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



IFEX is Northern Ireland’s PREMIER showcase of the latest food & drink products, equipment, technology and services for the food, retail and hospitality industries.


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a brand new show, co-located with IFEX 2018 – putting meat and butchery at the heart of the food, retail and hospitality industries.

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04/12/2017 15:34






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



orthern Ireland has one of the highest weekly food and drink bills in the UK, according to a new report, with its consumers displaying a taste for the finer things in life. Households pay out £62.50 weekly on food and non-alcoholic drinks, more than anywhere else bar the South East of England. Households here also spent more than any other UK region on alcohol, tobacco and narcotics (£16.10 compared to a UK average of £11.80), as well as clothing and footwear (£35.60 versus a weekly UK average of £24.10). The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said one reason is that the average household size here (2.5 people) is larger than the UK average (2.3 people). The report also points to cultural differences; here we consider items such as good quality cuts of meat to be more of an essential food item compared with those in England. The bulletin reveals Northern Ireland



households spent almost £500 per week on average between April 2015 and March 2017. The figure - which falls just under £40 short of the UK average weekly outlay (£536.80) - represents a return to levels seen before the economic downturn, according to the ONS. The ONS report into household spending in the UK also reveals that we devote



13% of our total expenditure to food and non-alcoholic drinks (£62.50), compared with the UK average of 11% (£57.70). Northern Ireland households also spent a higher proportion of total expenditure on restaurant and cafe meals and takeaway meals when compared with Britain. After adjusting for inflation, weekly household spending has not been this high since the financial year ending 2006.








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EDITORIAL COMMENT Volume 53, Number 2 February 2018 Editor: Alyson Magee E: Tel: 028 9026 4175 Contributors: Michele Shirlow, Jason Winstanley Sales Manager: Chris Keenan E: Tel: 028 9026 4266 Art Editor: Helen Wright Production Manager: Irene Fitzsimmons Ulster Grocer c/o Independent News & Media Ltd, Belfast Telegraph House 33 Clarendon Road Clarendon Dock Belfast BT1 3BG @ulstergrocer Subscriptions: £27.50 per annum £37.50 per annum (outside UK) Designed & Produced by: Independent News & Media Ltd Tel: 028 9026 4000 Printed by: W&G Baird, Antrim Tel: 028 9446 3911

ABC CIRCULATION: 4,420 YEAR TO JUNE 2017 (6,100-PLUS SINCE JUNE 2017) 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.




he latest round of talks aimed at restoring devolution is underway at Stormont, as this February edition of Ulster Grocer goes to print. One year on from the collapse of local government, following the RHI scandal, and we have watched with dismay as partisan politics continue to destroy any chance of reconciliation and deadlines lose all meaning. While the January 2018 round has been described as a final opportunity to restore Northern Ireland’s powersharing government, haven’t we heard this before and is anyone even paying attention anymore? It’s hard to feel optimistic but what else can you do, and perhaps a fresh approach from new Northern Ireland Secretary of State Karen Bradley will get things moving. As is the case for most industries, grocery retailing and the wider agri-food sector is facing issues and challenges currently in a state of suspension alongside local government. Many of these issues are pressing and, without action, could potentially result in consequences ranging from lost opportunities to devastation for the sector. Such issues and challenges include, for example, developing an advantageous Brexit agricultural policy or ensuring potentially destructive elements in the Northern Ireland Budgetary Outlook don’t make it into the actual budget. As covered in our last edition, the local retail sector is particularly concerned over elements of the Outlook concerning regional rates, the Small Business Rate Relief Scheme and carpark charges which could potentially threaten the alreadybeleaguered independent retail sector. As our news pages highlight this month, the retail market is tough, with many of the multiples currently restructuring and streamlining operations – including job cuts – to remain competitive. Getting devolved

government back up and running is vital to ensure such issues can be raised and addressed, before they have a further detrimental impact on high street vacancy figures across Northern Ireland. So, here’s to a final – and successful – round of talks at Stormont… Moving on from partisan politics, plastic packaging has become the latest focus in the retail sector. Highlighted as a major problem for many years now, strong visuals of its consequences on David Attenborough’s popular Blue Planet II programme have heightened awareness. Prime Minister Theresa May subsequently pledged to incorporate measures aimed at reducing unnecessary plastic packaging into the Government’s environmental strategy, while a crossparty group of MPS numbering 200 wrote to Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Asda, Waitrose, Aldi, Lidl, Budgens and Marks & Spencer last month calling for a 2023 target to be set for removing all plastic packaging. Of all the big retailers, Iceland has stuck its neck out and gained major kudos as the first to pledge all its own-brand packaging will be plastic-free by 2023, while packaging on branded products will be not only recyclable but actually recycled! In GB, Waitrose is eliminating use of black plastic – which is not recyclable – in stages. At EU level, meanwhile, the Commission has set a target of making all plastic packaging recyclable by 2030. The pressure is on for packaging manufacturers, food manufacturers packaging their products and the retailers stocking those products to take a look at both their products and environmental claims, and ensure they will withstand scrutiny. See our Focus on Packaging feature inside (ps 34-40) for more information. This month, we are also featuring a preview of IFEX and Meat@IFEX 2018 coming to the Titanic Exhibition Centre next month - and a comprehensive soft drinks feature looking at category trends including Coca-Cola’s new pack line up addressing the forthcoming sugar tax. Enjoy!


NORTH-SOUTH INTERCONNECTOR RETAIL NI EXPECTED TO BOOST NI ECONOMY URGES BY JOHN MULGREW PROGRESS AT STORMONT The interconnector will see 85 miles of overhead lines and pylons connecting Northern Ireland to the Republic.


£200m electricity project linking Northern Ireland and the Republic has been given the green light. The North-South interconnector, which will go through counties Tyrone, Armagh, Cavan, Monaghan and Meath, will meet the energy needs of households and businesses here, it has been claimed. The Northern Ireland element of the scheme was granted approval by the Department for Infrastructure last month, following a review by the Planning Appeals Commission. The project will see 85 miles of overhead cables erected, with work expected to begin this year. Ellvena Graham, president of the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the project has been among “the top infrastructure priorities for our members since 2009”. “We therefore welcome the department’s decision to grant permission for the project despite the lack of an Infrastructure Minister at Stormont,” she said. “It is an action which will significantly speed up the delivery of the project.”

Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said the decision was “excellent news for our economy”. “It is an investment in the future of our energy infrastructure, securing electricity supply and, in the longer term, lower energy bills for our members,” he said. “Despite no minister in place, the Department for Infrastructure made the right call to give full planning permission for this vital scheme.” Roger Pollen of the Federation of Small Business Northern Ireland said the interconnector had the “potential to ensure security of supply, while at the same time creating downward pressure on energy prices and relieving the cost burden on small businesses”. Angela McGowan, director of the Confederation of British Industry in Northern Ireland, said it “represents a critical piece of infrastructure for the Northern Ireland economy. “It offers the potential to secure our electricity supply for years to come, drive down energy prices for everyone and deliver tangible benefits to an array of important sectors,” she said.

ith political talks to restore the Northern Ireland Assembly and Executive reconvening in late January, business groups representing the sectors of retail, hospitality and manufacturing have urged political parties and government to go the extra mile to restore power sharing. In a joint statement, Glyn Roberts, Colin Neill and Stephen Kelly – the chief executives of, respectively, Retail NI, Hospitality Ulster and Manufacturing NI, said: ‘We wish the political parties and two governments every success as the political talks are reconvened. Having no government for over a year, with a care and maintenance administration and emergency budgets has not helped the economy. ‘As we fast approach Brexit, we require an effective local government and political stability to retain existing businesses and attract potential investors. Quite simply, political instability is bad for business. ‘We need our government back to meet head on the challenges of Brexit and to create an environment in which work can be created including reforming business rates, investing in infrastructure and creating world-class skills and training. ‘Our united call on behalf of our members to talks participants is crystal clear: don’t let us down.’

SAINSBURY’S SHAKE-UP COULD LOCAL BUSINESS LEADERS RECOGNISED IN 2018 NEW YEAR AFFECT UP TO 130 POSTS IN NI has announced a management shake-up at its HONOURS supermarkets, including its 14 Northern Ireland stores. Sainsbury’s The retailer is consulting with staff over plans that will see the number of senior in-store posts slimmed down and replaced with fewer management roles. Affected staff, thought to run into the thousands, will be given the choice of applying for the new roles, accepting a more junior position or facing redundancy consultation. A spokeswoman said there were no “job cuts” involved in the announcements. Sainsbury’s said the changes at both its supermarkets and convenience stores are “designed to meet the challenges of today’s retail environment” and will result in a more “efficient” structure.


orthern Ireland business people recognised for their contribution to the economy in the New Year Honours list include Jack Dobson, co-founder of Co Tyrone meat firm Dunbia, who receives an OBE for services to economic development. In the list, he’s described as a group executive director for Dunbia and a consultant to Cranswick (Ballymena) - a subisdiary of UK plc Cranswick, which bought Dunbia’s pork business just over a year ago. Ellvena Graham, president of the NI Chamber of Commerce and Industry, has received an OBE for services to economic development and the advancement of women in business. 5

NEWS TESCO SHARES DOWN DESPITE SOLID XMAS PERFORMANCE Shares in Tesco, which has around 50 stores in Northern Ireland, fell towards the bottom of the FTSE 100 in January, despite reporting a solid rise in sales over the critical Christmas trading period. The supermarket giant said UK likefor-like sales rose by 1.9% in the six weeks to January 6, driven by a strong grocery performance. The four weeks leading up to Christmas Day delivered record sales and volumes in the UK, Tesco said, which helped it notch up a 2.3% rise in third quarter comparable sales. But the figures fell short of analysts’ expectations.

LIDL HAILING BEST EVER CHRISTMAS IN ITS UK STORES Lidl, which has 39 stores in Northern Ireland, has claimed it was the ‘fastest growing supermarket’ over Christmas after booking record festive sales. The German chain said sales rose 16% in December as it experienced its highest ever footfall. December 22 marked a record trading day in Lidl UK’s history, the group said, while the week before Christmas was its ‘strongest ever’. However, it did not give a breakdown of like-for-like sales, again ignoring an industry benchmark used by its peers. There was no separate information on store performance here.



round 50 Tesco staff in Northern Ireland could be affected by the supermarket giant’s latest cuts across the shop floor. Tesco is to axe 1,700 shop floor jobs as part of a cost-cutting drive across the UK. Northern Ireland’s biggest retailer has around 55 stores here. The supermarket said the changes will see the roles of people manager, customer experience manager and compliance manager removed from large stores in an effort to “simplify” its operational structure. “These changes remove complexity and will deliver a simpler, more helpful experience for colleagues and customers,” said Matt Davies, chief executive of Tesco UK and Republic


M&S SUFFERS FESTIVE FALL IN CLOTHING AND FOOD SALES M&S, which has around 20 stores in Northern Ireland, has revealed “mixed” festive trading after another steep fall in sales in its embattled clothing arm and disappointing trading in its food halls. “On-going under-performance” in its food arm saw sales fall 0.4%. The company recently opened a Simply Food outlet at a petrol station at Belfast International Airport, and plans to open another food hall at Craigavon’s Marlborough Retail Park. M&S said a pick up in trading over the key Christmas weeks helped make up for a weak clothing market and more difficult trading in its food business.


of Ireland. “We recognise these are difficult changes to make but they are necessary to ensure our business remains competitive and set up for the future. “Our priority now is to support affected colleagues through these changes in any way we can. We hope to retain as many colleagues as possible in the new roles we have created and in the vacancies we currently have available.” Although the company is doing away with the roles of 1,700 people, it will create 900 new positions. A spokesman confirmed the changes would affect Northern Ireland stores although it’s estimated the number of local staff affected would be small, and it would mainly be in its biggest stores.

Pictured are, from left, Declan McBride, MD, Pop Notch; Joanne Beattie, marketing manager, Valeo; and Zara Lyttle, business support, Valeo Foods.


isburn-based food distributor Valeo Foods has been appointed sole supplier for local popcorn producer Pop Notch across Northern Ireland. This new partnership will support Pop Notch’s growth within the local market while, through additional marketing, opening it to new international markets. Pop Notch was created in 2013 by the McBride family who, recognising growing demand for gourmet-style popcorn,

started out at their kitchen table with an air popper and the ingredients for caramel. “We are delighted to be working with Valeo Foods Northern Ireland as our sales, marketing and distribution partner,” said Declan McBride, managing director of Pop Notch. “Their experience, knowledge and information about the local market is unrivalled and we are excited to develop the opportunity. The team’s attention to detail and professionalism not only gave us tremendous encouragement but has been key in unlocking the doors to many of the sectors we have wished to progress”. Joanne Beattie, marketing manager, Valeo Foods NI, said: “We are excited to work with Pop Notch as they move into their fifth year of business. Their personal story of their home-grown business is a special one, and we want to ensure that everyone gets to taste their unique flavours. Whether you like something classy, like salted-caramel, or something purely fun like marshmallow flavour – we are sure there’s something for everyone to try from this fun and local brand.”



ood processing in Northern Ireland is set to benefit from a major investment to promote and assist transparency throughout the region’s most important manufacturing industry. Flagship research projects, which will drive the international reputation of Northern Ireland food, farming and research, have been awarded close to £2m in a breakthrough for the pioneering Institute of Global Food Security (IGFS) at Queen’s University Belfast and local food and drink producers. The leading-edge projects have received the backing through Agri Food Quest, a collaboration between IGFS, Ulster University and AFBI, funded by Invest Northern Ireland. The flagship projects, which have been granted close to £2m over the next three years, include Food Fortress, a research project initiated in the wake of the 2009 Dioxin crisis in animal feed, which cost the local industry close to £1bn. A new stage of the project will see a diagnostic model extended to detecting and preventing contamination in the Northern Ireland dairy system, and to tracing and tracking locally-produced poultry and pork. The project will continue to be led by Professor Chris



he impact of Brexit on the local fishing industry is to come under the spotlight at Westminster. The Northern Ireland Affairs Committee has announced an inquiry to ‘examine the impact of the UK’s decision to leave the EU on the fisheries industry in Northern Ireland’. It will look at the ‘opportunities and challenges’ that lie ahead for the sector and examine what elements of existing EU fisheries policy help trawlermen, and could be subsequently ‘replicated when the UK government develops an independent fisheries policy’. “Brexit has big implications for the fishing industry in the British

Isles and for the communities that depend on it, towns like Portavogie, Kilkeel and Ardglass,” said Andrew Murrison, Committee chairman. “The UK has decided to extract itself from a framework of fishing quotas, rights to territorial waters and sustainability that has governed the sector since the 1970s. “There are real opportunities for growth, but we must fully understand the complexities in order to secure the right arrangements for Northern Ireland principally, but also to do the right thing by the Republic of Ireland as an enduring member of the EU. “We want to hear from those who work at sea, in processing or any of the other support industries, about their hopes and fears for the future.”

