasted vegetables and avocado with pumpkin seeds on a red pepper bread respectively. The news follows the success of Pret a Manger’s 15 vegetarian and vegan options which it added to its menu at the beginning of this year.



Coach McGuigan among top experts in Centra drive The world-famous boxing coach is one of four on Centra’s Live Well programme panel…

Michael McCormack, Managing Director, Musgrave NI with Centra Live Well ambassadors, Jane McClenaghan (nutrition); Bridgeen Rea (mindfulness) and Johnny Davis (RunTogether) (Picture by Kelvin Boyes, Press Eye)


eading convenience retailer Centra has teamed up with Carl Frampton’s award-winning and highly respected coach, Shane McGuigan, along with a top team of Ambassadors, to help inspire the people of Northern Ireland to Live Well Every Day. Centra’s ‘Live Well’ strategy, which forms an integral part of the brand’s new ‘Live Every Day’ campaign represents an investment of £1 million and has been designed to address serious health issues in today’s society. Currently 60 per cent of the adult population are overweight and obese, whilst 28 per cent of adults do less than 30 minutes of physical activity per week and one in five showed signs of a possible mental health problem according to the Health Survey for Northern Ireland. This campaign aims to educate and inspire consumers to make healthier choices and encourage communities across Northern Ireland get active. McGuigan, the youngest son of former world boxing champion Barry, is a top signing to a roster of four Ambassadors spanning nutrition, fitness and mindfulness. The 28-year-old will be creating a fitness plan and tips for Centra’s customers, housed on the Centra NI Facebook page. Joining McGuigan in the Centra ‘Live Well’ team, Centra Nutritionist, Jane McClenaghan will build on her work with the brand in 2016, designing a programme of healthy recipes and 14

nutrition. With mental health very much on the agenda, Bridgeen Rea is Centra’s Mindfulness Ambassador. Bridgeen is a qualified Mindfulness Meditation and yoga teacher and a wellness expert. She is the only person in Northern Ireland to have a Masters in Mindfulness Based Approaches and will design a 10-week course, which will guide people through key tips on how to manage busy lives and associated stress and anxiety, including the importance of a regular digital detox. Completing the four-strong team, two time Olympian and Commonwealth Games champion, Johnny Davis, has been revealed as Centra’s Run Together Ambassador. In 2016, Centra launched Run Together - a new running initiative that encourages people to get out and run in pairs, hosting a series of four events in Belfast, Antrim and Derry/Londonderry. The programme will expand in 2017, with running events coming to new locations in Tyrone and Fermanagh, driven forward under Johnny’s expert eye. Alongside the Ambassador programme, Centra customers will see real and effective change in-store with over 200 new healthy lines introduced across a number of key areas. These include Healthy Hydration, Healthy Snacking, Health & Wellbeing and Chilled Convenience. Shane McGuigan said: “I am very proud to be Centra’s Fitness Ambassador for 2017. For the next

12 months, we are going to work together to help get the people of Northern Ireland moving. “I started getting into fitness and nutrition when I was 13 years of age, when I started putting on a little bit of weight and started to get a little bit self-conscious and felt like I needed to do something about it. I took up running and boxing to get my weight down, and a long time after that, at 28 years of age - now 15 years later - I am in the fitness industry training the likes of Carl Frampton, George Groves, David Haye, Josh Taylor - all big names in boxing,” he continued. “Boxing is one of the toughest sports when it comes to fitness. It’s got both of the energy systems, the aerobic system and the anaerobic system. I am really excited to be part of the Centra Live Well campaign, getting the people of Northern Ireland up on their feet and healthy. Your health is so important you have to look after yourself; you only get one body and one life,” Shane added. Commenting on the launch of Centra’s new brand repositioning and ‘Live Well’ campaign, Michael McCormack, Managing Director, Musgrave NI said: “Over the past few years, we have been on a journey of discovery with the Centra brand; we have taken the time to listen and learn from our customers and understand their needs. “Customers today don’t want convenience at any cost. Consumers are increasingly health conscious and as a convenience retail brand, we’re committed to helping our customers make better and healthier choices. This has been the driving force behind our store refresh programme, as well as the introduction of healthier product ranges across our stores. “Our new strapline is Live Every Day. It’s all about living in the moment and seizing the day. Our Live Well Ambassador programme which we launched today is a key part of this. Centra and its team of ambassadors will lead Northern Ireland towards a healthy ‘mind, body & soul’ through giving them the advice, knowledge and tools to help them make healthier choices, get active and achieve balance in their life,” he added.



My Life in the Grocery Trade Ross Irwin, General Manager, Howell House BRIEFLY OUTLINE YOUR EMPLOYMENT HISTORY TO DATE. From a young age, I have been actively involved in my family’s plant bakery business, Irwin’s Bakery. Before taking on a permanent role in the company, I studied at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh then moved back to Northern Ireland to work for an engineering company. I returned to the family business in 2011 and spent a year getting handson experience in the day-to-day operations of the bakery. I have had various roles at Irwin’s and in October 2015 was appointed General Manager of Howell House, Irwin’s cake and biscuit division in Saintfield.

with different departments, including NPD, marketing and purchasing. I am also responsible for making sure production runs smoothly and all of our deadlines are met.

WHAT DOES YOUR ROLE INVOLVE? As General Manager, I am responsible for the overall site operations at Howell House, whether that’s production, sales or despatch. I am responsible for 30 great members of staff who work with me to ensure that any product that leaves our site is produced to the highest possible standard.

WHAT IS THE BEST THING ABOUT BEING INVOLVED WITH THE LOCAL RETAIL INDUSTRY? As a part of Northern Ireland’s agri-food industry, I have learned that Northern Ireland people really understand that the best food is made here. Our Howell’s products, for example, are made by local people in Saintfield and I know that’s one of the reasons shoppers and retailers continue to support and buy into the brand.

WHAT ARE THE BEST AND WORST PARTS OF YOUR JOB? My favourite thing about my job is the people I work with every day. I especially love launching new products with our team and watching sales grow, knowing that our hard work has paid off. One of the challenges of being General Manager is that I am the go-to person when issues arise which can change the course of a day. However, we’re a super team and know how to work together to find a solution. BRIEFLY OUTLINE A TYPICAL DAY. No one day is ever the same! I am often in meetings

WHAT HAS BEEN THE PROUDEST MOMENT OF YOUR CAREER? My recent appointment as General Manager of Howell House was a very proud moment. It also gave me a great sense of achievement to work full-time alongside my father and uncle as the fourth generation of ‘Irwin’ in the business. It was a moment that made me feel incredibly proud and it still does.

WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO TO UNWIND FROM WORK? I have a keen interest in boating. When the weather is good, I like to spend a lot of time on the water in Fermanagh and Donegal with friends and family. TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT YOURSELF THAT NOT MANY PEOPLE KNOW. As an Irwin, I obviously love bread, but I don’t always eat my crusts!


Driving the success of local food ahead BY MICHELE SHIRLOW, CHIEF EXECUTIVE, FOOD NI


t’s hard to believe that it’s February already and our work to carry forward Year of Food and Drink 2016 is well into another year. It’s now accepted that the year was a resounding success and that awareness among local shoppers and visitors from overseas about our outstanding food and drink is greater ever now than ever before. The challenge we are now addressing at Food NI is how best to build on the very many achievements of the year in 2017 and well beyond. We are discussing various initiatives with our colleagues in Tourism NI and Tourism Ireland, Invest NI, DAERA local councils and other bodies. Tourism NI and Tourism Ireland have both now positioned food and drink at the heart of the campaign to grow tourism revenue to £1 billion by 2020. This target is well within reach based on last year’s growth in visitor spending to almost £700 million. Tourists spent a hugely impressive £2.4 million a day here, spending which contributed to food and drink products and disposable income for the purchase of such products by local consumers. Both tourism bodies embraced the Year of Food and Drink enthusiastically and ensured it became the resounding success it was. The campaign, as measured by Tourism NI, generated publicity worth £41 million in key magazines and newspapers especially in the strategically important British and Irish markets, promotional activity which also influenced decisions to visit here. We’ve also been encouraged by major retailers continuing to pledge their ongoing support for local suppliers. Many smaller producers are benefiting enormously from contacts developed with key buyers, in the Republic and Great Britain, still our two most important markets. A number of these companies have won first time business in these markets for their products. We will continue to work with them in creating opportunities for other smaller suppliers. The £41 million promotional boost in magazines 18

