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EST. 1897 with 120 years of experience and five award winning brands, we know the key to success!

Henderson Retail crowned the

Convenience Retailer of the Year at Retail Industry Awards 2017




stores opened in 2017 so far.

SPAR, EUROSPAR and VIVO stores in Northern Ireland.


We invest

ÂŁ4.3m each year towards footfall driving promotions for retailers


new ambient warehouse



rise in employment to 3,415 employees


Developed by Henderson Foodservice,

NOW in


stores in Northern Ireland .

Call us now to find out more on how to join leading retail experts, Henderson Wholesale. Contact a member of our sales team on: 02890 337866 or email /HendersonGroupNI






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



epresentatives from the local agri-food and retail sectors have responded with dismay to proposals in the Northern Ireland Budgetary Outlook; in particular a 11% reduction in the agricultural department’s budget and a hike in business rates. Published on December 18 by the Department of Finance, the Budgetary Outlook sets out potential scenarios rather than approved decisions, inviting feedback from stakeholders. Branding the Outlook bleak reading, Barclay Bell, president of the Ulster Farmers’ Union, said: “Agri-food is one of the biggest contributors to the economy. It is worth £4.5bn and employs over 100,000 people across Northern Ireland. We need an adequately-resourced government department to support the industry, especially with Brexit on the horizon.” Expressing concern over a proposal to reduce the 2019/2020 budget of the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs by 11%, he said: “This




will be a critical time in terms of Brexit and there are significant implications for the department’s strategic policies. It’s a grim outlook for farm families and rural communities.” Retail NI, meanwhile, has described several elements of the Budgetary Outlook as completely unacceptable. “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 Park charges,” said Glyn Roberts, chief executive of Retail NI. “71% of our members had their rates bills increased after the last revaluation and to further Barclay Bell increase that burden will result in some of our members closing their businesses. “What makes this proposal even more unacceptable, is that the Department of Finance also suggests ending the Small Business Rate Relief Scheme which would be a double whammy for our members and the wider small business sector.



“Retail NI and Hospitality Ulster have tabled proposals to improve the existing Small Business Rates Glyn Roberts Scheme which we would urge any incoming Finance Minister to urgently consider. “As if this was not bad enough, the paper also suggests a hike in on-street car parking charges and actually puts forward the idea of extending them to other parts of our towns and cities. “This would drive shoppers away from our town centres towards the big out-oftown multi nationals with their free car parking.” Feedback on the Northern Ireland Budgetary Outlook 2018-20 is invited by a deadline of January 26, at uk. View the Outlook in full at: https:// briefing-northern-ireland-budgetaryoutlook-2018-20.








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Volume 53, Number 1 January 2018 Editor: Alyson Magee E: Tel: 028 9026 4175 Contributors: Michele Shirlow, Donald C McFetridge, Richard Halleron, Jason Winstanley Sales Manager: Mark Glover E: Tel: 028 9026 4267 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.




017 was a strong year in showcasing our exceptional food and drink both at home and abroad. We have continued to build on the success of 2016’s Year of Food & Drink, with local companies winning prestigious awards across all of our sectors. Northern Ireland producers achieved another fantastic total of 244 gold stars in the 2017 Great Taste awards, with Peter Hannan once again winning our local Golden Fork. Nine businesses secured wins at the Irish Quality Food Awards while, at the Blas Na hÉireann, Irish Food Awards, 35 companies collected 42 awards, including Best Artisan, Best New Product and Best in Ulster. 2017 also saw Mash Direct named the Daily Telegraph Festival of Business SME of the Year. Willowbrook Foods won the UK Fresh Produce Manufacturing Company of the Year Award and Glenarm Castle farm manager was declared the Beef Innovator of the Year at the British Farming Awards, recognising the reputation and quality of Glenarm Shorthorn Beef. Undoubtedly there are challenges ahead for Northern Ireland’s food and drink companies but our history of success shows that we have an industry of resilient, resourceful companies with exceptional products, who have the passion and commitment to succeed no matter what the future holds. Northern Ireland’s reputation for