Elliott and will include 10 industry partners, including Finnebrogue, Lakeland, LacPatrick Dairies, Glanbia Cheese, Dale Farm and JMW Farms. Multiple other projects include developing metrics and industry tools to boost sustainability, and systems to improve the safety and traceability for the beef supply chain, fish and rice production. Among business partners are Pepsico, Waitrose, ABP Food group and Cambridge University.

ICELAND STORES PART OF £340M DEALS IN 2017 Five Iceland shops were among more than £340m worth of commercial property deals in Northern Ireland last year. The latest investment bulletin from Lambert Smith Hampton indicated the retail sector dominated again in 2017, following a consistent trend since 2010. Neil McShane, director in the capital markets division at Lambert Smith Hampton, said: “The 2017 figures overall demonstrate the continued attractiveness of the Northern Irish investment market to a variety of investors. However, they also reveal the mixed picture between sectors.”

ASDA EXHIBITS PLANS TO EXTEND WEST BELFAST SITE Asda is hoping to extend its West Belfast superstore by 7,000 square feet in a move that will allow it to cater to more online shoppers. If Asda’s proposals go ahead, the shop will see its total retail space in west Belfast expand to almost 50,000 square feet. And the store, at Westwood Retail Park in Kennedy Way, could feature new ‘click and collect’ parking bays for online shoppers to collect their goods, as well as lockers and covered trolley bays. Kantar Worldpanel recently reported Asda’s share of the supermarket sector here has dropped by 0.7% to 17%, making it the only major multiple to suffer a drop in share. 7




ow in their 30th year, the Ulster Grocer Marketing Awards are an opportunity for companies within the Northern Ireland food sector to shine a light on their successes and achievements. An integral part of the annual GroceryAid Ulster Grocers’ Ball, the awards will take place at the Culloden Estate & Spa on April 27, 2018. From producers to suppliers, wholesalers to individual retail outlets, our diverse range of award categories allows both well-established and up-and-coming companies to enjoy valuable media exposure

and branding across this prestigious event, as well as ongoing editorial coverage throughout the year in Ulster Grocer magazine. The awards are always hard fought with each category well represented and, as a result, are widely regarded as the highest marketing accolade businesses can achieve in the sector. The Ulster Grocer Marketing Awards are recognised as a mark of professionalism and raise the profile of companies, not only winning in their category, but also those short-listed.

AWARDS CATEGORIES LORRAINE HALL YOUNG MARKETEER AWARD The Lorraine Hall Young Marketeer Award will seek to recognise passion and drive among the up-and-coming marketing stars of the future; those who show they have already, in their short careers, made significant contributions to the industry. The judges will look for evidence of a candidate’s success across a variety of marketing challenges, their on-going desire to learn and innovate, and their understanding of the ever-growing array of marketing tools and channels at their disposal. BEST MARKETING CAMPAIGN Best Marketing Campaign could potentially involve a corporate, brand or project campaign and food suppliers, grocery wholesalers and retailers are all eligible to enter. While the subject matter of the campaign may be any aspect of grocery retailing, the marketing campaign should include some or all of the following elements – press, TV, radio, outdoor, in-store POS/merchandising, PR, website, leaflet, digital and SMS activity. BEST BRAND Among the most prestigious and tightly-fought categories, Best Brand welcomes entries outlining marketing activity aimed at building a brand of any size in the Northern Ireland grocery market. The brand could be, but is not limited to, food and drink, and equally could be a retail brand from independent stores through to multiple and discount retailers. Judges will examine the effectiveness of any brandbuilding activity in relation to PR, advertising and marketing campaigns, brand visibility and customer loyalty, and take into account the results achieved in relation to the size of the business. BEST IN-STORE CONSUMER SALES PROMOTION Best In-Store Consumer Sales Promotion could be a standalone promotion by a retailer or supplier. Equally, it could potentially involve a joint promotion between two companies, for example, two manufacturers/brand owners running a cross-promotion on complementary products or a retail group and a manufacturer working together on a promotion. Entries are welcome involving both exclusive single-store promotions and activity running across a group of stores. BEST NEW PRODUCT LAUNCH/RELAUNCH For Best New Product Launch, entries are invited from brand owners outlining their marketing activity to launch any new grocery product (not limited to, but including, food and drink) into the marketplace. This may include any of the following:

press, TV, radio, outdoor, in-store POS/merchandising, PR, website, leaflet, digital and SMS activity. Pre-existing products which have been relaunched with new branding, and a complementary marketing strategy, are also eligible for entry. Please note: this category covers the marketing of new or relaunched products, rather than the new product development process. BEST CSR INITIATIVE/CHARITY PARTNERSHIP Best Corporate Social Responsibility or Charity Partnership is focused on the strength and commitment shown by retailers, producers, wholesalers and suppliers to CSR/charity initiatives and partnerships rather than the marketing of such activity. Open to any business operating in the retail grocery sector, from small producers and independent retailers through to large suppliers and multiple retailers, this category will also be judged on tangible results from the partnerships. GREEN RETAILER OF THE YEAR Green Retailer of the Year is one of only two categories in the Awards (alongside CSR/Charity) which are not judged exclusively on marketing activity. This category is open to retailers of any size from single shop traders to national groups operating in the Northern Ireland market. Entries should outline any environmentally-friendly activity undertaken in grocery retailing from local sourcing through to in-store green initiatives such as LED lighting, solar panels, green management systems and communicating green activity to customers. BEST ARTISAN FOOD PRODUCT CAMPAIGN Introduced to recognise an buoyant category in the local grocery sector, Best Artisan Food Product Campaign recognises that small producers often have limited marketing resources at their disposal but can make clever use of them. This category is open to producers, manufacturers, wholesalers or retailers marketing artisan food, and entries should outline any press, TV, radio, outdoor, in-store POS/ merchandising, PR, website, leaflet, digital and SMS activity. BEST FOOD EXPORT MARKETING Exports are a vital part of the business mix for Northern Ireland producers, and this award recognises efforts to successfully market, gain access and launch local products into international markets (from the Republic of Ireland and Great Britain to the other side of the world). Any local food, drink or other grocery product which has successfully gained access to new markets, secured new customers in existing markets or boosted existing export contracts is eligible for entry.

For an entry form or further information, visit or email Ulster Grocer Manager Chris Keenan at c.keenan@ Entries close on Friday, March 16th. 8


SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES STILL AVAILABLE ACROSS A NUMBER OF CATEGORIES The Ulster Grocer Marketing Awards offer an unparalleled opportunity to raise awareness of your brand through category sponsorship. As a sponsor, you will receive the following package of benefits:


• Full page advertisement in Ulster Grocer • Inclusion in photograph and mention of brand in launch article in Ulster Grocer • Inclusion in photograph and mention of brand in launch article in Belfast Telegraph • Inclusion of your brand in entry-driver and ticket sales print ads in Ulster Grocer • Inclusion of your brand in entry-driver print ads in Belfast Telegraph • A branded post on our social platforms driving entries to your category • Promotion on the Ulster Business website • Logo included within editorial piece


• Two seats at GroceryAid Ulster Grocers’ Ball, Culloden Estate and Spa, April 27 • Main stage screen and side panels branded with your logo • Representative to present award at the event • Logo on shortlist card at each place-setting • Promotional material to be placed in hampers for guests at event • Photographic opportunities • Social media coverage


• • • • •

Editorial coverage in the Ulster Grocer special event feature in May/June including: Branding A message from the sponsor Event photographs Mention in editorial coverage in Belfast Telegraph

To find out more about sponsorship opportunities, please contact Ulster Grocer Manager Chris Keenan on 028 9026 4267 or 9


RETAIL NI CALLS ON NEW SECRETARY OF STATE TO RESTORE DEVOLUTION R etail NI has welcomed the appointment of Karen Bradley as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and has urged her to hit the ground running to restore devolution. The business group also wished James Brokenshire, who stood down from the role in January due to health issues, a speedy recovery and all the very best for the future. “Karen Bradley must hit the ground running in an renewed effort to restore devolution and avoid direct rule,” said

Glyn Roberts, chief executive of Retail NI. “Her appointment will hopefully give new momentum to an intensive talks process which leads to the Executive being reestablished. “Our members are beyond frustration at the continuing political deadlock and lack of a government. We will never be able to fully move our economy forward while we have this level of political instability.” In its New Year message, Retail NI meanwhile described 2017 as a wasted

year for local politics and urged the parties to redouble their efforts to reestablish an Executive. “Of immediate concern for Retail NI is the Finance Briefing Paper on the Northern Ireland Budgetary Outlook 2018-2020, which was released before Christmas,” said Roberts. “We are completely opposed to several of the revenue-raising options put forward in this paper in relation to the Regional Rate, Small Business Rate Relief Scheme and Car Parking charges.”



he Fairtrade Foundation is inviting businesses to get involved in Fairtrade Fortnight 2018 and help get a fair deal for farmers and producers in developing countries. Fairtrade Fortnight takes place between February 26 and March 11. The theme of Come on in to Fairtrade encourages the British public to enter the world of the farmers and producers behind the Fairtrade products we know and love from bananas and coffee to gold and cotton. To help businesses promote

Fairtrade Fortnight, the Foundation has produced a range of assets which can be downloaded from the Fairtrade Foundation website. Whether it’s promoting Fairtrade Fortnight instore, promoting on social media or supporting a local campaign group, there are a number of ways for businesses to get involved. Additionally The Foundation is hoping Fairtrade Fortnight will inspire more businesses to consider getting involved with Fairtrade. There are a number of ways in which businesses can work with Fairtrade from buying

commodities on Fairtrade terms from producers to selling Fairtrade products to customers or serving Fairtrade products to employees and colleagues. “In 2017 we saw an amazing level of engagement from businesses during Fairtrade Fortnight – we hope even more will get involved this year,” said Euan Venters, commercial director at the Fairtrade Foundation. “There’s never been a more important time to stand with producers - and to welcome more people – supporters, producers, businesses - into Fairtrade.”



astledawson-based craft bakery Ditty’s has launched Irish Apple Oatcakes using rolled oats from Co Armagh infused with dry Irish cider from the same county. The company, headed by Robert Ditty, a former UK Baker of the Year, is using Irish cider from Mac Ivors of Portadown, another award-winning Northern Irish business. “I’ve been working on the new Irish apple oatcakes for several years as part of a longstanding focus on other local ingredients,” said Ditty. “I wanted to create an oatcake using locally-sourced apples from Armagh, Northern Ireland’s ‘orchard county’, famed for its production of Armagh Bramley Apples, which have EU PGI accreditation. “It’s taken time to get the balance and 10

flavour right between our traditional buttermilk and the Irish cider. I believe that we’ve created a delicious oatcake with a definite Armagh apple flavour. “We’ve just launched the product as part of our existing and successful portfolio of handcrafted oatcakes to a select number of customers in Great Britain as well as Northern Ireland. The response has been very positive.” Ditty is a second-generation artisan baker, committed to using local ingredients in his products where possible. He uses local artisan producers such as traditional smoke-houses, organic dairies and local farmers to offer a broad range of speciality biscuits, pastries, breads and savoury foods. Ditty’s Bakery employs over 70 people.



Pictured at the Henderson Group’s headquarters in Mallusk are Mark Adrain, director, Henderson Group Property; Justine McGreevy, head of the Academy, Henderson Group; and Mark McCammond, director of Retail, Henderson Retail.


wo Henderson Group companies have been awarded gold and standard accreditation by Investors in People. Henderson Retail and Henderson Group Property have gained the Gold and Standard awards respectively, demonstrating their commitment to high performance through good people management.

Henderson Retail, which was also named Convenience Retailer of the Year at the recent Retail Industry Awards in London, owns and operates over 80 SPAR and EUROSPAR stores and supermarkets across communities in Northern Ireland. Henderson Group Property offers a team of specialists providing full service from acquisition to project management.

The in-house team acquires state-of-theart, award-winning sites, and oversees the development of retail outlets from forecourts to neighbourhood retail schemes throughout Northern Ireland. Investors in People is an international standard for people management, defining what it takes to lead, support and manage people effectively to achieve sustainable results. Underpinning the Standard is the Investors in People framework, reflecting the latest workplace trends, essential skills and effective structures required to outperform in any industry. “We’re delighted to see our Property and Retail divisions awarded these significant accreditations against the Investors in People Standard,” said Justine McGreevey, head of The Academy at the Henderson Group. “As we continue to grow our workforce as one of the top employers in Northern Ireland, this accreditation demonstrates our commitment to always put our people first.”





K food wholesaler the Booker Group has reported strong results for the 16 weeks to December 29, with total sales up 3.4% including a 5.9% increase in non-tobacco sales, with tobacco sales falling by 2.6%. Both the Catering and Retail sides of Booker made good progress, according to the Group, with Premier continuing to grow, and Budgens and Londis performing well. Further, Booker began supplying Shell and MRH forecourt businesses in December 2017, while Internet sales increased by 14% to £381m (excluding Budgens and Londis) and Booker India continues to make progress. Following the announcement on January 27, 2017 of a planned merger with Tesco plc, Booker said it would not be making any forward-looking statements for the duration of the offer period. Unconditional clearance of the merger was published by the Competition and Markets Authority on December 20, 2017 while a shareholder vote is expected to approve the merger towards the end of February 2018. “We are pleased with our retail performance and we had a good Christmas,” said Steve Fox, managing director – Retail. “We worked hard with suppliers and maintain strong availability and remain committed to helping our customers make more and save more.”

hopper footfall declined by 3.1% in Northern Ireland in December compared to a 2.4% decline in November, marking seven months of consecutive decline, according to the latest figures supplied by Springboard. Covering the period November 26 to December 30, the figures are below the three-month average decrease of 3.9%, but higher than the 12-month decrease of 2.5%. High Street and retail parks both saw a decline of 3.1%, while footfall in shopping centres decreased by 3.2%. “These figures are indicative of how challenging and uncertain 2017 has been for both the retail industry and for consumers,” said Aodhán Connolly, director, Northern Ireland Retail Consortium. “Political instability, the enormity of Brexit unfolding, disposable incomes being squeezed, and ongoing profound changes in the way people shop have all added to the uncertainty. “If this past year has taught us anything, it’s that change and uncertainty may be the only certainty for 2018. We know too that retailers are resilient and adaptable.” Diane Wehrle, marketing and insights director, Springboard, said: “There was a similar rate of decline in footfall across the destination types in Northern Ireland, contrasting with the UK where high streets and shopping centres struggled more in attracting customers than retail parks. The slightly stronger performance of retail parks across the UK reflected the rise in online activity in December, which drives click and collect trips, and the better trading performance of food stores versus non-food retailers.” 11


GIN SALES HIT £36M IN WEEK BEFORE CHRISTMAS While overall supermarket grocery sales for Christmas 2017 were flat, according to IRI, expenditure on gin rose 45% year-on-year to £36m in the week to Saturday, December 23. Equating to 2.2 million bottles, the gin boom also boosted values sales of mixers, up 30%, contributing to a 5.9% increase in total soft drinks sales. Sales of sparkling wine – including Prosecco – over the same period declined by 1.1% in value and 1.6% in volume but still equated to 8.8 million bottles. IRI also said consumers spent £13.9bn on FMCG products in supermarkets over the five weeks before Christmas, a 1.9% increase on 2016 but, with inflation taken into account, food value sales were flat.