“The challenge we are now addressing at Food NI is how best to build on the very many achievements of the year in 2017 and beyond”

and newspapers achieved by the tourism bodies is also important in creating awareness in Britain and overseas of our products because it encourages consumers abroad to seek out and sample the flavours of Northern Ireland. Many of our companies just don’t have the funds to spend on major promotional campaigns in Britain or Ireland and so it’s essential that we continue to support them by investing in activities that raise the profile of Northern Ireland and food and drink in these markets. It would be great, for instance, to see more of our products featured in glossy publications such as Delicious, Olive, BBC Good Food Show, Great British Food and Jamie. I know that Invest NI’s dedicated and highly skilled Buy NI Food campaign and www. website does a great job in reaching out to the likes of The Grocer, Speciality Food, Fine Food Digest, Fresh Produce Journal and Meat Trades in Journal with good news about our products. Our own www, has a huge number of hits from foodies in Britain and the Republic. I’d wish to see these promotional initiatives further developed during the year ahead. We want to support the efforts of our companies in these markets through our promotional expertise, market knowledge and, of course, strong contacts that we’ve developed. Another way to create awareness among consumers in Britain and to encourage them to buy our products or ask their stores to stock them is by greater participation in public shows especially the network of BBC Good Food Shows. A mini Northern Ireland Food and Drink pavilion based on our successful Balmoral showcase, for instance, would have quite an impact in Britain as we saw in 2016 when Northern Ireland had its very own tasting theatre at BBC Good Food Show Birmingham for the first time. It seems that at last, at grass roots level, the support for, and belief in, our food and drink industry is really at the fore in their efforts to promote Northern Ireland as a fantastic food destination.


Consumer Insight and Market Update 2017: Consumer Sentiment BY JASON WINSTANLEY, MOY PARK SENIOR INSIGHT AND RESEARCH MANAGER

THAT WAS CHRISTMAS! So, Christmas has now been and gone, and retailers and manufacturers alike are reviewing their numbers and assessing their performance. Coming on the back of what were probably the most uncertain and least stable six months, since any time dating back to the financial crisis of 2008, one could be forgiven for expecting that this Christmas would be, well… a turkey. Yet, for most, that seems to have not been the case. The first clue to this came when GfK released their consumer confidence numbers for December. Recent history shows that confidence tends to gradually drift down in the run-up to Christmas, normally before re-asserting itself in January. But, far from seeing an autumnal drift, 2016 saw a jolt, as the result of the US Election added to all the uncertainties around Brexit, and consumer confidence took a big hit, only to gain a point back in December. So, it was only a point, but the slight lift was an indicator that consumers were by no means in a gloomy mood as we headed into Christmas. And since then, most of our major grocery retailers have announced good Christmas results, with several also confounding analysts’ expectations. The four-week period to 1st January was particularly notable because all of the Big Four grocers saw growth – as indeed, did all the main retailers - the total market grew by 2.9%. Discounter performance was strong, but we did not see the degree of polarisation between them and the rest of the market which has become commonplace over the last few years.

In terms of star performers, alcohol, premium own label and online shopping all saw strong growth. Online, especially, is becoming a key component of the festive season for many shoppers; Moy Park research just before Christmas shows that online grocery shopping featured for 22% of shoppers, with 12% relying on one big online shop for most of their Christmas shopping, which represents a doubling in importance of this type of shopping trip. As was the case in 2015, a significant minority of shoppers took advantage of specialist Christmas ordering services, with almost 30% choosing to order their Christmas Day centrepiece in this fashion. Indeed, along with the growth in online shopping, the increasing popularity of this sort of service means that fewer than half of consumers end up shopping in store for a fresh centrepiece in the traditional manner. As for turkey itself, the category saw a strong performance, with both fresh and frozen sectors seeing strong growth

[5% value growth in fresh and 15% in frozen]. Interestingly, crowns and joints, which carry a price premium, performed better than whole turkeys. The Moy Park research also showed that 60% of consumers held at least one party – the same proportion as last Christmas – but that slightly more people than a year ago held more than one party. With plenty of parties taking place, shoppers making use of premium ordering services and buying the most expensive cuts of turkey; perhaps, therefore, it comes as no surprise that retailers have reported good Christmases. And, as long as shoppers haven’t over-stretched themselves financially, the general shopper mood bodes well as we move into 2017. Sources: 1 – GfK Consumer Confidence, December 2016; 2- Kantar Worldpanel 4 weeks to 1st January 2017; 3 – Moy Park research, December 2016; 4 – Kantar Worldpanel 4 weeks to 1st January 2017, using attributes maintained by Moy Park



Mackle Petfoods expands its popular Brandy range ✔ CEREAL SENSITIVE ✔ SENSITIVE DIGESTION ✔ HEALTHY SKIN & COAT


ackle Petfoods is a local family owned company from Co. Armagh with 45 years’ experience working with specialist pet nutritionists to produce only the finest quality pet food products. Its brand portfolio includes Brandy dog food, the number one Irish-made dog food brand and the second largest branded dog food in the Irish Market. Brandy has a strong local heritage dating back to 1972. It is made using only 100 per cent Irish Meat sourced from across the Island of Ireland and is fully traceable from farm to can. Irish consumers are concerned about the provenance and quality of the product they feed their dogs. Dog owners view their dog as a key member of the family so they want to feed them the best. Consumers are also looking for value but not at the expense of quality. Brandy offers customers high quality products at a value price. In recent years, the humanisation factor has been driving the pet food category. Consumers are also becoming more health conscious and this in turn is reflected in their pet food purchasing decisions. With this in mind and following research and development, Mackle Petfoods is delighted to announce the launch of Brandy Grain Free dog food. With 38 per cent of pet buyers reporting an interest in grain or gluten free pet food (Source: Mintel 2016), Mackle Petfoods identified an opportunity to meet demand and extend their popular Brandy dog food range with the introduction of a Grain Free 6 pack offering. Grain Free dog food has numerous health benefits for dogs, particularly those with an allergy to grain and sensitive digestion. Brandy Grain Free dog food has been developed especially for digestive

and cereal sensitive dogs to help promote easier digestion, improve skin and coat and reduce itching. Mackle Petfoods are proud to strengthen their existing canned dog food offering with Brandy Grain Free. It gives current Brandy customers an additional option within the range along with attracting new customers with an interest in canned grain free pet food. Brandy Grain Free has just hit the shelves across Ireland and is available in the following pack offering: Chunks in Gravy Variety 6 Pack with Chicken, Beef and Lamb with vegetables. Feeding trials have confirmed that Brandy Grain Free is feeding extremely well. How a product feeds is always a concern for dog owners. Brandy Grain Free is uniquely positioned in the pet food category and extremely competitively priced. Mackle Petfoods is confident it will add value to the category and bring new consumers into the canned dog food segment, in particular those looking for a high quality Grain Free

More information available at: Brandy Grain Free dog food - made especially for dogs with sensitive digestion and using only 100% Irish Meat so you know you’re giving them the best. They’re more than just a dog - they’re 100% family.


offering at a value price, which Brandy Grain Free offers. The launch will be supported by an all-Ireland Radio campaign throughout February focusing on local radio stations across Ireland, combined with a supporting social media campaign and strong promotional activity throughout 2017.


Henderson Food SM500-S Sieve Farleygreene have been designing and manufacturing state of the art sieving equipment and technologies for some of the world’s largest companies. We supply sieves to almost every industry sector.


ow 18 months on since Henderson Food Machinery opened, we have gone from strength to strength offering quality new and used food processing and packaging machinery to customers in Ireland as well as worldwide. Looking back on 2016 it was a good year for the business especially promoting our brand through the Ulster Grocer and sponsoring the Best Brand Award at the Ulster Grocer Awards. Based at the Madines Site in Crosssgar we have over 1000 pieces of equipment in stock, we also have over 15 manufacturers that we represent within Ireland, these are associated with the meat, poultry, fish, bakery, vegetable, fruit and ready meals Industy. We would welcome customers to our factory to view the extensive range of equipment we have to offer our stock changes on a daily basis, we are always on the lookout to buy equipment from single items to full factories.

MPE12 Inline All Electric Tray Sealer MPEi2 Inline all electric tray sealer for use in a variety of applications, meat, fish, poultry, vegetables, fruit & ready meals.

Siat SR4 Case Sealing Machine

FPE FG-250 Grinder The FPE FG-250 Grinder is designed for fresh and frozen products with a single or double knife set-up arrangement.

The SIAT SR4 is a manually fed self-adjusting size case sealing machine suitable to seal a wide range of case sizes up to 500 x 500mm, it is quick & easy for any operator to set up & run.