pure, natural, quality food and drink is spreading throughout the world. We are delighted that our food and drink businesses are becoming ever more visible and ambitious in taking their products to growing world markets. Invest NI’s focus remains on helping local businesses to maximise the commercial opportunities in Great Britain and beyond. Our Business Strategy for 2017 to 2021 focuses on encouraging businesses to create jobs, invest in research and development and increase sales from outside of Northern Ireland. We are committed to helping ensure that the local agri-food industry remains competitive in global markets, in line with these corporate objectives. Our ambition is to be regarded by our customers as a trusted business partner and we will continue to help local food and drink producers to position themselves to meet the challenges ahead. We want to ensure that they are as productive and efficient as is possible and are ready to maximise opportunities. Invest NI has an expanding global network designed to support Northern Ireland businesses who are keen to explore new prospects. That, coupled with the provision of in-market expertise and resources, should help drive the local food and drink industry towards further growth in international premium markets. There is every reason for optimism and, if we work together, I believe we can achieve even more success.




elcome to the January Yearbook edition of Ulster Grocer, packed with commentary from industry representatives including reflections on the year past and forecasts for the year to come. For the wider grocery retailing sector, it’s been a year of evolution with some of the big players becoming bigger. Tesco is proceeding apace with its Booker takeover, Nisa members approved acquisition by The Co-op, and The Co-op again swooped in to replace beleaguered Palmer & Harvey as supplier to Costcutter plus a number of other symbols as the year drew to a close. Discounters continued to grow their market share, meanwhile, but – while making for a highly competitive marketplace – the good news is all this acquisitive activity is failing to quell growth for our homegrown retailers the Henderson Group and Musgrave. For the Henderson Group, celebrating its 120th anniversary, its independent and company-owned store numbers have risen to 442 (with 32 new shops added in 2017), while the Group’s major investment programme included the opening of an (excuse the cliché but it is merited here) state-of-the-art £12.5m ambient warehouse in Mallusk. Other notable successes for Henderson includes its 12 Deals of Christmas promotion and Barista Bar. Musgrave, our Yearbook cover star, has also enjoyed a successful year; both in Northern Ireland and in the other markets in which it operates from the Republic of Ireland to Spain and even China. While it only entered the Northern Ireland market in 1982, the wholesaler/retailer has achieved rapid growth in the subsequent years and now has 36 SuperValu, 81 Centra and 106 Mace stores in its portfolio of retail partners. In addition to a £1.1m revamp of its Duncrue Marketplace, Musgrave has invested £10m in a dramatic shop design overhaul and values it commitment to local food and drink producers at £100m. For Musgrave, successful developments have included the launch of the Chipmongers and Frank and Honest brands, and a

focus on healthy ranges. And growth is not limited to the multiples or Henderson and Musgrave. Many other symbol group and independent retailers, farm shops and delis across Northern Ireland are enjoying strong trade as locals respond to their diverse and high-quality offering, alongside a personal touch in relation to customer service. Of course, challenging the ongoing profitability and viability of these businesses is a whole range of issues from price competition and the national living wage to business rates, with our p3 news story highlighting potential problems in the Northern Ireland Budgetary Outlook. Retail NI will continue to make the case for small businesses and, one can only hope, any proposal to hike rates further will be abandoned. Our town centres have too many vacant shop fronts as it is. To end on a positive note, the Ulster Grocer Marketing Awards 2018 are launched over pages 22-25 in the Yearbook. Now in their 30th year, to mark the occasion, we will be enhancing our activity around the awards – watch this space. Details on entry into, and sponsorship opportunities around, the awards are featured inside. The deadline for entries will be featured in the February Ulster Grocer, but will most probably be around mid-March so the shortlist can run in the April edition. We are also very pleased to be adding a new accolade in the 30th year of the awards; the Lorraine Hall Young Marketeer Award. Kestrel Foods is sponsoring the new award in memory of Lorraine, who founded the business with her husband Michael, but sadly passed away last August at the age of 49. Well respected and admired within the local food and drink sector, Lorraine was instrumental in creating the hugely successful Forrest Feast brand, which picked up many accolades over the years at the Ulster Grocer Marketing Awards including Best Brand in 2014. How fitting then, that this new award will carry Lorraine’s name while adding an exciting new category recognising young talent. We can’t wait to see the entries, and urge the trade to get nominating. A Happy New Year to our readers and advertisers.

Alyson Magee

The Dunnes Stores retail empire - which includes 17 Northern Ireland outlets - last year received a significant £250m dividend from its main company, which is based here. New accounts filed by the business’s main UK arm, Dunnes Stores (Bangor), show that last year it paid out £250m in dividends to connected firms in the Dunnes group. It’s a major departure from recent years where the secretive familyowned company made much smaller dividend payouts of £310,000 in 2015 and £760,000 in 2014.