ASDA LAUNCHES MAJOR ROLL BACK CAMPAIGN Asda launched a major rollback campaign last month, cutting the price of over a thousand products including shopping basket essentials across 645 stores. According to the multiple retailer, customers can save an average of £14.13 on typical shopping basket items, with price cuts in almost every aisle across products such as Asda 4 Battered Cod Fillets, Properly Pepped Up Protein Mix and Sweet BBQ Pulled Pork. Meanwhile, 2017 sales data from Asda suggests, in the produce category, bananas remained the most-purchased piece of fruit & veg, whilst strawberries, blueberries and raspberries saw the greatest uplift in popularity.

ASDA AND DRINKAWARE FORM NI PARTNERSHIP Asda NI and Drinkaware, the UK’s leading alcohol education charity, have worked together to provide free information and advice on alcohol to the local community. Events took place at Asda stores in Enniskillen, Portadown, Antrim, Dundonald, Strabane, and at Shore Road on January 12, with a Drinkaware stand set-up at the store to give customers the opportunity to access friendly advice and to ask questions. The 2018 partnership builds on a successful January 2017 pilot which saw Drinkaware engage with more than 2,000 Asda customers. 12

LIDL TAPS INTO NEW YEAR HEALTHY EATING GOALS L idl has introduced a new range of healthy foods, alongside workout equipment, cooking appliances and yoga wear, in its 38 stores across Northern Ireland. Available from January 2, the new range is available while stocks last, and includes the popular HealthyCo’s Proteinella Chocolate Hazelnut Spread and new flavour Proteinella White Chocolate Spread, a tasty chocolate spread with no added sugar, no palm oil and with added protein. Organic Crunchy and Creamy Peanut Butter, meanwhile, contains 99% peanuts and salt and is said to be ideal for baking or as a healthy snack, and Belgian Chocolate with No Added Sugar is available in Milk Chocolate, Hazelnut and Dark Chocolate.

New to the range is Protein Coffee in Cappuccino and Vanilla flavour, Protein Crisps in Paprika, Sea Salt and Sour Cream and Organic Almond and Organic Coconut Milk. For those sticking to a diet programme, the Weight Watchers range contains both sweet and savoury meals with a mix and match 3 for 4 deal on all products such as Dessert Chocolate Brownies, Chicken Curry Ready Meal, Cottage Pie and Caramel Crunch Dessert. For those on an alternative diet, there is a selection of Quorn products with a mix and match deal 3 for 5 including Cheese & Broccoli Escalope, Swedish Meat Balls and Southern Style Burger.

NATURO RANGE GAINS FURTHER LISTINGS WITH UK-WIDE SAINSBURY’S C o Armagh business Mackle Pet Foods has doubled its distribution into Sainsbury’s stores, building on the 19 Naturo products it already supplies to the retailer. From January, its new Naturo Grain Free Trays Variety 6 pack and Grain & Gluten Free Cans Variety 6 packs and an existing line, Grain Free Chicken & Potato with vegetables trays, will be supplied to over 1,400 Sainsbury’s stores in the UK. A creator of high-quality pet food for over 45 years, Mackle’s brands include Brandy and Cat Club which are distributed across Ireland and the UK, and Naturo, which is exported to 14

countries, including the UK, Europe, Dubai and Iran. “The launch of the two new product lines mean that natural pet food is more accessible for pet owners, who are looking to purchase healthy pet food from the supermarket at the same time as shopping for their family,” said Claire McNally, marketing manager for Naturo. “We recognise and have responded to the demand for high quality, grain free products by consumers, with the two new ranges of grain free, and grain and gluten free, both of which are ideal for dogs with digestive and health issues.” Sainsbury’s is also the first UK retailer to stock Naturo grain free wet cat food range in 400 of its stores.

MY LIFE IN THE GROCERY TRADE ALASTAIR BELL, OWNER/MANAGER OF THE IRISH BLACK BUTTER COMPANY coincidentally, I sold the first jar on the beach! WHAT IS THE BEST THING ABOUT BEING INVOLVED WITH THE LOCAL RETAIL INDUSTRY? To date, I have benefitted from great advice and guidance. I have found people very helpful, offering pointers and showing a real willingness to help me at the start of this Irish Black Butter adventure. WHAT IS YOUR CURRENT ROLE? I am the owner manager of The Irish Black Butter Company, a new business specialising in savoury/sweet spread for retail and foodservice. The product is made from Armagh bramley apples, treacle, spices and a touch of brandy. BRIEFLY OUTLINE YOUR EMPLOYMENT HISTORY TO DATE Since graduating from the University of Ulster at Jordanstown, I have held various posts within the public sector ranging from finance to administration. In the private sector, I have worked in distribution, event management, vending and - more recently - running a niche farm model customisation business. WHAT DOES YOUR ROLE INVOLVE? At The Irish Black Butter Company, my role involves organising and managing stock, sales, distribution, marketing and finance. Added to these are content creation and dissemination on social

media, and attending meetings and networking events. I also conduct sampling of Irish Black Butter at events. WHAT ARE THE BEST/WORST PARTS OF YOUR JOB? Best parts are meeting people, and introducing them to Irish Black Butter - even more so when they give positive feedback and purchase or place orders. Worst part - driving between calls and can’t find a decent tune on the radio. BRIEFLY OUTLINE A TYPICAL DAY There is no typical day so far. There is variety from time spent at the computer or on the phone, organising calls, attending calls. Usually at some point most days, I will be engaging on social media to help drive awareness of Irish Black Butter and reinforce places where the product is available. WHAT HAS BEEN THE PROUDEST MOMENT OF YOUR CAREER TO DATE? The arrival of the first pallet of Irish Black Butter jars and the first photo shoot at The Whiterocks when,

WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO TO UNWIND AWAY FROM WORK? I like to sit down and put on a CD containing relaxing music and birdsong with the sound of stream water or waves lapping gently on some peaceful sunny beach. It’s great just to unwind and let the energy of the day slowly slip away and physically and mentally chill. I also like walking around the local coast, experiencing the beauty, energy and vastness of the sea and our surroundings. TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT YOURSELF THAT NOT MANY PEOPLE MAY KNOW I collect model tractors and organise model tractor shows. My interest in farming developed from early years on the family farm when I was interested in Corgi, Dinky and Britains tractors. This interest was rediscovered in adulthood when show models and limited-edition model tractors from Holland, Germany and the US were the catalyst for a hobby which led to organising the first model tractor show in Ireland and subsequently in running a niche farm model customisation business.




orthern Ireland’s soft drinks sales, including sports and energy drinks, are forecast to grow by 1.2% year on year to €448.7m (£390.6m) in 2017, according to the latest report by Mintel. Continued growth in consumer prices for soft drinks has helped to boost the sales value for NI, with soft drinks sales most likely to occur in off-trade channels (eg supermarkets, convenience stores), making this the main route to market for soft drinks brands. Sports and energy drinks are the main driver of soft drinks sales, with sales in the category increasing by 2.6% on an all-Ireland basis between 2016 and 2017. However, juice remains the largest category within the soft drinks market. MARKET FACTORS Weight continues to have a significant impact on Irish consumers’ health, with six in 10 Northern Irish consumers said to be overweight or obese (Health Survey NI 2016), and a quarter of NI children aged 2-15 classed as being overweight or obese in 2016 (Department of Health NI). Sugar-sweetened drinks are seen as a leading contributor to obesity, with the Chief Medical Officer in the UK (March 2016), the British Heart Foundation (March 2016) and the Obesity Alliance (December 2016) agreeing that sugarsweetened soft drinks are the single largest source of sugar for children and teenagers. SUGAR TAXES BEING INTRODUCED IN 2018 The UK, including NI, will introduce a Soft Drinks Industry Levy (SDIL) that will see an 18p levy introduced on soft drinks that have 5g of sugar per 100ml and a 24p levy added to those that contain 8g or more per 100ml. The SDIL will also be introduced in April 2018. SOFT DRINK PRICES INCREASING IN UK The introduction of the sugar tax in the UK (and RoI )in April 2018 will likely see prices of soft drinks increase. Additionally,

sterling’s weakness against the euro and other major currencies since the UK voted to leave the EU will see the costs of transportation and importing key ingredients increase. The upward pressure on prices could see soft drinks brands come under pressure as Irish consumers reduce their consumption of soft drinks. Consumers may also switch to lowercost own-label variants, providing growth opportunities for discount retailers, particularly in NI as cash-constrained consumers look to manage their household grocery budgets. CONSUMER TRENDS Six in 10 NI consumers surveyed in September 2017 had bought bottled water in the last month, making it the most popular soft drink overall in terms of usage. The desire among Irish consumers to lead healthier lifestyles has helped boost overall usage of bottled waters. NI consumers continue to be more prolific users of concentrates such as cordial and squash, with RoI consumers somewhat less likely to use these types of non-carbonates due to the consumer perception that these products have high levels of sugar and are highly processed. Some 48% of NI consumers had drunk standard cola in the last month, while 46% of NI consumers had drunk diet or zero-sugar colas; highlighting the market

dominance of brands such as Coke and Pepsi. Men were found to be likely to use standard colas and non-colas, while women exhibited higher usage of diet carbonates; being more likely to worry about their diet and health. Mature consumers also indicated overall lower usage of full-sugar drinks, and were most likely to avoid too much sugar for health reasons. Energy drinks saw strongest usage among younger consumers, with opportunities for added functionality such as protein to appeal to those who regularly engage in sports and fitness activities. 2017 SEES CONSUMERS CUT BACK ON SUGARY DRINKS Almost six in 10 NI consumers noted they are more likely to avoid sugary carbonated drinks in 2017 compared to 2016, with consumers in mature age groups more likely to agree. Half of consumers also noted drinking more tap water, likely motivated in part by trying to reduce their intake of sugary drinks, but also to reduce the amount of packaging they waste. NI consumers were 10 percentage points more likely than RoI consumers to have shopped for soft drinks in pound shops/ euro stores in the last 12 months, highlighting the impact of increased costs of living in NI in 2017. Some 79% of NI consumers noted that they would be interested in a moneyback bottled return scheme for soft drinks, thinking it would help to reduce packaging waste, with women in Ireland being more inclined than men to agree as such. Despite three quarters of consumers noting they feel drinks manufacturers need to do more to reduce sugar content in soft drinks, four in 10 consumers note that they feel overall taste is more important than containing low sugar.


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he Government’s tax on sugarsweetened soft drinks will come into effect from April 6, 2018 and, as a direct result of this tax, the price per litre of Coca-Cola Classic will increase from that date. The no-sugar options in the Coca-Cola range, Coca-Cola Zero Sugar and Diet Coke, are not affected by the sugarsweetened drinks tax. In fact, Coca-Cola’s extensive reformulation of its drinks over the past two years means that the majority of the company’s portfolio is exempt from the imminent government tax on sugar-sweetened drinks. It also means that Coca-Cola HBC is now the market leader in sales of zero sugar drinks on the island of Ireland. Ahead of the introduction of this new sugar tax, the company has decided to introduce a new pack line-up to ensure


that consumers continue to have clear and simple choices when it comes to choosing the drinks they want to buy. NEW PACK LINE-UP From February 2018, shoppers will start to see some changes to their pack line-up across the Coca-Cola range in advance of the implementation of the sugar sweetened soft drinks tax. The new line-up offers greater choice to consumers and customers, thanks to an increased range of reduced sugar drinks, and the introduction of new smaller, more convenient pack sizes for Coca-Cola Classic. The changes are also in keeping with the company’s marketing strategy to ‘Hero Zero’, which encourages shoppers to ‘Choose No Sugar’ options. IMPULSE CONSUMPTION: The full Coca-Cola range will continue to be available in 500ml bottles, Coca-Cola’s most popular pack with consumers. The 330ml can will also remain available in the full range. From April 2018, CocaCola Classic consumers will also be able to choose a new smaller, more convenient

pack size with the introduction of a sleek new 250ml slimline can and a 375ml (PET) bottle. TAKE-HOME: To increase value and availability of zero sugar options in ‘take home’ offerings, Diet Coke and CocaCola Zero will increase to a 2-litre pack and Coca-Cola Classic will be available in a 1.5-litre pack size. These packs will replace the existing 1.75-litre packs. The full Coca-Cola range will continue to be available in 1.2-litre bottles. In line with the changes to the single bottles, twin packs will change. Twin packs of Coca-Cola Classic will be available in 2 x 1.5-litre bottles, alongside twin packs of the zero sugar colas in 2 x 2-litre bottles. The range of multipack cans will also undergo changes. Coca-Cola Classic multipacks will be available in 4-pack, 6-pack, 10-pack and 20-pack cans. Zeros and Diets will be available in 4-pack, 8-pack, 12-pack and 24-pack cans. The new recommended sale prices (RSP) will reflect the spirit of the Government’s sugar-sweetened drinks tax, with the tax applied in line with the defined rates for drinks with greater than 5g sugar per 100ml, and drinks with more than 8g of sugar per 100ml. However, as always, the on-shelf price of our products is at the discretion of our retail and wholesale partners.