Freemantle Range of Equipment Cartoners & Sleevers Z Matic Pastry Sheeter The Z Matic pastry machines are functional, sturdy and easy to use. It is a versatile reliable piece of equipment which will adapt to the work requirements of small, medium and large production environments. The materials used and minimum maintenance required for optimum results make our pastry machine a valuable asset to your business.


At Henderson Food Machinery we offer the Freemantle range of Sleevers and Box Cartoning Machines



Machinery Fischbein Saxon SH1000 Hot Air Bag Sealer

Norpak Top, Bottom, Side Labelling Machines We supply to a varied range of food businesses, providing everything from accurate labelling solutions for delicate perishables such as fruit and vegetables, to versatile systems for labelling unusually shaped containers, to robust and reliable packaging for frozen meat.

Fischbein-Saxon’s new generation SH 1000 Hot Air Sealer represents the most advanced bag sealing technology available today. It features the latest in PID temperaturecontrol, innovative direct drive, enhanced airflow design guaranteeing a high efficiency heat transfer system that seals thicker bags of polyethylene, coated, laminated or even complex bags with a polyethylene inner liner.

CRM Simplexmatic The CRM SIMPLEXMATIC range of multiblade slicers can, in a single, four-second cycle, cut an entire piece of meat into slices of equal width, eliminating nearly all waste.

ITEC Boot Sole and Hand Washing Systems Single or Walk Through Hygiene Systems

Tecnobox TX1 Box Erector Cartoning Machine Gernal Cook Quench Chill System Gernal’s automatic cooking and cooling line for pasta, rice and vegetables is a revolutionary system with one cooking kettle and one or two cooling kettles (each with a capacity of 500, 1000, 1500 or 2000 litres). This makes it possible to prepare various dishes from start to finish, up to the point of packaging.

Ideal machine for making up a variety of Boxes/Cartons within the meat, fish, poultry, ready meals, produce, vegetable, fruit, and other areas. 60 to 1500 boxes per hour.

Deighton DD12,000 When purchasing from the Deighton range of batter, breaking, crumbing and frying equipment, you will need to look at your required throughputs, what working footprint you have in your facility, also your service requirements, what type of finished product you require. We supply a wide range of the FORMATIC FORMERS, ideal for a variety of products with meat, fish, poultry and vegetables, bakery, pet food and other industries.

Carruthers Table Top Meat & Poultry Shredder The economical, space-saving Tabletop Shredder is designed to efficiently shred smaller batches of beef, poultry or pork to produce “hand-pulled” products, without the expense of intensive manual labour. Increased volume, quick clean-up and changeover, saves time and labour costs.



Moy Park is ‘Good to Go’ with new Snacking Range


reland’s number one poultry brand, Moy Park has created a new branded ready-to-eat snacking range, Moy Park ‘Good to Go.’ The range was developed to address changes in consumer eating habits in the snacking market, with shoppers seeking nutritious, convenient snacking solutions tailored for busy lifestyles. Made with 100% chicken breast and high in protein, the four-strong range includes two Moy Park ‘Good to Go’ chicken breast fillet chunks – each with a dip, BBQ and sweet chilli, and two flavoured chicken breast fillet chunk options – flame grilled and piri piri. Aisling Graham, Interim Brand Marketing Manager said: “As a market leader, we recognise the importance of new product development in line with consumer trends. Consumer priorities for 2017 are focused on convenience and health – and this has translated into the snacking market. The range is individually portioned, and high in protein – making it an ideal option for snacking throughout the day. Aisling continued: “In a competitive market place, we’ve designed the packaging to ensure maximum shelf impact in the food to go fixtures, using bright colours and unique branding to engage consumers.” For more information on products and distribution please contact Moy Park on 028 38 352 233


Introducing Moy Park’s NEW Good to Go snacking range Good to Go chicken comes in handy snack-sized packs, to enjoy whenever and wherever you like. This product offers consumers a high in protein snacking option.

Good to Go is available in a variety of flavours: Flamegrilled Chicken Chunks, Piri Piri Chicken Chunks and Sweet Chilli Chicken Chunks. Chicken Breast Fillet chunks are available with a variety of dips – Sweet Chilli, Ketchup and Barbecue.

Contact our commercial team to stock up now: +44 (0) 28 3835 2233 #sharethegoodness

207795 MP good to go trade ad ROI.indd 1

13/01/2017 12:10


Liquid Assets Kantar Worldpanel divulges the key trends in the soft drink market; the price shifts and the retailers taking a bigger gulp of the drinks business while we showcase some of the leaders and innovators shaking things up‌


ales in the Take Home Soft Drinks market in Northern Ireland declined slightly by ÂŁ720k in the last year giving us a market now worth ÂŁ126.2m, which is 4 per cent of the total grocery market. It remains one of the most important categories in Grocery with 99.5 per cent penetration and shoppers buying take home soft drinks 55 times per year. Prices were a key contributor in the decline over the full year as shoppers paid 5 per cent less per litre in 2016 than they had in 2015. Both carbonated soft drinks and bottled water saw a drop in prices paid by shoppers with bottled water seeing the biggest drop as shoppers paid 10 per cent less than the previous year. While falling prices encouraged more purchasing through an increase in shoppers and volume per shopper, they also drove value out 26

of the market which has led to an overall value sales decline. Bottled water, despite seeing decline in the last year due to falling prices, has increased in popularity in the last few years as 78 per cent of the household population bought it in 2016 compared to 72 per cent in 2012. Carbonated soft drinks, while still popular in the grocery market, have declined in popularity as 92 per cent of the household population now buy into the category, compared to 93.2 per cent in 2012. For retailers, Asda and Lidl have increased their share of Total Take Home Soft Drinks in 2016 as they grew value sales versus the previous 52 weeks by 10.4 per cent and three percent respectively. Asda did this through CSDs and bottled water while Lidl saw growth come from CSDs. Tesco still

has the largest market share in Total Take Home Soft Drinks, despite seeing value sales decline in both CSDs and bottled water, with 37.4 per cent share in the 52 weeks up to the 4th of December 2016. Looking at the shoppers behind the performance of Total Take Home Soft Drinks we can see that young families and retired households have cut back most on spend. Young families continue to buy into the category but bought it at a lower price or traded down to cheaper products. Retired shoppers also paid less per item in addition to buying the category less often. Kantar Worldpanel monitors the grocery retailer take-home purchasing habits of 650 demographically representative Northern Ireland households.


Volvic invests £2.2m in promotional push V

olvic is set to kick off 2017 with a multichannel campaign aimed at celebrating the brands ‘volcanic heritage’ and inspiring consumers to ‘find their inner strength’. Running from January to March, the £2.2m Find Your Volcano push will run across the leading water brand’s plain and Touch of Fruit ranges, with labels of limited edition packs featuring more than 30 ‘empowering attributes’ including ‘brave’, ‘fearless’ and ‘determined’. They will be supported by TV commercials sharing ‘inspiring’ stories of people overcoming everyday obstacles, while Volvic will also renew its year-long sponsorship with E4, following their partnership in 2016. Other activity will include YouTube clips, outdoor ads and social media posts. “It takes power to conquer the January blues and stick to resolutions, but over two thirds of the population don’t believe we have inner strength,” said Sian Foulkes, brand Manager at Volvic. “Everyone has their own individual strengths and Volvic is here to remind them of this with our fun and motivational campaign,” she added.


6766 Ulster Grocer Volvic half page.indd 1

19/12/2016 16:37



PMP – the Independent’s friend Noel Allen, marketing manager of Northern Ireland’s number one energy drink brand, Boost Drinks, talks about the advantages of stocking PMPs.