GROCERYAID PUBLISHES FUNDRAISING GOOD PRACTICE Working closely with supporters, GroceryAid has drafted a code of practice describing what good practice looks like when retailers run an event on behalf of charities. The GroceryAid Principles of Good Practice has been completed with assistance from Asda, Sainsbury’s, Marks and Spencer, Tesco, Waitrose and Morrisons. The principles are designed to be compliant with paragraph nine of the Groceries Supply Code of Practice: Payments as a condition of being a supplier. A full set of guiding principles are available to anyone who would like to see them at principles-good-practice/



COCA-COLA HBC EMPLOYEES RAISE OVER £30,000 FOR CHARITY Pictured with the famous Coca-Cola Christmas Truck are, from left, Caoimhe O’Connell and Fionn Faherty from Dublin Simon Community; Barry O’Donovan; Matthieu Seguin, and Persida Mocan from Coca-Cola HBC Ireland and Northern Ireland; and Joanne Young and Emma Ewings from MacMillan Cancer Support.


mployees at Coca-Cola HBC Ireland and Northern Ireland have been giving back all year round, not just at Christmas, raising vital funds for its charity partners, MacMillan Cancer Support and the Simon Community. In a second year of partnership with both charities, employees based across Lisburn, Dublin, Cork, Tipperary and Tuam contributed to the success of the fundraising efforts, which were then matched by the business. In total, £65,300 has been donated to the charities over the last two years, with £30,000 raised in 2017 alone. Both charities remain close to the heart of the business, having been selected by employees. With more than 8,000 people currently experiencing homelessness in

Ireland, there was unwavering support from Coca-Cola HBC employees for the partnership with Simon Community; an organisation that works with people across the country who are at risk or experiencing homelessness. Similarly, MacMillan Cancer Support is a service close to many communities across Northern Ireland for the work they do in providing practical, emotional and financial support to families affected by cancer. Fundraising activities included a cycle challenge from Lisburn to Dublin, annual football tournament, Halloween bake sale, bucket collection in Belfast on Black Friday and donations during the CocaCola Christmas Truck Tour for employees around the island of Ireland.

TESCO GIVEN FINAL CLEARANCE FOR £3.7BN TIE-UP WITH BOOKER Supermarket Tesco’s £3.7bn takeover of wholesale group Booker has been given the final all-clear after the competition watchdog said it would not lead to higher prices or hit services for shoppers. The Competition and Markets Authority said its in-depth investigation into the tie-up found it did not raise competition concerns despite fears raised by rival wholesalers. Following the decision, shareholders will now be asked to vote on the deal in February. Tesco and Booker welcomed the decision and said the deal is now expected to complete in March.

SMOKERS TURNING TO UNTAXED TOBACCO? More than half of smokers surveyed in Northern Ireland said the rising price of cigarettes has tempted them to buy untaxed tobacco. A survey claimed there are shocking levels of illegal trade and tax avoidance among smokers here. The Tobacco Manufacturers’ Association, which carried out the analysis, said people are pushed to buy untaxed cigarettes because the government has made legal ones so expensive. Its report claims the government could be losing out on up to £115m in revenue from Northern Ireland - part of a £3bn UK-wide shortfall.



orthern Ireland has a key role in developing new forms of powdered milk that can be incorporated into nutritional food and beverage products and exported around the world. Ulster University has been awarded funding of almost €400,000 as part of a larger €2.6m research grant to develop new mixing process technologies for milk powder hydration that aims to significantly enhance the economic competitiveness of the Irish dairy industry. The agriculture sector has experienced a difficult few years and continues to battle rising costs. The research at Ulster University aims to provide the Irish dairy 6

industry with a competitive edge in global markets as well as secure Ireland’s place as a global centre of excellence in powdered dairy ingredient research. “This important research will be conducted at the Coleraine campus at our world-leading Bioimaging Core Facility which is home to excellent researchers and £4m worth of cutting edge technologies,” said Professor Tara Moore, research director for the Biomedical Sciences Research Institute. “When combined with innovative techniques employed by our research team, the site offers a bioimaging capability which sets it apart from any other facility on the island of Ireland.”