SOFT DRINKS reduce sugar across its sparkling flavours, adult mixers, still and energy drinks, the recipe for Coca-Cola Classic will remain unchanged. As one of the few drinks within the portfolio that will be subject to the soft drinks levy, Coca-Cola Classic is an iconic drink that has been enjoyed by people for more than 130 years and will keep the great taste that people love. As the number one brand across the globe, it has also retained the top spot of ‘Checkout Top 100 brands’ here in Ireland for more than a decade and delivers more than €100m in value to the grocery channel annually. [2] Matthieu explains: “People love the taste of Coca-Cola Classic and have told us not to change it. However, our research did reveal that our consumers wanted greater options to help manage their sugar intake, and these LIGHTS-LEADERSHIP Across the island of Ireland, Coca-Cola HBC smaller, more convenience pack sizes in Coca-Cola Classic will allow them to do sells more low- and no-sugar beverages just that. than any other company. It also has the fastest growing non-sugar soft drinks COCA-COLA’S COMMITMENT TO portfolio in the market, driven by CocaCONSUMERS - REFORMULATION Cola Zero and Fanta Zero. [1] This has been achieved through extensive AND ACCELERATED GROWTH OF ‘ZERO SUGAR’ OFFERINGS reformulation of its portfolio to reduce sugar while retaining the same great taste. The changes that will be made across Coca-Cola’s pack line-up come in addition The company is also delivering against its to the extensive reformulation efforts commitment to increase availability and across the whole portfolio to reduce sugar demand for its ‘zero’ sugar options. while innovating to introduce great tasting Since 2010, Coca-Cola has reduced zero sugar options. sugar across its portfolio on the island of Following initial reformulation of Fanta Ireland by approximately 13% and currently Orange in 2017, it will undergo further more than 60% of the sales volume of its products contain less than 5g sugar/100ml. sugar reduction ahead of April 2018 to bring the sugar content below 5g per This work is part of ongoing efforts 100ml. Furthermore Sprite, which is across the globe to respond to consumer already a mid-calorie drink, will move to needs and will also help to reduce the zero sugar in Q1 2018. impact of the new government tax on Thanks to these efforts, both Fanta sugar-sweetened drinks on retailers Orange and Sprite will be exempt from the and consumers alike. This tax will be soft drinks levy. implemented on April 1 in the Republic of As the core Schweppes range continues Ireland and April 6 in Northern Ireland. to deliver growth in the category, all key variants will be reformulated to reduce COCA-COLA CLASSIC – A FIRM sugar to less than 5g sugar per 100ml. The FAVOURITE new lower sugar recipes for Tonic, Bitter While extensive recipe changes have been underway across the Coca-Cola portfolio to Lemon, Elderflower, and Ginger Ale will Commenting on the new pack lineup Matthieu Seguin, general manager, Coca-Cola HBC Ireland and Northern Ireland, explains: “The Government’s tax on sugar-sweetened soft drinks will come into effect in April 2018 and, as a direct result of this tax, the price per litre of Coca-Cola Classic will increase. In response to this, we are introducing new pack sizes, helping those who still want Coca-Cola Classic to choose the right pack size for them, while providing affordable options. We believe that our approach will meet the needs of our consumers, keeping their choices clear and simple, and giving them what they want. “We also know that our consumers want to manage their sugar intake and this has driven our approach to reformulation and new product development. We have consistently diversified our portfolio and reduced the sugar across our range. The majority of the drinks we sell are now lower in sugar - except for the muchloved Coca-Cola Classic and some of our energy drinks and mixers, which remain unchanged. “In line with our ongoing ‘Hero Zero’ marketing strategy, we will also offer greater value and choice across our ‘zero sugar’ options, which are exempt from the soft drinks levy.”

ensure that they remain tax exempt, and affordable, across 1-litre (PET) bottles, 150ml cans and the new 4 x 200ml glass packs. Other changes include a move to fully zero sugar recipes for Coca-Cola Zero Cherry, and the Oasis range is now low in sugar and calories. In 2018, all flavour extensions for Coca-Cola, Fanta and Sprite will be zero sugar variants, continuing the drive to encourage more consumers to try our zero sugar variants, while having a great tasting range of drinks to choose from. The business’s energy portfolio has also changed to ensure continued growth in the expanding zero segment. Coca-Cola HBC is the leader in lights for the energy category, with Monster Ultra driving the growth of the ‘zero sugar energy’ category overall. [3] This will continue into 2018 with an extension of the zero offerings across the Monster range. This focus on reformulation and growth of ‘zero’ offerings has contributed to an overall 5% sugar reduction across our portfolio in the last year alone across the island of Ireland. [1] Nielsen IOI Total Value Sales Low Cal/ Zero SSD ex mixers December 2017 MAT 2 Nielsen IOI Total Value Sales inc Dunnes and Discounters December 2017 MAT 3 Nielsen IOI Total Value Sales Low Cal/ Zero Energy Category December 2017 MAT 17




ith the energy drinks segment experiencing continued success in the market, Monster, the meanest energy drink on the planet, is primed to capture this incremental growth for retailers. Thanks to new innovations and a continued drive behind its low-sugar offerings, the brand experienced 56.1% value growth across Northern Ireland in 2017.[2] Capitalising on the success of the ‘zero sugar’ energy segment, Monster Hydro, launched in June 2017, offers a lower-sugar energy option for those on the go. The non-carbonated drink benefits from Monster’s unique energy blend and is available in three awesome flavours: Tropical Thunder, Mean Green and Manic Melon. All variants are powered by Glucose and contain 25mg of caffeine and just 4.6g of sugar per 100ml, and therefore will be exempt from the approaching soft drinks levy to be implemented in April 2018. Complementing Monster Energy’s range as an everyday pick-me-up, Hydro comes in a 550ml resealable wide mouth PET bottle. The clear packaging carries 18

the iconic Monster claw logo as part of its design and format. Kicking off in February 2018, Monster Hydro will launch a national promotion to win the Ultimate Adventure Trip to South Africa. The once-in-a-lifetime trip will see the winner visit exotic locations to take part in extreme activities from abseiling to shark cage diving. This high-profile prize will increase transactions, while attracting new people to the brand. With continued marketing investment planned for Hydro, 2018 will see an increase in sampling by the Monster team to drive trial, while ongoing digital communications and campaigns will keep the brand top of mind. A local personality will soon be announced to join Mark Cavendish, professional road cyclist, as brand ambassador for Monster Hydro. Hydro is expected to follow in the footsteps of the success of Monster Ultra, the energy drink that offers a lightertasting, zero calorie energy drink with the iconic Monster blend. Since its launch across the island of Ireland, Monster Ultra has experience unparalleled growth and

is responsible for the overall growth of the ‘zero sugar energy’ category.[3] “The growth of the energy segment offers a huge opportunity for Monster Energy, as it continues to expand its offerings,” said Peter Hughes, marketing manager. “We also know that our consumers are increasingly looking for lower sugar options and, with a growing range of options, including the new Hydro range and the existing success of Ultra variants, Monster is primed to capture this incremental growth for retailers. “We are excited about the plans in place to support Hydro throughout 2018. With our dynamic brand plans, once-in-a-lifetime promotional prizes, and the recruitment of a relevant new ambassador, I’m confident that Monster will continue to lead the segment throughout the year.” [1] Nielsen IOI Total Value Sales Low Cal/ Zero Energy Category December 2017 MAT [2] Nielsen NI Total Vaue Sales December 2017 MAT [3] Nielsen IOI Total Value Sales Low Cal/ Zero Energy Category December 2017 MAT




olvic, the popular water brand from Danone, is kicking off the new year with a heavyweight marketing campaign. The digitalled initiative will be using fun, targeted content to encourage shoppers to stick to their New Year’s resolutions while keeping hydrated. The activity coincides with the launch of a new, sleek bottle shape for the Volvic plain portfolio. The new 50cl bottle is available to retailers nationwide from January and, in addition, the brand will roll out a 75cl format later in 2018, lending itself perfectly to sporting and travel occasions thanks to its handy sports cap. The campaign will also feature the Volvic Touch of Fruit Sugar Free variants Summer Fruit and Watermelon, both of which were launched recently. The campaign includes digital, social media and sampling and forms part of the brand’s multi touchpoint media investment of £3.8m in 2018. “Many people go into January with New Year’s resolutions to be

healthier or achieve new goals,” said Tom Hickton, brand lead on Volvic UK & Ireland. “We know, however, that as many as 54% don’t keep these resolutions beyond the first six months. Our Q1 campaign is all about finding One Resolution You Can Stick To. We want to inspire the nation to find their inner strength to stay on track to achieve their goals, and we’re looking to encourage them to choose Volvic as their brand of choice to stay hydrated along the way. “We’re also excited to present the fresh, distinctive bottle shape across the Volvic plain 50cl and the brand new 75cl formats. We know that shape, functionality, look and feel of a water bottle are all important considerations for shoppers within this category. Initial research has shown that the new design delivers fantastically against these attributes. We recommend that retailers stock up on the 50cl format now to meet demand and look out for the 75cl Volvic plain bottle later this year.”

BOOST CELEBRATES 15 YEARS IN NORTHERN IRELAND I n 2018, Boost is celebrating 15 fantastic years on the shelves of NI convenience stores and the brand is planning to celebrate with the retailers helping with its success to date. “Boost today is the number one soft drink brand in NI convenience*,” said Simon Gray, founder and MD of Boost. As Champion of the Independents, it’s a position we want to hold onto, continuing to grow the brand ahead of market. “Walk into a convenience store in NI today and Boost has just as much presence as any other brand. We are leading the way with our range, taste and price. In NI, consumers don’t just buy one Boost when they walk into the shop, they pick up cans in twos or threes – and we love them for that!” 20

Boost has announced to its customers that it is planning to celebrate its 15 years in the local market by giving away 50 Boost branded fridges to 50 lucky retailers in a promotion that will run through Boost’s key wholesalers. Consumer celebrations are also well underway; Boost is collaborating with university students to design a bespoke can that will be launched on a short run with an experiential programme in the autumn. Both the branded fridge giveaway and bespoke can form part of a yearlong celebration of Boost in NI.

Simon Gray, founder and MD of Boost.

*IRI Marketplace Data Symbols and Independents 52 weeks unit and value sales to 10th Sept 2017




t won’t be long now until the UK Guild of Fine Food opens to entries in the annual Great Taste awards. Of course I appreciate that local companies, both large and small, are just getting over what appears to have been a very busy and successful Christmas and New Year period and may not be ready to think about the awards but the deadline for entries is looming. In fact, the deadline for Guild of Fine Food member companies… and there are a number in Northern Ireland… opened on January 17. Food and drink businesses, which aren’t members of the Guild, are able to enter between February 1-16. All entries are made on-line. So, it’s time to get those applications ready and lodged well ahead of closing deadlines. Ulster Grocer readers will all know by now that Northern Ireland really does punch above its weight in Great Taste. While it’s a tough competition, the black and gold Great Taste award sticker is certainly well worth having on a product, because it’s now recognised as a sign of premium quality and outstanding taste. We’ve won the supreme title on three separate occasions and collected thousands of gold stars over the past decade. Many of the successful have also gone on to win business from buyers in

major retailers who are always interested in new tastes for their shoppers. I’d hope to see the top award returning again in 2018, building on the remarkable achievements of Peter Hannan of Hannan Meats and George McCartney of McCartney’s Butchers, both based in Moira. I know we have the ambitious and confident companies and original products for even greater success in 2018. I’ve certainly seen - and enjoyed - some very exciting food and drink products on visits to our 450 member companies and also at fairs I attended during 2017. Original and delicious products are being created across most sectors and have attracted the attention of food writers from Britain and the Republic. Some of the most respected writers in Britain now regard Northern Ireland as a source of best and tastiest products in the British Isles. And we continue to attract top international chefs keen to sample what we now can offer them to help create exciting and adventurous menus for discerning diners. A number of these featured in our showcases of Northern Ireland’s great food and drink at major shows in Britain such as the Speciality and Fine Food Fair


Irwin’s Bakery staff members David Holmes, Ruth Sloan, Caragh Mullan, Karen Nixon and Rachel Campbell are pictured with Irwin’s Bakery Executive Chairman Brian Irwin and Cancer Focus NI Corporate Fundraising Manager Rosie Forsythe.


rwin’s Bakery has presented Cancer Focus NI with a donation of £20,000 to mark the end of a busy year of

fundraising activity. From pink Jammy Joey packaging during Breast Cancer Awareness Month

in London and BBC Good Food Winter Show in Birmingham. Our presentation attracted top retail and foodservice buyers who were impressed by our haul of Great Taste good stars and interesting in doing business with producers. Remember too that entries are limited strictly to 13,000. So, it’s important to get in early because the competition now draws contenders from well beyond the UK and Republic of Ireland. It’s strictly first come, first entered on the journey to greater success.

to a sponsored cycle in memory of a colleague, Irwin’s support for the charity has not only focused on raising money. A key aspect of the partnership has also included increasing awareness amongst staff of the signs and symptoms of cancer, as well as providing information about what lifestyle changes to make to improve health. “As a local supplier, Irwin’s Bakery is passionate about giving back to the local community,” said Ruth Sloan from Irwin’s Bakery. “Cancer Focus NI provides a vital service for those diagnosed with cancer – and it is a cause which is close to the heart of many of our employees. “Irwin’s is delighted to be able to present the donation to Cancer Focus NI – and we would like to thank all of our staff for their enthusiasm and commitment to raising such an impressive amount of money.” Irwin’s Bakery will continue to support Cancer Focus NI in 2018. 21




n the competitive retail market of 2018, it’s more important than ever to have feet going through the door in the symbols and multiples. PRL In-Market Solutions have been managing sales teams on a full-time and tactical basis since 1995 for some of the UK and Ireland’s largest blue-chip companies. In that time, the importance of sales reps has not declined, but their in-store activities have flexed to match the needs of the retailer. The modern market is not dependent on reps actively selling in bulk orders, but rather influencing the right category range for specific stores, using category management to ensure the right space for products and utilising in-store theatre and display to drive rate of sale, resulting in consumer demand driving cases through warehouses. In terms of historical norms, selling in is out, selling out is in! We measure success of our sales contracts through constant review, both internally and directly with the client. This ongoing review drives continuous improvement, not just in our results, but also in the methods we use to achieve them. When looking back, we track progress under four main headlines: Core Range Distribution, NPD and Sales Blitzes, Merchandising and In-Store Theatre and Category Management. CORE RANGE DISTRIBUTION When setting up a new sales contract, our first port of call is to form a core range, made up of our clients’ key SKUs, which should be stocked across our call file. By driving an increase in core-range distribution, not only do we boost sales volume, but we also have a direct impact on share of space and brand visibility. PRL In-Market Solutions has been working with both pladis and KP Snacks since 2009. Both decided to form different ranges across various categories to encourage cross-category growth, but also to set a focus range each year dependant on market trends and internal targets. For pladis, the focus has been biscuits, where we have an active core 22

range of 25 SKUs. Our team of field development reps have managed to drive year-on-year growth over the past two years, with distribution rising over 4.5% over this period. In fact, 2017 ended on a high with the team managing to accomplish 93.2% DISTRIBUTION across this range, meaning stores on average had 23.3 out of 25 of these key SKUs! Pladis’ NI business account manager was obviously delighted with these results and gave the following feedback on 2017, and his working partnership with PRL: “Pladis (McVitie’s & Jacobs) have been working jointly with PRL and their highlytrained, dedicated and motivated sales team for the past eight years to drive our core range distribution in the NI symbol market. PRL have consistently achieved our stretching targets and, in 2017, our core range distribution reached record levels. In addition, PRL also achieved record pre-sell volumes on our Halloween and Christmas cake ranges and supported these with great in-store execution. I look forward to even greater success in 2018,” says Tim McAuley. Similar success was found on the KP contract, with the handypack range growing just under 4% in the past two years, with stores now averaging over 17 SKUs of the 20 in the core range. These results show that, even nine years into a contract, there is still the potential to achieve continuous growth. That’s not to say that PRL In-Market Solutions don’t drive immediate results. In July 2017, GSK decided to reinvest in a sales team in NI. With key brands such as Panadol, Beechams, Aquafresh and Sensodyne among many others, it was difficult to determine what should form our initial core range, but 15 key SKUs were selected based on availability, seasonality and historical sales value. From a starting point of under 60% distribution, PRL have managed to accomplish just short of 20% GROWTH