MPs (price mark packs) bring many benefits. Indeed, of the top 100 selling energy drinks, 67* are PMPs. And comparing PM and non PM, price marked packs are growing considerably faster than plain packs, so this format is clearly loved by the consumer! Essentially, price mark packs can enable independents to compete effectively by offering a price point in line with retail multiples. By stocking PMPs, retailers can very overtly show customers good value for money which will, in turn, drive purchasing both now and on repeat visits. As long as the retail price point is competitive and the retailer margin is maintained, PMPs make absolute financial sense for independent retailers. Apart from having a strong value proposition, retailers should have the right mix of products in order to give consumers an appropriate choice, reflecting the local market. As a champion of the independent sector, Boost has a fantastic range of

over 40 SKUs across the sports and energy drinks sectors – stimulation energy and sports/isotonic. This includes: 250ml 49p PMP cans in Original, Sugar Free, Citrus Zing, Exotic Fruits and Red Berry; 500ml 79p PMP PET bottles in Original, Sugar Free and Exotic Fruits and also 1litre £1.29 PET bottles in Original, Sugar Free and Exotic Fruits. There is also a 500ml Original 79p PMP can. Boost Sport is then available in a 500ml 50p PET bottle, with three variations: Orange, Mixed Berry and Tropical Berry. We also have a new Sport SKU coming soon! Additionally, here are my top tips for merchandising energy drinks: • Keep energy drinks together to make it easier for your customers. • Stock 250ml cans and 500ml cans and bottles in a chiller. • Keep your chiller full and regularly re-faced so customers find it more inviting. • Give consumers a choice, but only stock best sellers – speak to your wholesaler for guidance. • Create interest around the fridges using POS material, shelf talkers etc. (*Source: IRI Marketplace Data)

Protein gives Ulster Grocer a Boost D

arren Given runs a very successful Spar shop in Omagh and is delighted with the sales of Protein Boost to date - he is already selling up to 10 cases a week! Having seen a massive increase in protein sales, Darren was keen to add a the Protein Boost brand to his range for four reasons • It does not need chilling • It is resealable • It has a guaranteed price point • It is only available through independents. Protein Boost was launched in Northern Ireland in September with sampling activity and consumer competitions. According to Darren, the chocolate variety is the most popular, but the strawberry is not far behind and while slightly more men than women are buying it, it is getting a great reception across all protein consumers. Darren explains: “I had noticed a huge increase in the sales of water and protein drinks so when Boost presented two protein SKUs that are exclusively for the independent channel, it was a very easy decision especially as my store


sits opposite an ASDA! “Additionally, we have a local gym and the regulars there are big purchasers of protein; and our big Food To Go offer also helps push protein.” Darren’s Spar is a forecourt convenience store open 6.30am to midnight seven days a week. Protein Boost comes in 310ml individual plastic bottles with great tasting chocolate and strawberry flavours. Each bottle contains 20g of protein, no fat, no added sugar and less than 150 calories. Price-marked at £1.29, the new SKUs offer excellent value to the consumer, a great margin to the independent trade and come in a convenient eight-bottle case. Boost has developed bespoke marketing collateral including a dedicated website, POS material and a busy schedule of sampling. For further information, visit For more information on Boost visit Follow Boost Drinks on Twitter@ BoostDrinksNews


Shloer - the driving force in adult soft drinks


ast year the adult soft drinks (ASD) category generated £2.9 millionworth of sales revenue for retailers in Northern Ireland,1 and Shloer - by far the biggest selling adult soft drinks brand1 - was again the major force driving the category’s performance, accounting for a staggering 54% of the value growth in ASD sales last year.1 And the continued success of this ever-popular brand, which has a commanding 70% share of ASD volume sales1, shows no sign of slowing with the top-selling core range - Shloer White Grape, Red Grape and Rosé - thriving and growing alongside innovative new lines such as Shloer Light and Shloer Celebration which have broadened the appeal of Shloer and attracted new consumers to the brand. The established Shloer range increased volume sales by a solid 10% during 2016, while sales of Shloer Light were up by 42% - more than three times the ASD category growth - and sales of Shloer’s special seasonal Limited Edition more than tripled compared to 2015 sales.1 Shloer

variants account for eight of the Top 10 ASD skus in Northern Ireland. Distributed by SHS Sales & Marketing, Shloer is a ‘must stock’ staple within the soft drinks fixture as Brendan Loughran, Head of Business Unit (Ireland) at brand owner SHS Drinks, says Shloer represents a year-round sales opportunity for retailers. “It is the adult soft drinks brand which consumers purchase when they are socialising and entertaining at home. It’s the brand which is on their shopping lists not only for key calendar events such as Christmas, Easter, Bank Holidays, Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day, but also for other times when friends and family get together, for example, Sunday lunch, BBQs or to celebrate special occasions such as birthdays and anniversaries. 1“For these reasons, it’s certainly worth retailers ensuring their range includes Shloer Light, a lower-calorie option, and Shloer Celebration which features a ‘popping cork’. Not only do these lines satisfy the consumer demand for more choice, they are also delivering strong and incremental growth for retailers. These new lines are bringing new consumers to the brand and existing consumers are expanding the range of Shloer lines they purchase. 71% of spend on Shloer Celebration has come from adult soft drink shoppers adding Shloer Celebration to their repertoire.2” During 2017 retailers will also be able to benefit from tailormade promotional support spanning the entire Shloer range of Shloer White Grape, Red Grape, Rosé, White Grape & Elderflower, White Grape & Apple, Raspberry & Cranberry; Shloer Celebration Pink Fizz and White Bubbly; and Shloer Light Red Grape and White Grape. 1 Nielsen Scantrack GB Northern Ireland Multiple Grocers inc Musgraves volume & value data 52 weeks to 03.12.2016 2 Kantar insight 52 w/e 17.7.16

Bottlegreen’s versatility boosts sales V

ersatility is one of the key attributes of bottlegreen’s sparkling pressés and cordials making them an increasingly popular choice with consumers and retail stockists in Northern Ireland who have benefited from a sustained strong sales performance in 2016. Sales of bottlegreen’s sparkling pressés outperformed the adult soft drinks (ASD) category growth last year with sales up by 22% compared with the 14% upturn in ASD category sales.1 Distributed by SHS Sales & Marketing, bottlegreen’s flagship elderflower sparkling pressé continues to deliver good levels of growth achieving a 30% increase in sales last year, while its second most popular flavour pomegranate & elderflower pressé - saw sales rocket by 55%.1 Brand owner SHS Drinks attributes bottlegreen’s success to an enviable combination of factors from the quality of the ingredients and the wine production-based cold filtration process used to deliver flavours which are clean, crisp and delicate and suited to the adult palate; the wide choice of flavours and the fact that they are free from all artificial colours, flavours and sweeteners; through to the beautiful iconic bottle and the fact that they can be enjoyed in so many different ways. As well as making refreshing drinks in their own right the bottlegreen sparkling pressés and cordials are both an ideal accompaniment for food - the

broad spectrum of flavours provide a choice to suit most dishes. And the versatility of the cordials knows no bounds. They can also be used to create delicious cocktails at home - a dash of elderflower cordial added to a glass of prosecco is sublime; added as a cooking ingredient; drizzled over desserts such as ice cream to add a luxurious and indulgent touch; and flavours such as ginger & lemongrass and seasonal spiced berry can also be consumed hot as a caffeine-free alternative to tea and coffee. bottlegreen cordial’s high concentration levels also offer consumers excellent value for money as they deliver a 1:10 serve compared with a 1:8 serve of double concentrate cordials. Each 500ml bottle makes 5.5 litres when diluted. Brendan Loughran, Head of Business Unit (Ireland) at SHS Drinks, says: “Elderflower and bottlegreen go hand-in-hand - bottlegreen elderflower was the first bottlegreen drink to be launched 1989 - and although 28 years later it’s still our most popular flavour, Cox’s apple and pomegranate & elderflower pressés and ginger & lemongrass cordial are also all big sellers in Northern Ireland.” 1Nielsen Scantrack GB Northern Ireland Multiple Grocers inc Musgraves volume data 52 weeks to 03.12.2016 29


Fentimans offers award-winning artisan beverages F

entimans has been making the finest quality natural botanical drinks since 1905. Its award-winning artisanal beverages are hand crafted, using the finest natural ingredients from around the world. To create a superior taste and wonderful mouth feel, unlike other producers of carbonated drinks, Fentimans makes their drinks using a time-honoured botanical brewing technique. This traditional process takes a full seven days to make a Fentimans beverage. The original Fentimans recipe took the finest ginger root which was bruised, crushed and milled. The ginger was then placed in copper steam jacketed pans containing spring water and gradually heated to simmering point. This induced the release and extraction of fine ginger sediment and a flavoursome botanical extract. The botanical liquid was then filtered into a wooden vat. The finest herbs, natural flavouring, sugar and brewer’s yeast were added to the botanical extract and the liquid was thoroughly stirred. The live liquid was then left to ferment in the wooden fermentation vat. The live ginger beer was then decanted from the wooden vat into the iconic stone jars, known affectionately as ‘Grey Hens’, where it came up to condition and was ready to drink within a week. It is this traditional botanical brewing process that produces the depth of flavour, mouth-feel and rich texture which are the hallmark of Fentimans drinks today. This is the Fentimans way which has stood the test of time – with the knowledge and expertise being passed from generation to generation of the Fentimans family. The result is a superior tasting natural range of beverages which can be enjoyed on their own or as a mixer with a premium spirit. For more information, visit GDk 28 Black Ulster Grocer Advert 178mm wide X 130mm high.pdf 1 27/01/2017 12:01











Meat Innovation Seminar Gene-silencing spray is a game changer for crop protection R