Pictured are Dr Barry O’Hagan, lead researcher at Ulster University, PHD student Lucy Gallagher and Dr Valeria Cenini.



pledge to avoid hard borders for Northern Ireland by land or sea, as part of the first round of Brexit negotiations successfully completed between the UK government and EU on December 8, has been welcomed by trade. Urging local political leaders to immediately begin talks to restore the Assembly and Executive, Glyn Roberts, chief executive of Retail NI, said: “No borders on the island of Ireland or in the Irish Sea were the bottom line in our presentation to the House of Commons Brexit Select Committee. “We are pleased that this is an essential part of this deal. “Retail NI wants to see the UK having EU regulatory convergence as the only sure way of avoiding borders anywhere in these islands. The UK should stay in the Customs Union and Single Market

for a two-year transition and a wider UK and EU Customs agreement thereafter.” Dr Judith Bryans, chief executive of Dairy UK, said: “We have continued to stress how important ensuring there remains no border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland is to the dairy industry supply chain, which requires the transportation of raw milk and other products across the border without tariff or administrative barriers. “We also welcome the commitment to protect the East-West border, as it is crucial there remains regulatory alignment between Northern Ireland and Great Britain so trade can continue freely within the UK. This is important for a number of reasons, including avoiding an undue burden of regulation for businesses within the UK, and because dairy and meat from



ormer Amateur Commonwealth, European and World boxing champ and Olympic medallist Michael Conlon has been enlisted by the Henderson Group to throw his weight behind its 7-day Deal to let shoppers know how accessible great value is for them in the New Year. The retailer and wholesaler has invested in a new look media campaign to support the promotion, which hopes to drive footfall to their supermarket brands throughout the year, kicking off from January 1. “We experienced a huge year of growth in 2017 for the large format EUROSPAR and ViVOXTRA brands in Northern Ireland,” said Catherine McAlynn, brand manager at EUROSPAR. “We now have over 60 outlets across communities here, ensuring accessibility to a wide range of supermarket goods at lower prices for our shoppers. This promotion enables the retailer to offer a high value good for a lower price for each week of the month.” EUROSPAR and ViVOXTRA retailers will promote the offer with newly-created branding, specifically for their brands, and will also have access to point of sale

in-store branding, overbags and radio and television advertising. EUROSPAR and ViVOXTRA will reveal each deal exclusively through their social media networks on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and via the website.

Local Boxer Michael Conlon is pictured with Marie-Claire Caldwell, marketing and communications executive, Henderson Group.

NI make an important contribution to food on shelf in GB.” Ann McGregor, chief executive of Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said: “The mutual commitment to a transition period will support business confidence - however answers will be needed on what leaving the EU will mean exactly for regulation, customs, hiring, standards, tariffs and taxes. “Finally, one of the biggest priorities for many firms since the EU referendum has been to get clarity and security for their European employees, whose contribution to business is hugely valued. We are delighted that they, as well as UK citizens living and working in the EU, now have more clarity and can plan their future with greater confidence.” See p61 for UFU’s comment on the Brexit negotiations.



etail footfall declined by 2.4% in Northern Ireland in November, representing a sixth month of consecutive decline. While performing above the three-month average decrease of 4.4%, the November figure was higher than the 12-month negative rate of 1.7%. In November, High Street and Retail Parks both saw a decline of 2.6%, while visitors to Shopping Centres declined by 1.7%. “This was the weakest performance reported by any of the nations or regions across the UK, with the decline in footfall continuing at a faster pace than witnessed over the past year as a whole,” said Aodhán Connolly, director of the Northern Ireland Retail Consortium. “Retailers will be pulling out the stops in order to deliver a more creditable performance during the crucial Christmas trading period, with December itself traditionally accounting for an eighth of annual retail sales.” 7