IN THE FIRST SIX MONTHS. This has incorporated six consecutive months of growth, with no sign of slowing down! NPD AND SALES BLITZES As well as focusing on our core range, NPD is also integral to our clients, and PRL In-Market Solutions have a proven track record of successfully launching products in the convenience and impulse markets. Not only is this done through our full-time sales teams, but also in the form of tactical blitzes, where clients require a temporary team on the road to support their internal staff. We recently completed such an activity for Glanbia, where they had asked for support with launching new brands in both their Avonmore Protein Milks and Mooju Flavoured milk ranges across two separate blitzes. Both SKUs were new to market and, as such, had limited distribution to start with. PRL In-Market Solutions recruited a team of five experienced sales reps to blitz over 250 stores in a one-week period, in an effort to get facings in the extremely competitive chiller sections. Through working closely with Alan Lowry, Glanbia’s NI customer manager, we provided an in-depth briefing to the team with all key selling points required. Through this in-depth brief, alongside constant performance management and motivation, we managed to achieve a high level of strike-rate success across both blitzes. Alan Lowry said the following: “I was delighted with the success of the two sales blitzes we undertook with PRL In-Market Solutions, and wouldn’t hesitate to use them again in the future. The ability to outsource these activities gave Glanbia a cost-effective way to launch these products to the NI market, and our return on investment has proven that the method works. We have had recurrent distribution in many of the stores sold into. All in all, a great success.” PRL In-Market Solutions have also had great success in NPD within the KP

PRL PROFILE and pladis contracts. Over the past 18 months, KP has successfully launched McCoys Thick Cut and McCoys Chip Shop with variants across the handypack, sharebag and multipack categories. Much of the distribution gained across the NI convenience and impulse market is still apparent, with both brands becoming a key part of retailers’ snacking fixtures. Our pladis team have gone as far as to be nominated for an award at the highly prestigious UK Field Marketing Awards in London for their launch on Nibbles. In this launch, they sold in just under 4,000 CASES ACROSS 320 STORES, AND GAINED 98.4% DISTRIBUTION WITHIN FOUR WEEKS. MERCHANDISING AND IN-STORE THEATRE It’s no good getting the product on the shelf if it’s not going to stay there. To ensure ongoing success for core range SKUs or new products to the market, we back this up with on and off shelf merchandising and in-store theatre such as sampling drives. We train our teams to educate retailers on the value of merchandising. On fixture, we reinforce that a second facing INCREASES RATE OF SALE BY 23%. The same also applies for off-shelf displays, which drives a 19% uplift in sales for the retailer. Armed with this knowledge, we’ve achieved incredible results over the years; not just in terms of share of space, but also in terms of excellent in-store displays. With our KP team, the McCoys Chip Shop launch provided a key opportunity to focus on in-store theatre to gain ongoing visibility for the brand postlaunch. We incentivised the team on best secondary display and also targeted them to sell in 60 in-store samplings across the same period, to ensure sell through of the new product in the early stages. To supplement these in-store activities, we rebranded company vehicles with McCoys and McCoys Chip Shop imagery to boost brand visibility in and outside the retail environment. The results of the above led to McCoys Chip Shop over-achieving on its launch targets within NI convenience and impulse, and KP achieving recurrent distribution across the range. Ricky Watts, KP NI business account manager, said the following after the launch: “McCoys Chip Shop was integral to our 2017 business plan and, although

the NI market is small in comparison to our neighbours, successes are shared company wide and celebrated throughout the entire hierarchy. Many of our successes over the past seven years have been achieved through an excellent working relationship with PRL In-Market Solutions, who always manage to carry themselves with consummate professionalism, and make even the most demanding project look like a walk in the park. With the McCoys Chip Shop launch, KP in partnership with PRL In-Market Solutions delivered the full package, including distribution, sampling, in-store theatre and retailer engagement.” Across the pladis contract, we set a KPI on our field development reps to achieve a minimum of 30 secondary displays achieved per period. This was achieved across every period in 2017, with some excellent displays helping push NPD sales after launch. CATEGORY MANAGEMENT Not only do our reps focus on growing our client’s in-store presence, but we also task them with driving overall category growth. Category management leads to incremental growth of our client’s brand, but also helps protect future distribution. In KP, we have found that handypacks are in decline, driven by the growth of sharebags. Our reps are therefore tasked with educating retailers on the benefits of maintaining the handypack category through highlighting key benefits such as percentage margin and marketing spend. In pladis, the biscuit category has historically been stable, but the likes of cakes take more in-store focus with

retailers to protect the fixture itself. The importance of category management is even more prevalent for the likes of GSK. Through years of retailers not having reps actively calling, wellness and oralcare fixtures had both shrank, even to the stage where most wellness SKUs were kept behind the counter, leading to virtually no impulse sales. Over the previous six months, our reps have educated retailers on the wins to be had within the category by completing relays focused on putting key products in danger of being sold. Many stores have now brought the wellness section back out onto the shop floor, with one store in the Hendersons group reporting a 39% INCREASE IN SALES since doing so. Our reps have also driven value back into the market by pushing retailers away from multiple SKUs of own-label towards named brand with a higher margin. Whether you’re looking for a full-time sales solution to drive ongoing success across a full range of products, or you need support launching a new product, outsourcing to an experienced field marketing company such as PRL In-Market Solutions is a great option to take the stress out of success. For more information, or if we can help in any way, please contact Russell Johnston, director of Client Services on 028 9077 0999, or at We look forward to working with you.






o Christmas has been and gone, the decorations have gone away for another year and most retailers have reported on their results, but how did this Christmas compare to 2016, and what can it tell us, if anything, about what might lie in store for 2018? For a start, more money went through the grocery tills in 2017, with an extra £1bn spent over this festive period compared to a year ago. This drove growth of 3.8% amongst multiple grocers, although a huge chunk of this resulted from inflation, with Kantar Worldpanel reporting like-for-like grocery inflation of 3.7% over the last 12 weeks1. So, although there has been some solid growth in the market, most of this has been driven by increased prices and this, in turn, affects consumer behaviour in a variety of different ways. For instance, according to recent Moy Park research2, 2017 saw a surge in consumers buying most of their Christmas groceries in one single big supermarket shop. Although

this remains a minority way to prepare for the festive season (several in-store shops at major supermarkets remains the most common approach), 27% bought their groceries this way, reflecting a 7% increase compared to the previous year. We can speculate that this may have been driven in part by the desire to avoid the temptations of impulse purchasing from multiple shops, and a corresponding fall in the number of people doing lots of little shops from various different stores would seem to support this hypothesis. Let’s now look at another key area at Christmas – house parties. 57% of consumers say that they held a party or gathering over Christmas or New Year, compared to 60% in each of the last two years. A drop of 3% may seem small, but in a country of 27.2m households3, that means that 816,000 fewer houses welcomed party guests than was the case the previous Christmas. Not only did fewer houses hold any parties, but there was a rise in the number of households holding only one party, and a sharp fall in the number hosting two. A third area to look at is eating out.

The Moy Park research found that, whilst most consumers ate out at some point over Christmas, there was a slight rise in the numbers not doing so, and these groups were polarised in the extent to which they ate out compared to 2016. There was less eating out overall (net -3% amongst all consumers) but, amongst those consumers who ate out, there was a net rise of +8%. This contrasts with Christmas 2016, where both sets of consumers saw a similar net rise in eating out. So three elements, all pointing towards the same conclusion – this Christmas generally saw consumer behaviour following familiar patterns, but with a little bit of dialling back in some areas. This probably represents a small section of consumers feeling particularly squeezed by rising prices. And that is probably as good a pointer as any towards what we can generally expect in 2018. [Source: 1 – Kantar Worldpanel, 12 weeks to 31st December 2017; 2 – Moy Park research, January 2018; 3 – ONS, 8th November 2017)



errero is helping retailers step into spring with the introduction of new seasonal products, a bespoke on-pack promotion across its Thorntons portfolio, standout merchandising solutions and a €590,000 marketing campaign. Ferrero has developed a personalisation campaign across the Thorntons range, bringing the brand’s rich heritage in producing high quality, lovingly crafted chocolates to life. Supported by a marketing campaign spanning TV, digital and social media, the promotion will be live across a range of 14 eggs and novelties, offering shoppers the chance to win hundreds of personalised gifts for their loved ones. The Thorntons range of adult eggs is 24

worth €236,000 (up +150% year-onyear), demonstrating the popularity of shelled eggs. To continue to drive growth during the season and encourage shoppers to trade up, Thorntons’ redesigned range of Favourite Flavours Adult Gift Eggs will also feature the on-pack promotion. Meanwhile, the premium range of Ferrero Rocher Eggs is worth €188,000, growing at +22.9%, and also features a new Easter design. In addition, Kinder Surprise 100g Pink and Blue Eggs are getting a spring makeover. After experiencing double-digit growth at +12.3% last year – worth over €138,000 – they will be partnering with two new licenses, DC Super Friends and DC Superhero Girls. To support the new design, Kinder Surprise will be hitting TV

screens, as part of the brand’s €401,678m spring marketing investment that will also span digital and social activity. To mark occasions such as Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day, Ferrero will also hero its popular Raffaello Heart and Ferrero Rocher Heart. Additional activity, meanwhile, includes Grand Ferrero Rocher and Kinder Joy in the Novelties category, a Kinder Egg Hunt Kit, Ferrero’s boxed chocolate range, a Kinder Choco-Bons sharing bag and new Thornton’s Milk Chocolate Bunny, White Chocolate Bunny and Milk and White Chocolate Bunny Eggs. “Whether it is for gifting or sharing or simply to be enjoyed at home with loved ones, we encourage retailers to start stocking up in January, to meet shoppers’ needs for spring,” said Levi Boorer, customer development director. “We would always recommend that retailers utilise the POS solutions that are made available, to maximise sales and capture shoppers’ attention with eye-catching theatre instore.”




WHAT’S COOKING AT IFEX 2018 Pictured are Caroline McCusker, IFEX event manager; Sean Owens, IFEX chef director; and The Deputy Lord Mayor, Councillor Sonia Copeland.


Visit us at stand A22. For further information please contact 028 92673316 28


FEX, Northern Ireland’s premier food, drink, retail and hospitality event, returns to the Titanic Exhibition Centre, Belfast from Tuesday, 20th to Thursday, 22nd March and, with thousands of visitors expected to attend, it’s one of the most eagerly-anticipated industry events of the year. As a biennial event, IFEX 2018 is the only chance within the next two years for buyers to meet with over 200 suppliers and manufacturers, watch hundreds of chefs compete, and network with thousands of industry colleagues, as the next IFEX isn’t until 2020. Following the highly successful 2016 show, event specialists, Fresh Montgomery have worked hard to create an exhibition that is set to be even bigger and better than previous shows and one which delivers exceptional value to both exhibitors and visitors alike. With the addition of Meat@IFEX, which will be home to the World Butchers’ Challenge skills event, and news that the Great Taste Market, showcasing the finest in award-winning products, is returning, IFEX 2018 is set to become a ‘one stop shop’ for discovering and tasting some of the best food and drink products that Northern Ireland has to offer. Indicating that the demand and anticipation for IFEX is high, both exhibitor numbers and visitor pre-show registration figures are incredibly strong. You can already feel the buzz in the atmosphere as the anticipation mounts and March draws ever closer. WHAT’S HAPPENING AT THE EVENT... • IFEX has once again partnered with The Guild of Fine Food to introduce the Great Taste Market, showcasing the finest in speciality foods from a variety of Great Taste winners from across NI, RoI and GB. • Salon Culinaire is the heart of IFEX, and hosts hundreds of industry and student chefs, raising the bar in terms of culinary excellence in Northern Ireland, with the programme featuring over 30 categories. This year, it will feature three key skill areas – The ChefSkills Theatre, Street Food International and Edible Art. • Meat@IFEX is a new butchery and meat expo, which will sit alongside IFEX at the Titanic Exhibition Centre. For the firsttime in history, the World Butchers’ Challenge will take place in Northern Ireland, and will be housed within Meat@IFEX, where visitors will include butchers, meat merchants, processors, chefs and many more. • Casting a spotlight on everything from traditional Irish Whiskey to flavoured spirits, craft beers and cocktails, Drink@ IFEX will showcase the newest drinks and freshest innovations currently on the market. Industry can pick up tips and enjoy some tastings in this specialist area aimed at those looking for advice, training and inspiration. • To recognise the excellence of the products on display, IFEX will present a Product of the Show Award. Judged by an independent panel of industry experts, including Adrian McLaughlin, general manager of Carton House and Chef Jack Duffy, this award will highlight the most innovative and highquality product at IFEX across all categories including catering equipment, grocery, sustainability and technology.

Advance registration is free via the website,, while further information about Team Ireland or Meat@IFEX is available at www.meatatifex., and on social media @IFEX_NI / #meatatIFEX.




mong exhibitors at IFEX 2018 will be Ozo Teck Global, which designs and manufactures innovative ozone systems for use in a number of commercial and industrial applications. In partnership with its main distributor CK Direct, Ozo Teck will be exhibiting its latest odour control system for commercial kitchens. Ozo Teck provides green innovative solutions using ozone, which offers a very simple but extremely effective solution to the many odour issues experienced by a wide variety of businesses from private health care, care homes and hotels to commercial kitchens and industrial food manufacturing. Another busy kitchen full of equipment; fryers, hot plates, josper “Odour oven and grills all going at the same time and lots of greasy smoke problems can to deal with. With NO odour management, what could possibly go wrong... create serious environmental issues and potential fines and site closures,” said David Thurston, director of Ozo Teck Global. “Environmental health officers are keen to find green alternative solutions that provide an effective solution, and our ozone air purifier units provide that solution. “Ozo Teck has developed a unique solution for odour control in commercial kitchens, replacing more traditional solutions such as Carbon and ESP with ozone, which is easier to install with lower operating and servicing costs. “Ozone is a very power deodoriser, which is 100 times more powerful that more traditional odour management systems and chemical free. Our odour control units provide quick and simple air purification for hotels, care homes, wash rooms and general communal areas where odour can be a real issue. “Ozo Teck offers a range of products for short- or long-term rental or outright purchase. With over five years’ experience working with ozone, we can help find the right solution for your problem.”

For further information, contact David Thurston, director of Ozo Teck Global, on landline +44 (0) 208 150 6222 or mobile +44 (0) 7747 600099, at david@ozoteckglobal. com or visit

Above is a newly-fitted system at an industrial food processing site in Manchester; easy to install, easy to service while effective in controlling odour.

A busy kitchen; heads down and crack on with that service.