Innovation was the focus of a seminar in Cookstown recently when one hundred representatives from Northern Ireland’s red meat, pork, poultry and fish sectors came out in force. Pictured at the event are (L-R) Malachy O’Connor, Retail Consultant, John Hood, Invest NI, Peter Hannan, Hannan Meats, Joy Alexander, CAFRE, Sukhvinder Gill, AHDB, and Guy Wootton, Moy Park. Jointly hosted by Invest Northern Ireland and CAFRE, the event highlighted the support available through Invest NI and the Food Innovation Centre at CAFRE. Speaking at the event, John Hood, Invest NI’s Director of Food and Drink, said: “Adding value to products and processes and making efficiencies for example can make a considerable difference to a business’ bottom line. This event will help to improve the competitiveness and capability of local companies as they seek to grow...”

esearchers at the University of Surrey and University of Queensland have developed a crop protection technique that is touted as a revolutionary move that will ‘conquer the greatest threat to global food crops – pests and diseases in plants’. Scientists created a non-toxic degradable spray which is capable of disabling specific genes in plants. The ‘BioClay’ spray protects plants from disease-causing pathogens without altering their DNA Plant pests and pathogens are estimated to reduce global crop yields by 30 to 40 per cent a year, constraining global food security. The researchers have found that by combining clay nanoparticles with designer ‘RNAs’ (molecules with essential roles in gene biology), it is possible to silence certain genes within plants. BioClay has been shown to give plants virus protection for at least 20 days following a single application. When sprayed with BioClay, the plant ‘thinks’ it is being attacked by a disease or pest insect and responds by protecting itself. The BioClay technology, has a number of advantages over existing chemical-based pesticides. Since it is non-toxic and degradable, there is less risk to the environment and human health. It can also be used in a highly targeted way to protect crops against specific pathogens.



The dark roast blend, enriched with finely micro-ground coffee, will enlighten you with its notes of roast and caramel. The UK’s fastest growing coffee brand*. Advertising spend up 140% in 2016*. Microground value share growing at 12.8% YOY (Nielsen, Dec 2016).


*by market share Nielsen Total coverage 52 weeks Sept. 2016 excluding capsules.

004217_178X130#TheGrocerMagazine_Intenso@1.indd 1


16/01/17 14:51


Making Winners Out Of Achievers – Perspectives from the judges’ Chamber Chair of the Ulster Grocer Marketing Awards judging panel, Michael Maguire, talks entry strategies and quality when putting your business forward for 2017…


t is a rare privilege to be invited to make constructive input to the continued development of a highly successful and respected programme. Indeed 2016 was one of the best years I can remember with some cracking entries. Actually that is not the ‘whole truth.’ I was equally motivated by the fact that the grocery sector is where I started my professional career and still regard it as the most exciting business sector to be in and worthy of honouring achievers who seek to be the best that they can be. What is the Role of the Judging Panel? Simply put, the judging panel is an independent three-person team of wise owls appointed by Ulster Grocer to study all applications that are received for every award category, to test the extent to which applicants fulfil the terms of reference for respective categories, and to short-list finalists and nominate worthy achievers (winners and highly commended) from the list of finalists. In the interests of fairness, judges are only allowed to consider the information provided by the applicant in their submission and any supplemental knowledge that may have been gleaned through other channels cannot be aired or considered. The judging is monitored by a senior representative of Ulster Grocer. Applications and supporting documentation are destroyed when the judging process has been completed thus ensuring confidentiality. The evaluation process is exacting, and inevitably triggers spirited debate among the judging team who reach agreement on winners and highly commended by professional consensus and the reasons for selection are recorded in writing. Observations on Entries – Old Chestnuts and Some New Ones The awards programme is designed to provide a flexible platform for companies to demonstrate why they should be considered as a worthy winner in a particular category. It therefore avoids the prescriptive application entry systems employed in many awards programmes. However, for several years the judges have observed that some award applicants had a tendency to underplay the information they provided and simply failed to put across a convincing argument as to why they should merit their place on the winners’ podium. Many applicants were highly successful entities but there was ongoing failure to articulate simple measurable objectives, or to demonstrate tangible results while relying too heavily on detailed campaign processes and tactics, and on support material such as TV and 32

radio commercials, proof pulls of magazine ads, PR output, links to websites and social media outputs. It isn’t about ticking market process boxes or employing jargon or ‘text speak’ so much as demonstrating clear commercial achievements and out turns from marketing endeavour. Every entrant has the potential to submit an effective application without recourse to using third party writers. Keep it focused. Keep it simple. Reading the Terms of Reference and Don’t Assume Judges’ Have Second Sight: In extreme cases some applications have been poorly written and executed and/or the terms of reference for a particular category was simply not met. There also often appeared to be an assumption that the judges should have a mystical second sight as to the primacy of an application and on occasions the judging panel has been forced to point out that we can only judge the merit of an application based on what evidence has been submitted. Quality over Quantity That said, the quality of applications has improved year on year for the last couple of years. In reviewing the 2016 category finalists, the judges noted that the level of professionalism in entry preparation by regular applicants has increased markedly but there is also a growing number of first time entrants to the programme,

presenting new competition. It is a clear indication of the esteem of the Ulster Grocer Marketing Awards within the local grocery sector. Targeting Categories – Avoiding Blanket Entries While there are eight categories of awards for 2017, applicants need to consider which ones are the most appropriate to target and which might best be left for another year. The most heavily contested typically include ‘Best Marketing Campaign’, ‘Best In-Store Consumer Sales Promotion,’ and ‘Best New Product Launch/Relaunch.’ Every entry application should be supported by a stand-alone paper where the subject matter demonstrates achievement in the target category. Submitting multiple category applications using one single source document to maximise opportunity is to be avoided as such an approach often fails to address the category terms of reference adequately, resulting in disappointment. 2017 Marketing Awards The Ulster Grocer Marketing Awards 2017 is about to begin and I would gauge that it will be another record breaker. I do hope that these notes prepared by the judging team will help you in your endeavours. Please remember that the flexible platform system that is used in the Marketing Awards 2017 enables you determine how you want to project your business and your achievements. Do that well and you can be a winner.”

Now in their 29th

year, the prestigious Ulster Grocer Marketing Awards are open for entry

G rocer Market ingAwards ULSTER



The 2017 Awards feature eight categories designed to showcase the very best the local food and grocery retail industry has to offer:

Best Marketing Campaign 2016 Best In-Store Consumer Sales Promotion Best New Product Launch/Relaunch Best CSR Initiative Charity Partnership Best Brand Best Artisan Foods Campaign Green Retailer of the Year Best Food Export Marketing Award

Winners will be revealed: Friday 19th May Gala Ball, supporting GroceryAid, Culloden Hotel, Belfast

Closing date for entries: Friday 31st March Contact Mark Beckett to enter: Tel: 028 9026 4267 Email:


Gala Ball

Supporting GroceryAid

Friday 19th May 2017 Table sales - Contact: Jim McAlea (Kerry Foods) • Tel: 07714 850 550 • Email: SponSored by:




Ulster Grocer Marketing Awards 2017 Push your brand to the foreground H oming in on the marketing campaigns that have catapulted local brands; from stalwart names to fledgling artisan producers, into NI’s households, the Ulster Grocer Awards commends those who have excelled in a competitive arena. This year competition is fiercer than ever, with new names on board as well as a host of familiar brands. The event itself, on Friday May 19, celebrates with a black tie affair with the Culloden Estate and Spa as its stunning backdrop. 2017 will mark the Ulster Grocer Marketing Awards’ 29th year - that’s almost three decades of celebrating excellence within the industry and we are urging you, the innovators to enter to receive the recognition you and your team deserves. Our testimonials from

past guests and winners are evidence that being part of what is one of NI’s greatest grocery awards is a boost for business.

“The Ulster Grocer Marketing Awards is one of the leading retail events in NI...” Karen Carmichael, Managing Director at MXB

“I would have to compliment Ulster Grocer and the team for the marvellous set up and entertainment. The night was such a success that we will be sponsoring the Best Brand Award 2017...” David Henderson, Henderson Food Machinery

“Our award wins are a real testament to our hard working staff...” Paddy Doody, Sales and Marketing Director, Henderson Group

“The event is enjoyable and feel-good which raises a lot of money for a very worthy cause,” Margaret Canning, Editor, Business Telegraph

“The Ulster Grocer Marketing Awards is a great introduction into the industry. It’s a great opportunity to network with potential customers...” Yvonne Farrell, Sales Manager at Reach Retail Services

“The Grocers’ Ball is an excellent setting to recognise some of the amazing work that is carried out in Northern Ireland by some of our brightest companies and individuals and the standard of the entries from the food and drink industry proves that NI is thriving...” Russell Johnston, Director of Client Services at Contract People.