Ozone is a very efficient, cost-effective solution for - not only eradicating odours - but reducing grease buildup. It is far more effective than current filtration systems.





ne of the most significant players in temperature control transport in Ireland, Derry Refrigerated Transport (DRT), will be at this year’s IFEX trade expo in Belfast to highlight the substantial investment they are making in their new premises and, with it, the range of benefits it will bring to their customers throughout the country. The Portadown-based company has seen steady growth due to its investment in new equipment, the service it provides and the excellent team behind it all. With a vision for further development, Patrick Derry and his team identified a new site


to build a facility that will fit the needs of their growing customer base. In the highly-competitive foodservice industry, ensuring the integrity of the product is paramount. Fully accredited to the BRC (British Retail Consortium) Standard, which sets the benchmark in transport, storage and distribution of temperature foodstuffs, Patrick is all too aware of the importance even a minute error can make given his years of experience in the family fruit and vegetable business before making a move into transport. The new 10-acre site in Carn, Co Armagh will have capacity for approximately 9,000 pallets across cold (-25), chilled and dry freight storage, and will bring immense benefits for the customer, and for Derry Refrigerated Transport. The company will become a full-service provider with everything from warehousing to order picking, office

space, parking and garage support providing much more than just transport. With a ÂŁ9m investment, along with hard work and determination, DRT is set to be a major operator over the next 10 years in Ireland. So, to find out more about Patrick and his team and how they can help you, come along to their stand at E10. 11 Vicarage Road, Portadown, Co Armagh, BT62 4HF. Tel: 028 3887 0078 Web:




family-owned business based in Epworth near Doncaster, J & N Food Equipment supplies new and used food processing equipment to butchers, farm-shops, delicatessens and food processing factories. Their friendly sales staff have over 120 years of experience, offering expert help and advice to an established customer base worldwide. Their IFEX debut will launch new products and expand their current business in the Irish market. “We supply a wide range of products from some of the most reputable suppliers in the industry,” said Ian Jones, managing director. “Our

service is second to none, and much of our new business comes through existing customers’ referrals.” Visit us on STAND J11 and see the ABM F1000 burger machine (centre picture above on Special Offer), for which we are sole supplier to the UK. Bring this advert with you to receive the special discount we have available during the launch of our new F1000 Burger Machine at the show. This brand-new product is packed with features familiar to more expensive models on the market, without compromising quality. The F1000 boasts a small footprint, and requires only a

13A, single phase supply, making it ideal for busy specialist outlets including high street butchers, delis and farm shops. It is capable of producing a wide variety of portion controlled food products, including burgers, meatballs, fish cakes and more. For more information about our full range of products and videos showing how they work, visit our website at www.; it’s full of slideshows, pictures and features the top products supplied to butchers. Telephone: 01427 872186 Email: Website: 31




andtmann exhibits regularly on a worldwide basis, 2018 being the first time the company will be exhibiting at the Meat@FEX Exhibition in Belfast. Ireland has become a magnet for new technology in food production, specifically with a view to increasing production volumes while maintaining high quality standards. Handtmann officially launched their products in Ireland in 2011 when Martin Keane became the new area sales manager for both northern and southern Ireland. Since then the country has become the fastest growing market for Handtmann. The applications of Handtmann equipment cover multiple food categories but 80% of the business is focused on the meat sector and products such as sausages, cooked meat, fresh mince and burgers. Martin Keane told us: “We are very excited to be exhibiting at the Meat@IFEX Exhibition this year. It is a fantastic venue and is the perfect audience for our technology. We are hoping to introduce our entry level machines to smaller-scale sausage producers who, up until now, have been using more traditional methods such as piston fillers. We will also have information on the full range of equipment we supply as well as some of our brand new systems.” As the inventor of the original vacuum filling machine back in 1966,

the Handtmann brand continues to set new standards in terms of technical innovation. This year at IFEX, Handtmann will be exhibiting the VF608 Vacuum Filler which is a system tailormade for small scale specialist producers. The VF608 is very versatile and can produce a wide variety of products from high quality traditional sausage and meats to new convenience and on-trend foods. It also has a long service life and low wear due to industrial-standard technology. After sales support is key to the Handtmann brand, and Ireland has a team of factory trained service engineers covering all 32 counties. In the last year alone, the number of Irish service engineers has doubled. Each member of the team has a speciallydesigned and equipped service vehicle backed by a support network based at its head office and equipped by an extensive knowledge of our systems. The most senior engineer for Ireland, P J Kenneally will also be on stand to answer any questions and meet with customers both old and new. P J Kenneally said: “We are expecting this to be a successful show for Handtmann, and I’m looking forward to meeting up with local companies and helping to show them how our technology can assist in developing their businesses.”


AD • •

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VF 608 Filling & Portioning Technology ADVANTAGES • Precision engineering for reliability and performance • Product diversity delivers greater success • Leading technology for cost control • Quality produces superior products

Tel.: +44 (0) 1525 244440 | Ireland Tel.: +353 (0) 1498 8080 | | AZ_VF608.indd 3

12.01.2018 08:05:17




ooking ahead to 2018, Mintel has predicted five major trends that will present both challenges and opportunities for manufacturers, brands and retailers in packaging markets around the world. Spanning the universal themes of preservation, automation, aesthetics, sustainability, and trust, these trends provide a full view of the global packaging industry in 2018.

Brands need to act now, exploiting on-pack communication tools to educate consumers on the benefits packaging can bring, from extending shelf life of food to providing efficient and safe access to essential products in developed and under-served regions of the world.

opportunities for material optimisation, and improved sustainability. CLEAN LABEL 2.0



The throwaway culture of today will evolve into consumers who understand and embrace the role of packaging as a primary means to reduce global food and product waste. Consumers have long considered packaging as often unnecessary and ultimately as just waste to be disposed of. But that misconception is starting to change. A focus on package innovations that extend food freshness, preserve ingredient fortification, and ensure safe delivery is increasingly benefiting consumers on a global scale. According to Mintel research, 50% of US grocery shoppers agree that the right packaging can help reduce food waste. With more and more consumers concerned about the billions of tonnes of wasted food each year and shoppers seeing the cost of this waste on their wallets, people will actively seek solutions. 34

As more and more consumers embrace online shopping, packaging will play a pivotal role in brands’ and consumers’ ecommerce experiences. Much of the conversation among brands, converters, and package designers about ecommerce is currently focused on, and driven by, Amazon. Free from the supply chain restrictions of the brick-and-mortar retail giants, Amazon is working to minimise ‘touches’ in the supply chain, maximise the brand experience for consumers, and optimise packaging SKUs. As convenience is key for ecommerce, brands must consider how packaging can alleviate, if not eliminate, consumer frustration with over-packaged and under-branded goods sold online. With 91% of UK consumers saying they shop online, the time is now for brands to consider when, not if, they will enter the online retail and ecommerce packaging fray. Packaging that safely delivers products through the ecommerce supply chain is only part of the equation, with

Aiming for packaging designs that enlighten consumers’ purchase decisions, brands will reject approaches that offer too much or too little as they can leave shoppers more confused than informed. Though consumers are more informed than ever, they may reject brands if they feel overloaded with information, which leads to questioning of provenance, authenticity, and transparency. In fact, 39% of French consumers feel that excessive information on food and drink packaging can make it hard to trust a brand, according to Mintel research. Where mass brands fear stepping outside a category’s design status quo, craft brands often pare back too far and become candidates for de-selection due to being too far outside consumer’s comfort zones of marketing expectation. ‘Essentialist’ on-pack communication that rejects excess information and design elements to focus on key product qualities or package functionality can lead to greater consumer engagement. This next generation of clean label packaging design will provide a moment of calm and clarity for shoppers in an increasingly hectic retail environment.

FOCUS ON PACKAGING Brands will look to contemporary packaging formats to help reinvigorate the centre-of-store aisles less-trafficked by younger shoppers. Shopper habits are changing, both in frequency of shopping and in how consumers navigate the store. Young shoppers in particular are increasingly ‘shopping the periphery’, and turning their backs on processed, ambient, and frozen offerings in the centre of the store. According to Mintel research, one third (34%) of US consumers aged 18-34 shop for centre store foods most often at grocery stores compared to three in five (62%) of those aged 55 and older. Supermarkets are now fighting back by refreshing store layouts to reflect this new mission-based shopping style. Brands will need to respond and leverage packaging to refresh the centre of the store experience and earn loyalty among Millennial shoppers. Packaging features such as transparent materials can create a feeling of openness and trust, as well as aligning with Millennials’ interest in fresher, healthier foods. Contemporary design, recyclability, or unique shapes can also draw in younger consumers and make shopping the store centre more appealing.


For more information on how Mintel can help your business, contact Ciara Rafferty, director Mintel Ireland on +44 (0)28 9024 1849 or

Plastic packaging adrift in the world’s oceans will become the catalyst driving brands to rethink packaging in a context consumers can understand and act upon. Sourcing packaging material from sea waste highlights the greater sustainability issue, but is not a solution in and of itself. Reducing the likelihood of packaging waste entering the sea in the first place offers greater potential for reducing the impact of plastic packaging on the ocean environment. Committing to the use of recycled content in all packaging will appeal to the 36% of Australians who prefer products that are sold in ecofriendly packaging, and can help reduce ocean plastic by ensuring an efficient route for packaging from the consumer back to the producer. With lobby groups pointing the finger at packaging, brands are right in the firing line. Concerns over safe packaging disposal will increasingly colour consumers’ perceptions of different pack

types, and impact shopper purchase decisions. Only by communicating that a brand is working toward a solution will this growing barrier to purchase be overcome. RENAVIGATE

BENJAMIN PUNCHARD, GLOBAL PACKAGING INSIGHTS DIRECTOR AT MINTEL Benjamin is global packaging insights director at Mintel, creating insightful analysis to enable packaging companies to grow and brands to fully maximise the power of their packaging portfolios. He brings over 13 years of experience in the packaging world, and 10 years creating and delivering packaging-based market insight. During this time, Benjamin has worked with global clients big and small, and has been a regular speaker at international conferences. Benjamin has been with Mintel since 2012. In his current role as global packaging insights director, he is responsible for creating and delivering Mintel’s packaging content. Benjamin also leads the delivery of bespoke packaging insights, focusing on the specific packaging needs of Mintel’s clients. 35


ICELAND PLEDGES TO GO ‘PLASTIC-FREE’ ON OWN BRAND PACKAGING BY 2023 I celand has become the first major retailer to commit to eliminate plastic packaging for all own-brand products within five years to help end the “scourge” of plastic pollution. The retailer said it will be replacing plastic packaging with paper and pulp trays and paper bags, which will be recyclable through domestic waste collections or in-store recycling facilities. It is aiming to be the first major retailer globally to go “plastic-free” on its ownlabel products, and has set a target of completing the move by the end of 2023. It has already removed plastic disposable straws from its own-label range, and new food ranges set to hit the shelves in early 2018 will use paper-based rather than plastic food trays. The move, which has been welcomed by environmental campaigners, comes amid growing concern over plastic pollution in the world’s oceans, where it can harm and kill wildlife such as turtles and seabirds. Last month, Prime Minister Theresa May pledged to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste within 25 years as part of the Government’s environmental strategy, with calls for supermarkets to introduce “plastic-free” aisles. A survey for Iceland revealed overwhelming public support for a shift away from plastic by retailers, with 80%

Richard Walker, managing director of Iceland, said the “world has woken up to the scourge of plastics”.


of 5,000 people polled saying they would endorse a supermarket’s move to go plastic-free. “The world has woken up to the scourge of plastics,” said Richard Walker, managing director of Iceland. “A truckload is entering our oceans every minute causing untold damage to our marine environment and ultimately humanity – since we all depend on the oceans for our survival. “The onus is on retailers, as leading contributors to plastic packaging pollution and waste, to take a stand and deliver meaningful change.” He also said Iceland would ensure all packaging was fully recyclable and would be recycled, through support for initiatives such as a bottle deposit return scheme for plastic bottles.



ll plastic packaging across Europe will be recyclable or reusable by the end of the next decade, under plans to tackle marine pollution. The first Europe-wide strategy on plastics also includes proposals to reduce the consumption of single-use plastics and restrict the intentional use of microplastics, such as tiny beads put into cosmetics. And it includes measures to boost recycling and cut marine plastics litter, including fishing gear. Unveiling the plans, the European Commission said it would help tackle plastic pollution, as well as create jobs, boost innovation and cut carbon emissions. Under the EU plans, an additional £89m will be provided for developing smarter and more recyclable plastic materials, making recycling processes more efficient and tracing and removing hazardous substances and contaminants from recycled plastics. “If we don’t change the way we produce and use plastics, there will be more plastics than fish in our oceans by 2050,” said EC First Vice-President Frans Timmermans. “We must stop plastics getting into our water, our food, and even our bodies.“The only long-term solution is to reduce plastic waste by recycling and reusing more.” 36


ith news of China’s ban on the import of plastic scrap raising concerns for many businesses in Britain, aluminium food packaging manufacturer Advanta is calling for food manufacturers to address the problem at the source. Analysis by Greenpeace indicates two-thirds of the UK’s total plastic waste exports have in recent years been destined for China, which implemented a complete ban on the import of plastic scrap from January 1. “According to the international body Waste and Resources Action Plan (WRAP), the UK recycles just 19% of all plastic consumed,” said Miguel Campos, export sales manager for Advanta. “When you also consider that plastic is a finite resource that has incredibly limited use, manufacturers have to take ownership of sourcing alternative materials for packaging that will reduce pressure on our waste management and recycling facilities — not to mention the negative impact on the environment. “China is not the first country to implement sudden and tough new initiatives regarding use or disposal of plastics in the last 12 months. In September 2017, Sri Lanka announced a ban on single use plastic and Kenya implemented what is said to be the world’s toughest plastic bag ban earlier in the year. “The Environment Management Agency in Zimbabwe has also ordered the food industry to stop using containers made from expanded polystyrene immediately. These initiatives have also arisen from a growing difficulty in disposing of waste plastic. “It’s not enough to pressure consumers to be mindful of what they throw away. Manufacturers and businesses need to provide shoppers with alternatives to plastic and reduce how much of the material is used altogether.” Advanta says aluminium provides an affordable alternative to plastic that has a much lower impact on waste disposal and the environment.

A NEW ERA IN PRINT & PACKAGING With production facilities in both Belfast and Dublin, McGowans are already market leaders in the production of award winning retail display point-of-sale materials for an array of national and international brands. Our recent £2M investment in a Nozomi printer and associated gluing equipment means we are now able to produce full colour high quality corrugated packaging in affordable, practical quantities. Brian Crawford, MD for NI explains, “using our high quality digital printers there is no need for costly plates and film and no minimum quantity. Customers are able to order to their requirements as we in effect become a virtual warehouse with shortened lead-times. Further benefits include the ability to personalise and customise packaging delivering more targeted campaigns. All our printed packaging is fully recyclable and given that it is produced here on the Island means a reduced carbon footprint. This new string to our bow enables us to offer shelf ready packaging to complement our existing Point-of-Sale solutions.”

· Award Winning PoS · Corrugated Packaging · No Minimum Quantity · Virtual Warehousing · Personalisation / Versioning · Reduced Carbon Footprint For further details please contact Brian at

Unit A1, 17 Heron Rd, Belfast, BT3 9LE T: 028 9073 0960


RAPID GROWTH FOR DMD Pictured are, from left, Mich Turner MBE, Jane Tyler, Fred McKechnie and Alan Clarke.


here are two key facets to DMD (2000) Ltd.’s operational success that have been integral to the company’s development: commitment to continuous product range improvement and focus on customer service. This approach is clearly evident with the launch of a number of new products which have strengthened DMD’s position as a leading manufacturer and supplier of thermoformed products within the UK, Ireland and beyond. “We have a comprehensive range of trays to attract and satisfy the needs of our current and new customers. However we are constantly looking at ways to add to the portfolio of products currently available through speaking to customers and reacting to their needs and requirements,” explains Fred McKechnie, managing director. “We continually explore the market for development ideas and respond positively. We currently have over 200 different trays available for the bakery and food manufacturing industry, most of which are available for next-day delivery. In the current economic climate, this level of availability is increasingly important to our customers, ranging from corner shop bakeries through to multinational organisations. We listen to our customers and look to see how we can develop the products to suit their needs, and this approach gives us an advantage over our competitors.” McKechnie started in the bakery trade in 1973 when he left school to work at food ingredients supplier Fleming Howden. In 1989, he was manufacturing 38

for DMD (Thermoforming) Ltd and, in the year 2000, conducted a management buyout and DMD 2000 Ltd was born. Eighteen years later, he continues to develop the business. “I’m just married to the job,” he says. “We are committed to offering the best service, thus enabling us to enhance our reputation as a leading BRC/IOP-accredited manufacturer of thermoformed plastic trays. With 45 years of experience supplying the bakery and food industry, my customers know that they can pick up the phone to us any time they have a query. Our BRC certification is AA level.” In 2004, just four years after the management buyout, when it had outgrown its 6,000-square-foot premises, DMD relocated to a new 16,500-squarefoot site in Aberdeen that enabled the business to develop and grow in accordance with BRC/IOP requirements and regulations. 2015 saw DMD diversify slightly, by purchasing its own CNC machine, which allowed the business to offer in-house tooling to its customers. The purchase was supported so well by customers ordering their own bespoke trays at very competitive prices, DMD had to invest again for the future. In 2016, DMD purchased a second additional CNC machine to keep up with demand, and its fast turnaround on new tools. 2017 saw DMD reaching the final of the Manufacturer of the Year award

against heavy competition, with Carrs Flour and MacPhie (of Glenbervie) also in the final stages. DMD came out on top and was awarded the accolade. In addition to its emphasis on service, DMD has been committed to continual investment in plant and machinery; an approach which facilitates faster reaction times in accordance with the needs and turnaround times of their customers. 2017 saw DMD purchase an adjacent property, increasing storage space by another 12,000 square feet to further its expansion needs. 2018 and DMD (2000) is now looking to invest in its third fully-automatic, form, cut and stack machine. This £400,000 investment completes a £2m investment over the last year to further strengthen its position in the UK market. Despite the challenges that all companies are facing in the current economic climate, there remains a considerable amount of growth within the bakery trade that DMD is keen to tap into. “We might not be the largest company within the marketplace but our relatively small size means that we’re much more flexible and are able to provide a more personal service,” says McKechnie. “We supply our customers with the right product at the right time, and this has been crucial to the continued growth we have seen as a company, as has the tremendously positive attitude that everyone within the team has. We have a very strong workforce that has proven essential to our success and, as we’ve evolved as a business, we have also become increasingly efficient with all our products being recycled and wastage has been dramatically reduced. “Moving forward in the short term, we will continue doing what we have done successfully: maintaining a steady pace of growth and giving the customer what they want. In the longer term, we will just keep doing the best we can in order to keep our customers happy, with continued reinvestment and commitment to the bakery trade.”

Brow_UlsterGrocer_advert_fullpg.pdf 1 22/01/2018 12:15:34









AGRI-FOOD NEWS FLAWED MEASUREMENT OF AMMONIA EMISSIONS? UFU says getting a true picture of ammonia emissions in Northern Ireland remains one of the biggest challenges for the agri-food industry and must be addressed urgently. The comments were made following publication of a report on ammonia emissions by an expert working group. “The report largely vindicates our views that the department have got it wrong when it comes to mapping ammonia emissions in Northern Ireland,” said Barclay Bell, president of UFU. “A meaningful partnership approach between the government and industry would go a long way in helping to tackle this serious issue.”


RELAXATION OF BRUCELLOSIS TESTING WELCOMED UFU says it is good news for farmers that brucellosis testing in Northern Ireland will be further relaxed, and will help to reduce the financial and administrative burden associated with this disease. The comments were made following DAERA’s announcement that from January 15, for each of the next three years, the requirement for testing of beef herds will be reduced to one third. “Obtaining Officially Brucellosis Free status was a momentous achievement for both farmers and DAERA,” said Victor Chestnutt, deputy president of UFU. “There have been no confirmed cases of Brucellosis in Northern Ireland since February 2012.”

UFU COMMENTS ON RHI JUDICIAL REVIEW UFU has expressed its disappointment with a High Court ruling against a group of more than 500 RHI claimants in December. Justice Adrian Colton ruled that compelling public interest justified cutting the cost of the RHI and that businesses had been enjoying an “unacceptably high” return. UFU said the vast majority of people using the scheme were doing so legitimately, had installed boilers to reduce energy costs and were encouraged to do so by the department responsible for the scheme. UFU added its role would be to ensure a fair solution for its members who had invested in a scheme with a long-term commitment to reduce energy costs.


lster Farmers’ Union (UFU) has warned UK food security could be at risk if post-Brexit agricultural subsidies focus on environmental protection. Currently, EU farm subsidies - worth about £3bn to UK landowners each year - are mostly linked to the amount of land farmed. The Government has agreed to maintain the level of farming subsidies until 2024 - a move welcomed by the UFU. However, UFU President Barclay Bell has expressed concern the Government wants to see taxpayers’ money going

in future years to environmental protection, rather than food production. In a speech to the Oxford Farming Conference last month, Environment Minister Michael Gove said farming subsidies will be replaced by payments for “public goods”, from boosting access to the countryside to recreating wildflower meadows. “We need a balanced approach and Mr Gove must recognise the overwhelming importance of food production and food security,” said Bell. “Farmers can deliver environmental goods but, if funding is not there to support food security, the UK’s reliance on imported food will increase. This would undermine local food production and drive down food and environmental standards.” It is understood that decisions on the level of subsidy for Northern Ireland will have to be made by a local minister. DUP MEP Diane Dodds gave a guarded welcome to Gove’s proposals, which, while aimed at England, are likely to influence farm support policy across the devolved regions. She said a local agriculture minister will be needed to shape the local implementation of future agri-support policies. “Northern Ireland civil servants will require direction as to how they would implement agriculture policy going forward,” she said.



airy UK has welcomed publication of The 25 Year Environment Plan, and expressed its support of the Government’s aim to deliver an environmentally sustainable future. ‘We are encouraged by the commitment to evidence-led policy in conjunction with industry, and look forward to working with the Government on the delivery of these goals,’ reads a statement from the organisation. ‘The UK dairy sector recognises the role it plays in delivering safe, nutritious

and sustainable produce. Through The Dairy Roadmap, we have continued to set targets aiming to reduce the industry’s environmental footprint. ‘Included in these targets are commitments to improve biodiversity, lower emissions and to send zero exfactory waste to landfill by 2020. The industry has also pledged to improve the design of dairy packaging to maximise recycled content, improve recyclability and deliver product protection to reduce food waste.’ 41




inwoods has confirmed its position as a world-class producer, securing a Gold Award for Innovation at the SIAL Middle East Show in Abu Dhabi for its Sprouted Flaxseed product. The SIAL Middle East Show is part of a global programme for the food and beverage sector and showcases some of the world’s most innovative products over the course of a three-day event. SIAL Middle East had a record number of more than 300 entries from around the globe and Linwoods’ Sprouted Flaxseed came out on top, securing gold following a shortlist of 30 new products from manufacturers across the US, India, New Zealand and the UAE. The accolade follows Linwoods naming as Export Business of the Year at the British Chamber Awards in November. “We’re exceptionally proud of the quality of our products and invest heavily in ensuring that we continue to innovate and develop new ranges to meet the demands of our customer base around the globe,” said John Woods, MD of Linwoods. “To have been recognised at two major industry events is an

John Woods, MD and Sarah Murphy, international sales at Linwoods, picking up their Gold award for Innovation from the organisers at SIAL.

outstanding achievement and is a real boost for the business as we look forward into 2018. “Award wins such as this serve to underline the hard work of everyone right across the business and helps to enhance the international confidence in Linwoods’ product range, supported by our strategy of continuing to break into new markets.”

WILLOWBROOK FOODS STRENGTHENS ITS ROOTS IN ROI I reland’s largest bagged salad producer Willowbrook Foods has secured an additional €2.5m worth John McCann of business in the RoI MBE, MD of market for 2018. Willowbrook Foods. The result of a targeted growth strategy in RoI, Willowbrook Foods has secured the additional business through both increasing sales with existing customers and winning new partnerships within the foodservice and retail sectors. Willowbrook, which supplies bagged salads, salad bowls, prepared vegetables and meal accompaniments, is rolling out a heavyweight growth programme for 2018 across the island of Ireland and Great Britain. 42

“Strengthening our presence in RoI is central to futureproofing Willowbrook Foods’ success, as the market represents a major percentage of our business and huge growth potential,” said John McCann MBE, MD of Willowbrook Foods. “Combined with our ambitious plans to increase our customer base in Great Britain and major investment into our production facilities, 2018 is set to be a challenging and ultimately rewarding year for Willowbrook Foods.” In support of its ambitious growth plans, Willowbrook Foods is preparing to open a new state-of-the-art production site in Co Down.

JUST LIVE A LITTLE SECURES EXPORT DEAL Just Live a Little, a local producer of luxury breakfast granolas and healthy snack bars, has won new business with Franprix, one of the biggest supermarket chains in France. Franprix, headquartered in Paris, has increased its listing for two artisan granola lines from Just Live a Little in 120 stores across France from last month. The latest deal follows a decision by Franprix last year to list the granolas in an initial 50 stores. Based at Portaferry, the ambitious and export-driven family business includes Waitrose, Ocado, Sainsbury’s, Asda and Tesco among its high-profile clients.

BELLAGHY PIG FARM IN BIG EXPORT DEAL TO CHINA A Co Londonderry pig farm has won the UK’s biggest Chinese export order for frozen boar semen. Deerpark Pedigree Pigs in Bellaghy, which is run by brothers Nigel and Robert Overend, was preparing to ship the order last month. The brothers will also be training Chinese staff in artificial insemination and semen handling. A spokesman for the British Pig Association said: “Over the years, the Overend family has perfected the process of freezing pig semen, a product with which their topperforming customers are now achieving conception rates as high as 100%.”



Ruth Sloan from Irwin’s Bakery is joined by Hugh McCloy from The Jungle NI, with Clodagh trying out the trampoline.


rwin’s Bakery has welcomed the New Year by launching a new promotional partnership with The Jungle NI, based

outside Magherafelt. By collecting tokens on selected packs of Softee (800g), the bakery’s soft white loaf, consumers will be able to claim free activities at Family Fun Days at The Jungle on selected dates throughout 2018. Suitable for individuals, groups and families, activities included in the promotion at the outdoor activity centre include archery, trampolining, crazy golf, llama trekking, paintballing and body zorbing.* “We are really excited to offer shoppers the opportunity to get involved with some of the fun and exciting activities at the Jungle NI,” said Ruth Sloan from


Irwin’s Bakery. “With the partnership running from January until March, there is plenty of time for consumers to collect their tokens. “Through the promotion, Irwin’s Bakery is helping children and young people to get outdoors and be active with their family and friends as part of a healthy lifestyle. It’s also a great chance to pack a picnic, complete with Softee sandwiches, and embark on a great day out.” *For full terms and conditions, including the activities that are included within the promotion, visit: jungleni.




ctivia, the popular yogurt brand from Danone, has kicked off 2018 with a heavyweight marketing campaign, targeting consumers who are looking to get back into healthier ways of eating in the New Year. Running throughout Q1, the initiative carries the tagline It starts inside, highlighting the importance of digestive wellbeing. The campaign is backed by a £3m investment, and will include new TV ads, digital, out of home and in-store activation. In addition, Activia has created 10 different short clips to target various consumer groups on Facebook, such as young professional couples and juggling couples. “We believe that feeling good in our own skin starts from the inside, and digestive wellbeing plays a big part in this,” said Ceyda Tort Turgay, senior brand manager for Activia. “As many consumers are trying to get back on track in terms of their eating habits in January, they don’t want to have to overly restrict themselves and compromise on taste and enjoyment. “Activia offers a great choice for these occasions: all of our products combine a creamy consistency and delicious taste with the brand’s exclusive yogurt cultures as well as calcium, which supports the normal function of the digestive enzymes.”

assengers arriving at Belfast International Airport on December 22 found their luggage replaced with mini suitcases packed full of the ‘taste of home’, as Dale Farm welcome everyone home to Northern Ireland for Christmas. As passengers waited to collect their suitcases, secret filming captured the surprise and delight of the giveaway. The footage shows people packing into the collection area and making their way around the carousel. Then, as cardboard suitcases started to circle around, the passengers’ confusion is clear - but people soon caught on with a message on the top of the boxes, which read ‘Please take me home’. Hundreds of happy passengers grabbed their cases packed full of home favourites such as Dromona butter and cheese – perfect for a family Christmas at home. “Dromona launched its One Step Closer to Home campaign back in September, which saw us capture special moments in time in our customers’ lives,” said Caroline Martin, head of Marketing at Dale Farm. “As part of this, we wanted to bring the taste of home to passengers in Belfast International Airport as soon as they touched down – wishing them a very happy Christmas from Dromona. “Understandably most people on board are filled with excitement at the prospect of seeing loved ones, and the home cooking of course! And we hope our gift made the final leg of their journey home that little bit happier.” 43




s part of its recent launch of JPS’s enhanced cigarettes range, including JPS Real Blue, JPS Silver Stream and JPS Green Edge, Imperial has been asking retailers ‘what would make your perfect day?’ through an exciting new UK-wide competition. JPS is planning to make more than a few dreams come true for hardworking traders and their families across the country, from trips abroad to experience days, sporting events, tech, fine dining and more. The competition, open for entries now at, is running for a full three months, leaving plenty of time for retailers to get their thinking caps on before asking JPS to make their day. As well as celebrating the release of Imperial Tobacco’s new JPS cigarette enhancements, the competition is aimed at educating retailers around the new additions while offering the chance to win some great prizes. JPS Real Blue, JPS Silver Stream and JPS Green Edge are all available now in both King Size and Superkings 20s at RRPs of £8.30. Retailers don’t have to buy any JPS products to qualify. More information will be released about competition winners as the initiative progresses, including case studies around some of the most amazing ways JPS made retailers’ days.



aping brand Logic has extended its successful product range with the launch of new lower strength (6mg) Logic LQD e-liquids. Now accounting for over a third of the segment, the UK-made product taps into a growing consumer demand for lower strength e-liquids. Available in a range of popular flavours – Tobacco, Menthol, Cherry, Berry Mint and Strawberry - the expanded LQD range now includes 18mg, 12mg and 6mg strengths. The 6mg Logic LQD e-liquids, which offer precise delivery and a three-step child resistant mechanism, are available in all channels with an RRP of £5. “We have a dedicated insights team that closely tracks market trends so we can provide retailers with new Logic products that allow them to maximise the profit potential of the category,” said Stephane Berset, head of Marketing at JTI. “With more than two million adult vapers in the UK on the lookout for more sophisticated and easy-to-use vaping 44

devices and e-liquids, this focus on new product development ensures the Logic range is a must-stock for retailers.” The new range of e-liquids can be used with any refillable device, including the successful Logic LQD. Setting it apart from other products on the market, features of Logic LQD include an advanced refilling system that guarantees easy and precise e-liquid delivery. With refillable vapes accounting for 57% of unit sales and 50% SOV in traditional retail, e-liquids are an essential product line for all retailers’ vaping ranges. JTI’s extensive UK sales force is fully trained on the vaping category and will support the launch with merchandising and product advice. New point of sale materials will also be available to help retailers increase visibility of the new products in store. Retailers can visit www.jtiadvance. for further information, support and guidance on tobacco and e-cigarette vaping.