Grocery Aid – the charity for the industry

The Northern Ireland GroceryAid committee at their recent annual general meeting at the Culloden Estate and Spa. Back Row L-R Colin Orr, Gerry Cassidy, Trevor Magill (chairman), Mark Gowdy, Alan McKeown. Front Row L-R David McWilliams, Dawn Canning, Jim McAlea, Brian Sterling, Mark Beckett


he Ulster Grocer Marketing Awards works closely with GroceryAid, the charity with a mission to ‘make life better for grocery people in need’. This UK-wide charity helps those who are working or have worked in the grocery industry by providing legal, emotional and financial support to those in need. Last year the charity spent £4,384, 950 on welfare support for 11,000 people with almost half of those people of working age. The youngest beneficiary was 28 years old while the eldest was 102. More than 4,450 people have also benefited from the charity’s helpline


which assists all callers who have worked or are working in the grocery industry regardless of service. The free phone helpline offers independent advice 24/7 and assists across a wide range of key areas including debt advice, health and well-being and legal advice and depression support among other things. Financial support can be paid quarterly to those who find themselves in financial distress while heating grants and grocery vouchers as well as respite grants for those with caring responsibilities are also available. To be eligible for financial assistance recipients must demonstrate a minimum of five years’ service within any part of the industry; a degree of financial hardship and no more than £12,000 in savings or capital (not including property). Here in Northern Ireland, GroceryAid is made up of a team of key players within the grocery trade who are spearheading fundraising efforts to support those in the trade locally. Speaking about last year’s support, Chairman of GroceryAid NI, Trevor Magill of Musgrave Northern Ireland, said: “It has been another great year for the Northern Ireland branch and I would like to thank the branch for their continued enthusiasm and dedication. Our 2015-16 events were well supported and attended by the industry, in particular The Grocers’ Ball and the 79th Candy Ball were tremendous successes. A big thank you to the organising teams.” If you would like to learn more about GroceryAid visit


The rise of ‘sophisticated shoppers’ increases the demand for fresh premium look packaging – it’s the finishing touch that counts!






1976~2016 NG




new finish to your packaging not only supports and keeps the continuity of your brand identity, but gives it the added ‘pop’ to make consumers notice you have made enhancements. This in turn highlights that there is further quality added and makes it more intriguing and appealing for the consumer to pick up. At Priory Press Packaging, we have seen a significant rise already in current FMCG customer’s packaging being enhanced with additional finishes such as decorative foil blocking, UV varnishes, matt and gloss lamination and bespoke window

patching and cut outs. Research by Mintel has shown that 38% of consumers are swayed towards products that allow them to view the contents before buying. These finishes create vibrancy, shine effects, soft touch and textures to your packaging and establish the premium look. The key element to your success is effective packaging and quality which further strengthens your ability to develop sustainable products. At Priory Press Packaging, we print and produce food sleeves, boxes and retail ready packaging in an environment that follows various strict quality assurance controls that are integral to our business and embedded within our working culture. Gaining a Grade AA result in BRC only highlights our commitment to ensuring our customers get quality packaging at all levels. Add another dimension to your packaging with bespoke finishing techniques that will lift your appearance, achieve excellent product visibility onshelf, increase sales, and increase your opportunity to become a market-leading product.


e live in a society led by a demanding consumer culture. An endless array of brands and products crowd the shelves with new items arriving daily. Your job as a food producer is to make your brand and product stand out the most, and so you need high impact on-shelf presence. Consumers specifically look for products that project quality, attractiveness, and more concise information (as they become more alert to health warnings, nutritionals and healthy living) but also that maintain value. Throughout 2017, we will increasingly see the premium look packaging trend explored with different finishing techniques, by more brands in a bid to capture the consumers’ scanning eyes in a split second. There is a misconception that if you completely change the overall look of your packaging it will stand out more to consumers. However, this is sometimes not the case as it can confuse your brand message, “Did they rebrand or is this a new product?!” A subtle change such as adding a





JTI continues to ‘Take a Stand’ against illegal tobacco


TI started 2017 by demonstrating its ongoing commitment to help tackle the illegal trade in tobacco. During the Christmas and New Year period JTI removed gantries from two stores, 6 till 11 in Ilford and Micklefield Superstore in High Wycombe. Both stores had been successfully prosecuted for dealing in illegal tobacco and ordered to pay fines and costs totalling £3,245. In addition, JTI has informed the owner of Good Morning Superstore in Harrow that they will no longer receive support and expertise from the company following action by the local authority revoking their premises license for dealing in illegal tobacco and alcohol. Charlie Cunningham-Reid, UK Head of Corporate Affairs commented: “JTI has again demonstrated its commitment to take action against those retailers found to be selling illegal tobacco. “Ahead of the May 20th deadline to sell branded cigarette and RYO packs, our actions and that of the law enforcement agencies should serve as timely reminders to any retailer tempted to sell illegal tobacco products in their shops. Any retailer who attempts to exploit the new environment will find that alongside tobacco manufacturers, Trading Standards Departments and HMRC will continue to investigate, disrupt and prosecute those involved in the illegal tobacco trade.” “JTI’s message has always been clear – ‘if it seems too be good to be true then it probably is’. Retailers must only get their stock from a reputable cash and carry or their known tobacco company representative.” JTI renews its call for other category partners in the distribution chain to ‘Take a Stand’ by withdrawing support from any retailer who sells illegal tobacco.


Imperial and China Tobacco create new joint venture business


ubsidiaries of Imperial Brands PLC and China Tobacco (CNTC) have established a dynamic long-term Joint Venture (JV) business which will look to develop a variety of growth opportunities in China and international markets. Global Horizon Ventures Limited (GHVL) is initially focused on leveraging the expertise of China’s largest tobacco company, Yunnan Tobacco, to drive the sustainable growth of Imperial’s Growth Brands West and Davidoff in China; and maximising the potential of two Yunnan brands, Jadé and Horizon, in markets outside of China. As a result, Jadé joins Imperial’s portfolio of Specialist Brands. The partnership has the potential to deliver additional Growth Brand volumes in the JV’s first five years. Further tobacco and next generation product launches, as well as potential M&A opportunities, will also be evaluated by GHVL in due course. Imperial Brands Chief Executive Alison Cooper and STMA Chief Commissioner Ling Cheng Xin formally endorsed the JV during a signing ceremony in Beijing. She said: “We’re excited by the growth potential offered by this new business opportunity and look forward to seeing our co-operation with our Chinese partners flourish for many years to come.” GHVL, based in Hong Kong, has been jointly founded by ITL Pacific HK Limited, a subsidiary of Imperial Brands, and Yunnan Tobacco International Company Limited and Tian Li International Company Limited, both units of CNTC, the operational arm of the STMA. The joint venture builds on a track record of co-operation which began in 2003 between Imperial and Yunnan Tobacco, China’s number one tobacco company with a market share of over 20 per cent. China is the largest tobacco market in the world with annual volumes of close to 2.5 trillion cigarettes. Imperial was assisted in the transaction by Vermilion Partners and Allen & Overy.


New platform set to revolutionise wine selling and buying W

ine With Spirit, whose founders argue is the world’s first ‘winetech’, believes wine producers must use data to understand the needs of consumers, then create the wines they actually want. This new technical programme sets out to feed back consumer desires to the winemaker so they can adjust how they market their product! To achieve this aim, Wine With Spirit commissioned extensive research to truly understand the buying habits of consumers. The results of this research confirmed over 90 per cent of consumers buy wines to suit a mood or occasion, rather than due to the technical aspects or heritage that most producers promote. Wine With Spirit has also taken it a step further by building a wine platform, called Lyfetaste, which captures data from consumers and can analyse consumer trends based on their region, culture, likes and dislikes. This platform can feed data back to the vineyards to allow producers to fine-tune their wines based on consumer desires. Two of WWS signature wines that have been created from this process include ‘Bastardô!’ – ‘for moments of celebration’. It has strong, catchy visuals, with the shape and colour of the label and name of the brand designed to ‘disrupt and leave no one feeling alone’. “Dine With Me Tonight is a romantic brand that was created for moments of love and passion,” says Wine With Spirit. “The label is soberer, although its shape still stands out from the majority. As to the blend, it is more complex and structured although it can be enjoyed by a vast range of consumers, from the inexperienced to the connoisseurs.”