Joseph McMullan of Knockout Brewery


round 20 craft beers from six Northern Ireland breweries were set to attend the big Manchester Beer and Cider Festival last month. The North of England’s biggest beer and cider celebration is held over January 25-27, with the local beers to be featured in a ‘Little Ireland’ section. The Northern Ireland breweries attending are: Boundary Brewing, Belfast; Bullhouse, Newtownards; Farmageddon, Comber; Knockout, Belfast; Lacada, Portrush; and Mourne Mountains, Warrenpoint. The Manchester Beer and Cider festival, organised by local Campaign for Real Ale member companies, is marking its fifth year with an outstanding menu of the best brewers and producers. At the Festival, 22 bars will serve 750 different examples of traditional British ales, cutting-edge modern brews and foreign beer styles, as well as ciders, perrys, fruit wines, mead and handmade sodas. The festival has developed a reputation for curating unique pairings of brewers to create new beers. A dozen brewers will be setting up their own bars inside the festival to showcase their products, and a Keykeg bar will serve real ale in a modern environment. Cider and perry lovers have their own bar, and fans of foreign styles can expect a superb range of beers from Belgium, Germany and the Czech Republic supplemented by a curated choice of beers from the rest of the world.











Help your shoppers find their Crush this Valentines £7.65









RRPs as at February 2018. RRP: For the avoidance of doubt, retailers are free at all times to determine the selling price of their products. Source: *ITUK Estimates November 2017.




‘SLOW PROGRESS’ IN BID TO SELL MUSHROOM FIRM Administrators of a mushroom firm in Co Armagh, which went bust owing over £1m, still hope to sell parts of the business. Button Farm Mushrooms, founded by David and Johnny McKew in Collone near Markethill, went bust last October with the loss of nearly 40 jobs. PwC said last month it was still in discussions about the sale of equipment and machinery and premises but that progress had been “slow”. PwC’s report indicated a combination of poor-quality compost and the loss of a key customer contributed to the firm’s failure.

BELFAST AND DUBLIN PR AGENCIES UNITE A Dublin PR and social media agency has said the uncertainty caused by Brexit helped prompt a decision to go into partnership with Belfast firm ASG & Partners. Elevate PR and ASG are to work together on certain projects, but are not merging. ASG & Partners employs around 40 people at its agency on Belfast’s Holywood Road. Clients include Queen’s University, Marks & Spencer and Foyleside and Forestside shopping centres. Elevate PR is based on Leeson Street Lower in Dublin, and clients include brands Schweppes and Peroni.



nnovative sporting nutrition brand ActiSnack has reported its best performance since launching back in 2015, including value growth of 34.4% year-on-year and 208% over the past two years. The positive trajectory of the brand trumps the overall category performance, which has grown 20% from £51m in March 2015 to £61m in March 2017. Acti-Snack attributes its continued success to consumers’ current scrutiny of food and drink, with almost two-thirds claiming they read ingredients before buying new products, while a third are said to be looking for sports nutrition products with all-natural ingredients. “As consumers become more discerning and savvy in terms of what they’re putting in their bodies, clear and transparent labelling is more important than


NEW BOOST FOR FISHING INDUSTRY Glenluce Fishing Company has added a new boat to its fleet following a multi-million pound investment as it prepares to grasp new business opportunities ahead of Brexit. The new vessel, Unity, is a 28-metre marine fishing trawler and is the second major investment in the Northern Irish fleet by a local family business in the past six months. Purchased from Denmark and refitted by Kilkeel-based Glenluce, it replaces a previous vessel owned by the firm and is now the biggest and most modern vessel of its type in Northern Ireland. 46

ever before,” said Andrea Cahill, marketing manager, Acti-Snack. “With no artificial additives, the Acti-Snack range ticks the box for those looking to limit the number of artificial ingredients they add to their diet and increase their natural ingredient intake.” The 100% dried fruit, nut and seed range comprises of mixes such as Fruit, Nut & Seed, Fruit, Nut & Soya, Nut Mix and Fruit, Nut & Cacao; all of which contain no added salt, no added sugar, are gluten free, and free from artificial additives and preservatives.


orthern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NI Chamber) has said that 2018 must be “the year of change and progress – both politically and economically.” Speaking on behalf of the organisation, which represents over 1,200 businesses across Northern Ireland, employing over 100,000 people, Ellvena Graham, president of NI Chamber, said: “2017 saw many challenges for NI Chamber members – not helped by the

continued absence of a regional Assembly and Executive. Our businesses needed the support of active and engaged public representatives to boost their confidence but it wasn’t there – that has to change in 2018. “This lack of stability in local government has further compounded the lack of clarity surrounding Northern Ireland’s position within Brexit negotiations. Sharing a land border with the EU means Northern Ireland has a crucial stake in these negotiations – yet discussions are going on without a cohesive Northern Ireland voice and that of business being heard directly. “If we remain stuck in the quagmire of 2017, Northern Ireland’s potential to become an economic powerhouse may never be realised. 2018 must be the year of change and progress – both politically and economically.”




Margaret Allen, director of Food, Beverage & Procurement, has been with Mount Charles since 1990. She has ultimate responsible for the Group’s purchasing and procurement activities, as well as for driving growth and standards.

Julie Brown, director of HR & Organisational Development, joined Mount Charles in 2011 as the Group’s HR manager. Her focus will be improving the Group’s organisational effectiveness, and developing a high achieving workforce.

Nikki Looby, head of Catering, joined the business in April 2016. She will assume responsibility for all catering units, monitoring quality and efficiency across the board to ensure high levels of customer satisfaction.

Barry McLean, procurement manager, joined Mount Charles in 2015 as procurement & compliance officer. Maintaining current procurement responsibilities, he will also explore additional purchasing initiatives and price efficiencies.


Caroline McClelland, operations manager within the catering division at Mount Charles, has also taken on key account manager responsibility for the Group’s CAFRE contract.

David McNaught, area manager with responsibility for managing the company’s Ulster University catering contract. He has over 30 years’ experience in the hospitality industry, including roles in London, Cyprus and the Mediterranean.

Rowly Gallagher, head of Beverage & Events, has overall responsibility for all beverage/events contracts across the Group including Down Royal Racecourse, the NW200 and the Kingspan Stadium. He previously worked for SSE Arena.



Alessandra Costigliola

roceryAid has appointed Alessandra Costigliola to the newly-created role of relationship manager from January. Costigliola will work with existing supporters and build new relationships within the industry to raise awareness of GroceryAid’s wide range of offerings. She joins GroceryAid from the Food and Drink Federation, where she served as membership engagement manager, and has also been a general nutritionist at Unilever and scientific affairs manager with the European Breakfast Cereal Association.

Dirk Gieling


irk Gieling has been appointed account manager for the UK and Irish Republic, by innovative Dutch dairy equipment company Hanskamp. When studying dairy farming at CAH Dronten, he gained considerable experience through work placements on farms in the Netherlands and with a 180-cow unit in Co Louth, Ireland. Having completed an agribusiness M.Sc course at the University of Wageningen, he now enjoys helping progressive milk producers improve their margins by installing Hanskamp in parlour and out of parlour feeders.

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




To see your product featured in Shelf Life, contact Mark Glover at... or Tel: 028 9026 4267



ue to the success of the current Free’ist Sugar Free/No Added Sugar range and increasing demand for on-the-go snacks that are low in sugars, Free’ist has recently launched Free’ist Impulse Bars as part of its new rebranded range. According to research from Kantar Ireland, the majority of Irish consumers surveyed (62% NI and 56% RoI) said they would like to see low-sugar options in new product launches. Furthermore, the Mintel Healthy Eating - Ireland report found that 46% of consumers stated low-sugar content was the most important factor

when buying food and drink products, pointing to a real gap in the market. With a growing demand for great tasting products that have no added sugar, Free’ist has extended its Free’ist range and launched new 30g bars in three tasty flavours, No Added Sugar Milk Chocolate, Sugar Free Dark Chocolate and No Added Sugar White Chocolate. In addition to having no added sugars, all our chocolates in the range are also gluten free. To stock up or for more information, contact 02890 26708 or visit www.



ure Bite is launching its range of ‘mouth-wateringly satisfying clusters’ in Northern Ireland. Winner of a prestigious Great Taste award 2017 for its Almond Nut Clusters, the snacks are dairy free, gluten free, vegan, preservative free, high fibre, high protein, low salt, low sugar and low in calories. “We are launching Pure Bite in Northern Ireland because people here love healthy snacking,” said Jason Bull, company founder. “We have been developing Pure Bite for three years. Our mission is to create delicious healthy snacks for the whole family that carry all the free-from credentials while still tasting amazing.” The Pure Bite range consists of rice and nut baked clusters available in four different flavours and went on sale at local supermarkets and convenience stores - including SPAR, Supervalu, Centra, Mace, Costcutter, Nisa, Day Today, Today local, Mount Charles Catering, Henderson’s Foodservice and Clement’s - from January. Variants include Pure Bite Popped Rice Clusters in Blueberry and Cranberry and Strawberry and Gojiberry, and Pure Bite Nut Clusters in Almond and Hot and Spicy. Pure Bite is distributed by Tayto Group in Northern Ireland.



ward-winning local blender Suki Tea has launched a new Japanese premium Matcha powdered green tea. Based in Belfast, Suki has added Matcha to its extensive portfolio of quality loose-leaf teas, pyramid tea bags and infusions. The company has won a series of Great Taste awards for its teas. The Northern Ireland company, which exports tea to Japan among other global markets, describes the new Matcha as having a ‘slightly sweet, fresh and grassy taste’. The new Matcha is shade grown for 21 days and stone ground the traditional Japanese way, producing a fine grade Matcha that’s ideal for a range of applications in addition to tea. The company says the new tea can also be used in lattes, smoothies and shakes. “The shading of the tea leaf increases the chloryphyll in the leaf - giving it a vibrant jade green depth of colour and packing it full of antioxidants,” said Oscar Woolley, managing director of Suki. “This shading process also results in more L-Theanine - an amino acid with calming properties that gives an invigorating alertness, clarity of mind and ultimate relaxation after a good cuppa, which works in perfect harmony with Matcha’s slow release energy, the natural caffeine kick.”

Irwin’s Softee has teamed up with re centre, The Jungle, NI’s leading outdoor adventu Token! to offer you a FREE Family Fun Days Activity See promotional packs for details. Terms and conditions apply.






To advertise here contact Chris Keenan on 028 9264 4267 email:

IN THE HOT SEAT TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF I run my own small business, Panacea Drinks, which is currently based in Saintfield and specialises in a range of healthy water kefir drinks, naturally sparkling drinks that are dairy- and glutenfree and packed with gut-friendly bacteria. The range comprises five flavours and is also vegan-friendly. The business produces the drinks here and will be moving to bigger premises in Belfast in 2018. Wife to Paul, mummy to Holly. I am originally from Newcastle upon Tyne but have lived in NI for nearly 15 years now, so I definitely count this as home. WHAT DOES A TYPICAL DAY INVOLVE? It starts with a manic morning and the school run. I’m afraid to admit that my phone is surgically attached to my hand and I like to make use of it all the time. I check in the morning for orders that have come through so these are picked, packed and sent off with the courier or, for bigger orders, we check stock and arrange the pallet. If we are manufacturing drinks that week also, I check on them to see how they are fermenting. I also look after all our marketing and social media so look at this and see if anyone needs replying to. I usually have a meeting of some sort most days as well so end up having a couple of coffees along the way. I then look at our sales and who we can target, check our bank account and do some reconciliation. No two days are the same. Fridays are usually spent catching up on emails as we don’t send any parcels out. Evenings are spent catching up with my hubby and daughter, then check emails again before hopefully watching an episode of Peaky Blinders before bed! WHAT HAS BEEN THE HIGHLIGHT OF YOUR CAREER TO DATE? Taking the step to starting my own business. It’s been a total rollercoaster and will continue to be so; however, I’ve learned more in this past 18 months than ever before. WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT YOUR JOB? The opportunities it provides to meet people and talk to them about my products and my approach to health. I have always been interested in a holistic approach to health and count nutrition and the human body as two of my favourite learning subjects. It fascinates me how all these cool things are going on inside of us without us even noticing. 50


WHAT IS THE BEST ADVICE YOU HAVE EVER RECEIVED? Actually, it was something a friend sent to me recently that is the ‘so what’ exercise from Tim Ferris - make a statement or question and say ‘so what’ at the end of it. It helps me when I’m feeling overwhelmed or unfocused. It totally helps me to de-stress about situations and put it into perspective. WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST GRIPE? People being rude. There’s just no need. WHAT TALENT WOULD YOU LIKE TO HAVE? To sing. I’m convinced there’s an inner Beyonce in me. WHAT ARE YOUR FUTURE PLANS/ AMBITIONS? To have a successful business and become

financially independent so I don’t have to ever worry about paying a bill again. WHERE IS YOUR FAVOURITE PLACE? With my family. WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE FOOD PRODUCT? I love soup! It’s seriously the easiest way to get the most nutrients out of food. Though it must be freshly made, not the crap out of a tin. I’d love a range of ‘soup-er foods’! HOW DO YOU RELAX? I’ve recently been doing more yoga, which I love, and reading more. I kind of got out of the habit of reading, but when my husband is working nights, I like nothing better than turning off the TV, put my PJs on and getting lost in a story.

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Ulster Grocer February 2018  

Ulster Grocer February 2018

Ulster Grocer February 2018  

Ulster Grocer February 2018