Dublin Tech Summit a must for ‘every person in business’ T aking place on February 15 and 16 at the Convention Centre, the Dublin Tech Summit is an exhibition showcasing the innovation taking the technology world by storm. Guests to the show will be informed about the latest gadgets, programmes and more through product displays, conferences and panel discussions and the full line-up is impressive. The host of familiar faces attending the show and lending their knowledge includes Gary Vaynerchuk, Jimmy Chamberlin (Smashing Pumpkins), Cindy Gallop and Matthew Luhn (Pixar) plus Panel Discussions with RoboThespian (the life-sized humanoid robot designed for human interation), Till Faida (Adblock Plus) and Louise Phelan, (Paypal). “I am so proud to have such an incredible team to work with. It’s a small team, but we have all worked tirelessly to ensure that we created a conference that Dublin will be proud of. “To see it all come together now is truly breathtaking,” said Noelle O’Reilly, CEO. The conference will welcome 10,000 members of the tech community to the CCD. “We’ve brought together thought-leaders to speak on the biggest trends in technology across the board: consumer data, cyber security, artificial intelligence, technological advances in medicine, digital currency, the crossroads of fashion and technology. Every person and business is affected by technology and innovation—we wanted to acknowledge that with our lineup.” The schedule, complete with conference dates and times is now available at

Sixty-two percent of food and drink companies increased turnover in 2016, but almost half report customer and technology challenges


ew research reveals a profitable and optimistic year for the food and drinks industry, highlighting the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. Sixty-two per cent of food and drink manufacturers, suppliers and retailers increased their turnover in 2016, while 58 percent agree that the industry is in good health at the turn of the new year. This is according to new research from leading sales intelligence software provider, sales-i. Based on a survey of 168 food and drink companies operating in the UK and US, the research examines how food and drink companies believe the industry will fare in 2020, with a focus on perceptions of Britain’s developing exit from the European Union. Forty seven percent of respondents see Brexit as a blow for the industry in the long term, while 20 percent believe it will have a positive impact on the industry. Thirty-three percent are unsure of what the outcome will be. Other key findings from the report revealed that almost half of the respondents view new technology adoption as a significant operational hurdle, with 48 per cent citing that finding and retaining new business as a big challenge. Commenting on the results, Paul Black, CEO of

sales-i, said: “Last year was a real turning point for the industry, which is thriving and growing despite uncertain times. However, in order to maintain this momentum, companies of all shapes and sizes need to prioritise improvements in technology adoption, customer acquisition, and retention. These challenges aren’t unique to food and drink companies, but given the continued possibilities for change over the next two to five years, the industry must do all it can to safeguard its future.” The survey also sheds light on how technology factors into the business strategies of companies within the industry, finding that 65 per cent employ customer-centric tools such as business intelligence and CRM software. Of those who use these tools, the majority report that they have a positive influence on performance. Fifty seven per cent remark that the ability to transform data into sales, marketing, and business development insights was a considerable benefit, and 47 per cent say the same of its effect on maintaining customer relationships. “Too often, we talk about technology in the future tense”, said Black. “The truth is that many food and drink companies are putting it to brilliant use right now – and as it gets more sophisticated, and external economic pressures increase and multiply, it will only grow in importance.” 37


High tech security firm Netwatch to double its Newry workforce

Pictured are, from left, Jonathan McKinlay, director of Mount Charles’ Cleaning and Support Services Division, with Paddy Finnegan, Netwatch European sales director, and Cathal Geoghegan, managing director of Mount Charles.


ecurity firm Netwatch has announced plans to create 85 jobs over the next 12 months, with 15 of those jobs based at its £4.5m Newry Communications Hub which was established in February 2016. The new jobs are part of an £18m investment to grow the business globally and will bring total employee figures to 250. The Carlow-headquartered company, with offices in Newry, Cambridge, Boston and New York, deploys the most advanced video processing technologies to proactively monitor and protect its clients’ assets. Netwatch install high quality security cameras, coupled with their proprietary intelligent software which intervenes as soon as security is breached. Intervention Specialists then verbally alert intruders they are being watched with a personalised warning, causing them to leave the scene before the damage is done.

Instagram to begin trialling online shopping


eginning in the US and involving an initial group of 20 retailers, posts to the Facebookowned site from brands including Kate Spade and JackThreads will include tags for products shown in the photos, that if tapped will display price information and links to buy them. Parent company Facebook introduced a marketplace to its mobile app recently as a way for users to buy and sell items from each other. “Mobile has changed the way people shop,” Instagram said in a blog post announcing the new feature. “You browse products while waiting to be seated for dinner, make purchases on your commute into work, and compare prices online when you’re at a store to see what’s the better deal. “While browsing and discovery is easy on mobile, finding more information about the specific products you see isn’t always as simple. “On a platform known for its power of mobile discovery, today we’re excited to announce an easier experience to shop the products you love on Instagram.” Instagram said up to five products will be tagged per photo by participating retailers, with a ‘tap to view’ icon appearing at the bottom of an image to alert users to the shopping information being available. The social media site did not comment on when the feature will be extended to the UK, and the trial will initially only be used in Apple’s iOS version of the Instagram app.


“We are delighted to announce this expansion of our Newry base as a result of securing a number of high profile contracts from public utilities to blue chip organisations including Enva, Northern Ireland Electricity and Norbrook Laboratories since we launched here back in February,” said Paddy Finnegan, European sales director of Netwatch. “Our focus for Q4 of 2016 and into 2017 is to grow our Northern Ireland business by 30 per cent; and to support that ambitious target we’re now actively recruiting talent in areas such as software and hardware engineering, marketing and sales. “We’re a highly innovative company with technology at the heart of everything we do so throughout the recession we focused on research and development and expanding the business internationally. “We see this £18m investment and employee expansion announcement as validation of that decision. It lays the ground work for the next two years of growth and development. There’s a lot of untapped potential in the US which we will now be able to fully take advantage of.” In a move to further strengthen their offering in Northern Ireland Netwatch has formed a strategic partnership with Ireland’s largest indigenous food service and business support solutions provider, Mount Charles. Cathal Geoghegan, managing director of Mount Charles, said: “We are confident that this new partnership with Netwatch will deliver added value to our client base throughout the island of Ireland. “Businesses are increasingly looking for ‘bundled’ service contracts. We already deliver catering, cleaning, retail and vending contracts to a vast range of public and private sector clients across Ireland. The one thing we have not been able to offer, until now, was a bespoke, state of the art security solution. “Combining our experience allows us to create a truly innovative offering and increase our influence in a very competitive market.” From its communication hubs in Newry and Carlow, Netwatch monitors in excess of 42,000 security cameras at both commercial and residential sites across Europe, South Africa, the Middle East and the US.

Apple to raise the price of apps in the UK by up to 25%


he US tech giant has issued new pricing guidance to developers using its App Store that will mean the lowest priced app or in-app purchase costing 79p will increase to 99p. In a letter reportedly sent to developers and seen by Apple news site 9to5Mac, Apple said it is tweaking its tier pricing system. The new prices are expected to take effect immediately. An Apple spokesman said: “Price tiers on the App Store are set internationally on the basis of several factors, including currency exchange rates, business practices, taxes and the cost of doing business. These factors vary from region to region and over time.” Since the vote to leave the European Union last June, the value of the pound has fallen from more than 1.45 dollars to 1.21. Apple’s App Store serves users of the iPhone and iPad and in 2016 its sales rose to more than £23 billion. The technology giant has already increased prices for the iPhone and Mac computers after the Brexit vote. Prices in India and Turkey are also expected to rise. Other technology firms, including HTC, Microsoft and Tesla, have also previously announced UK price rises for some products in response to the fall in value of the pound.


SHS Group Appoints four new personnel T

he SHS Group have announced the appointment of Chris Lillie to the newly created role of HR Director. Chris took up this role at the beginning of the year. With 20 years’ professional HR experience, Chris has worked in the retail and manufacturing sectors and was HR Director for Coca-Cola Hellenic in Ireland. Chris will support the Group Board’s People Strategy in line with the business’ future growth ambitions and strategic plans. Meanwhile Sarah-Jayne Hunniford has been appointed as Divisional Financial Controller. Sarah-Jayne is responsible for the financial and commercial control of all business activities for SHS Drinks. She will also provide expertise, guidance and support to the drinks management team. John Stewart has been appointed Logistics and Customer Services Director for the SHS Sales and Marketing Divisions, providing services to a variety of internal and external customers within the UK, Ireland and internationally. Other aspects of the role include responsibility for SHS Sales and Marketing Ireland’s supply chain and operational functions. John previously held the role of Supply Chain Director, SHS Sales and Marketing Ireland. With over 20 years’ experience, John brings a wealth of expertise to the team, having worked in transport, warehousing, procurement, customer services and 3PL contract management. Alan Neill will be SHS’ new Business Process and Improvement Director responsible for the design and implementation of new ways of working to ensure the SHS Group is in optimal position to proactively plan and transact business in a continuously improving way.

Jonathan Gallagher appointed Director of Marketing Lough Erne Resort in Fermanagh.


lster University graduate Jonathan has a Masters with distinction in Marketing and Entrepreneurship, is Co-Founder and previously held the role of Marketing Manager at Killyhevlin Lakeside Hotel.

Chris Lillie

Sarah-Jayne Hunniford

John Stewart

Alan Neill

Moy Park announces new Commercial Director UK and Ireland


oy Park, one of the UK’s top 10 food companies, has appointed Andrew Richards to the post of Commercial Director UK and Ireland and as a member of its executive leadership team. With an extensive commercial track record, Andrew has worked with many of Europe’s market and category leading FMCG companies across confectionery (Cadbury/Kraft), savoury snacks (PepsiCo UK), soft drinks (Britvic PLC) and latterly coffee (UCC). In this new role with Moy Park, Andrew will lead the company’s commercial strategy for the UK and Ireland including Moy Park’s extensive UK and Ireland insight, marketing, food innovation. Moy Park Chief Executive Janet McCollum said: “We are delighted to welcome Andrew to the Moy Park team. Andrew’s impressive experience and commercial leadership will further strengthen our relationships in delivering outstanding insight, innovation, quality and service to our customers.”


SHELFLIFE Lavazza Prontissimo – premium coffee with Italian taste


ne for the convenience consumer with a discerning palate for coffee is Lavazza Prontissimo! - a premium instant coffee with an authentic Italian taste. Made using 100% Columbian Arabica beans, it contains microgranules that yield a full-bodied and rich cup of coffee to be enjoyed at any time of the day. For further information contact Valeo Foods Northern Ireland, Joanne Beattie, Marketing Manager, 028 9267 3316

New - Brandy Grain Free Chunks in Gravy 6 Pack M

ackle Petfoods is delighted to announce the launch of new Brandy Grain Free, available in a Chunks in Gravy Variety 6 Pack with Chicken, Beef and Lamb with vegetables. Grain Free dog food has numerous health benefits for dogs, particularly those with an allergy to grain and sensitive digestion. Brandy Grain Free dog food has been developed especially for digestive and cereal-sensitive dogs to help promote easier digestion, improve skin and coat and reduce itching. Brandy Grain Free gives current Brandy customers an additional option within the range along with attracting new customers with an interest in canned grain free pet food. Mackle Petfoods is confident it will add value to the category and bring new consumers into the canned dog food segment, in particular those looking for a high quality Grain Free offering at a value price, which Brandy Grain Free offers. Made from 100% Irish meat and fully traceable from farm to can shoppers know they’re feeding their dog only the best. This pack is available to order now.


JellySqueeze: New Flavour Launch + Fruitypot Rebrand C aterers Choice is currently preparing for the International Food & Drink Event 2017, which takes place at ExCeL, London, from March 19-22. It will showcase its latest product ranges including the latest JellySqueeze flavour: Apple and Blackcurrant. The company will also rebrand its Fruitypot range this year in line with a new Instagram account and online store.

Kelkin – good food for four decades K

elkin Ltd. has been providing wholesome, delicious foods in Ireland for almost 40 years. The husband and wife team, Ken Kinsella and Liz Kelly, decided back in 1976 that it was their mission to make healthy foods easily accessible to Irish families. And so Kel-Kin was born, named after themselves. Kelkin’s mission is to make the healthy choice the easy choice and it is proud of its commitment to producing healthier food options to enable families to lead fuller lives. Good food in moderation, a balanced diet and exercise is a mantra Kelkin lives by and a lifestyle in which its range of wholesome and delicious foods fits perfectly. Mueslis and granolas, popcorn and rice and corn cakes alongside juices, and a large range of free-from products make up Kelkin’s nutritious product portfolio. It is the latter products and Kelkin’s recognition of a changing and more health-focussed consumer that has made it one of the healthy food pioneers in the supermarket aisles for over ten years. Today Kelkin is working tirelessly with Irish retailers to make shopping this section of the supermarket an easier, more pleasurable and informative experience for consumers.

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


In the Hot Seat Keith Fulton, Product Development Manager at Hovis answers this month’s burning questions... TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF I’ve just celebrated my 25th year with Hovis. My career started in 1991 as an Apprentice Baker and my career development journey has included a wide variety of roles including Operations and Logistics Management. I changed to a Product Development role several years back which is something I had always aspired to do given my keen interest in innovation within the industry. I’m happily married to Heather and a proud dad to my 11-year-old daughter Darcie.


WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST GRIPE? Biggest gripe for me has to be that any broken link in the NPD process can delay a project sometimes to within a hair’s breadth of failure. Luckily I have a great relationship with colleagues and with suppliers to date which has been key to success. WHAT TALENT WOULD YOU LIKE TO HAVE? Outside of being the captain of Manchester United and the associated wealth I would dearly love to have some musical or singing ability! It’s great when you see people express themselves this way, nothing better than a walk through Belfast and coming across a busker dripping in talent.

WHAT DOES A TYPICAL DAY INVOLVE? At any given time within the year there are always lots of projects, planned through our annual Innovation Day which maps out NPD projects for our branded portfolio which is Hovis and Ormo. We also present own label NPD to all of our retail partners across the island of Ireland. A typical day will include analysis within the category and insight from the major players in the global ingredient industry. All of this translates into the sourcing of new and exciting ingredients leading to development trials conducted in our in-house test facilities, the concept trials are then reviewed within a wider NPD steering group. This includes all of the major functions within the business; commercial, operations and technical. WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT YOUR JOB? The most enjoyable thing about my job has to be when you see a product you have taken from test concept to seeing the finished product on shelf. The NPD journey can be quite long as it involves a lot of hurdles wide ranging from nutritional testing to naming trademarks. It’s great to watch a retail customer look along the fixture and see them select a product that you were instrumental in creating! None of this would be possible without the assistance of the site team who like myself have worked in the industry for a long time. We’re very lucky at Hovis in that we have a multi skilled team from relevant disciplines who are passionate about everything they do and constantly think ‘bigger picture’ - realising a common goal. This is a key driver in a rapidly changing commercial environment. The variety of work is also fantastic which keeps the role fresh and exciting. NPD is just not about the product, it’s also about the packaging and

being negative will guarantee you won’t’. I thought this was particularly relevant to my role within NPD. It demonstrated to me that there was no such thing as a bad idea and clearly that negativity would stifle any creativity!

WHOM DO YOU MOST ADMIRE? I’d definitely have to say my wife who when times get a bit hectic is the best leveller. I’m also very lucky to have had many role models through the years, some retired but always available for a friendly chat and guidance. The current team at Hovis are fantastic, sometimes you can’t help and stop what you’re doing and admire the energy and passion of how they go about their work. the pack message. There’s also a continuous focus on maintaining product quality and of course benchmarking against the competition to stay a step ahead. Sometimes a conversation over a coffee is enough to get the creative juices flowing in terms of ‘how could we make that?’ or ‘what’s the best packaging solution for this product?’ WHAT IS YOUR MOST DIFFICULT TASK? The most difficult task has to be taking what seems like a simple idea into one that throws up all sorts of operational, technical or logistical challenges. Our solution to those challenges are forums where collectively the team work to a ‘Right 1st Time’ format. This ensures that we deliver our innovation on time, technically compliant and to the standard that our consumers love and trust! WHAT IS THE BEST ADVICE YOU HAVE EVER RECEIVED? A friend recently showed me a quote which stated ‘Being positive won’t guarantee you’ll succeed, but

WHERE IS YOUR FAVOURITE PLACE? That’s an easy one for me, only experienced London for the first time recently and was completely blown away by the experience. So many things to do and see and completely diverse, certainly hope to return very soon. WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE FOOD PRODUCT? Bread of course! Even whilst abroad the work never stops. It’s great to go into a local artisan bakery and experience different products and hopefully engage with the baker who knows and loves his craft. HOW DO YOU RELAX? The most relaxing thing I enjoy is a trip down to the Mourne Mountains which we are blessed to have on our doorstep. Love going with friends but I love the solace of a ramble on a day when you know the rest of the world is working! Definitely good for the soul.










TEL: 028 9267 3211

Stock Up NOW!

Profile for Helen Wright

Ulster Grocer Feb 2017  

Ulster Grocer Feb 2017

Ulster Grocer Feb 2017  

Ulster Grocer Feb 2017