’m fairly certain that very few reading this would argue when I respectfully suggest that 2017 was a very testing retail environment for Northern Ireland’s food retailers. In a very uncertain world, with constant changes and revisions within the retail food sector in terms of supply chain management and associated costs, with uncertainty about Brexit, interest rate rises, currency fluctuations, and many other unpredictable variables, 2017 has been extremely challenging for retailers in all sectors; not least those operating in the grocery category. During 2017, we continued to witness the phenomenal rise and success of the German discounters, particularly Lidl right here in Northern Ireland. Their rapid development in the region (and further afield) has become a considerable threat to those operating in the grocery sector, and this looks set to continue apace in 2018 and beyond. The British multiple chains - Asda, Sainsbury’s and Tesco - have all faced new challenges in what has become an intensely competitive sector. The Big Three here in Northern Ireland have been constantly snapping at each other’s heels in the race for supermarket supremacy, as they continue to battle it out in order to win the hearts and minds of Ulster’s consumers. Price-cutting and promotional campaigns have been the order of the day and, again, this will continue right the way through 2018 and beyond as they constantly chip away at each other’s market shares. Financially hard-pressed consumers, faced with large supermarket shopping bills, have become increasingly accustomed to shopping around like never before. They have changed their shopping behaviour and it is this constant flux in consumer behaviour that, in many ways, presents one of the biggest challenges to all food sector retailers whether they be in the convenience, multiple or discount categories. The days of consumers doing all their shopping in one supermarket have gone, and are unlikely ever to return. Nowadays, consumers (based on recently published research evidence in several leading retail surveys) are much more likely to visit a number of different shops or retail outlets in order to carry out what used to be known as their ‘one big 8

weekly supermarket shop’. Northern Irish consumers are no different from their counterparts in other parts of the country in that they are looking for the best possible products (including leading manufacturers’ brands) at the best possible prices. It is this concerted effort to deliver products and retail services which meet consumer expectations, in terms of this price-quality continuum, which will determine who will be the losers and winners in the grocery sector as we move forward in 2018. I firmly believe that retailers, concerned about what 2018 holds for them, need to focus on getting their retail strategies even more keenly focused in order to meet consumer expectations. AIDA might be of help. No, not the opera, but a retailing acronym which (very simply) gives retailers a few pointers about how to maximise their success rates in 2018 and beyond. A = Attract ATTENTION I = Create INTEREST D = Generate the DESIRE to purchase A = Consumer ACTION, ie spending 1. Let’s start with ATTENTION. It is absolutely imperative that retailers reexamine and re-evaluate fresh methods of attracting consumer ATTENTION. It would be foolhardy, if not wholly unpardonable, to assume that, because we had customers last year, we’ll continue to have them loyally shop with us for the foreseeable future. Consumers are promiscuous and will move from one retailer to another at the drop of a hat, or (more accurately) a price ticket. Therefore, it is essential to grab and keep their ATTENTION through the use of clever marketing and advertising campaigns and special offers if we are going to be assured of their continued patronage. 2. Creating INTEREST in your brand is essential. The fascia over the door of Sainsbury’s or Tesco is not enough these days. That simply lets consumers know where they are shopping. It is more important than ever to generate fresh INTEREST by creating 21st century retail environments with bolt-on services which exceed consumer expectations. Through creating INTEREST in your brand, you are much more likely to be successful and to retain customer loyalty. One of the principal themes which has

already started to emerge is creating INTEREST through in-store entertainment for both junior and adult shoppers. Happy, entertained consumers are more likely to increase their dwell-time and, as a result, hopefully spend more money while in-store. Never underestimate the power of creating, generating and maintaining INTEREST, not only in your store, but also in your in-store cafes, at the kiosks and in the aisles. This invariably pays dividends and is worth investing time and money in. 3. Generating the DESIRE to purchase helps to increase consumer spend. Careful use of in-store atmospherics and variables helps to create the DESIRE to purchase. It is basic consumer psychology and well worth thinking about. 4. Finally: When you’ve got the customer’s ATTENTION: if you’ve managed to create genuine INTEREST in your products, services and brand image, if you’ve managed to create the DESIRE to purchase, then you’ve already made it to stage four of the acronym which is ACTION. The bottom line is that ACTION results in consumers reaching into their wallets for their cash or cards and spending money in your store. That is the route to successful retail engagement. It’s really that easy: you need to grab their attention, create genuine interest, generate the desire to purchase and get your customers spending. This might all sound very simple and straightforward or too much like basic common sense, but, unfortunately, it’s not. Additionally, common sense is not always common practice. However, clever retailers will quickly recognise the value and benefits of using AIDA. Those who don’t may rue the day they ignored the basic prompts and pointers contained in this simple retail acronym. Donald C McFetridge is an independent retail analyst and media commentator. For 26 years he lectured in Retail Studies at Ulster University. He retired from academia in April 2016 to concentrate on retail consultancy, publishing and broadcasting. He is a regular contributor on local, regional and national radio and television. Recent media appearances include: UTV Live at Six, BBC Radio 4 (You and Yours), The Mark Patterson Show, BBC Radio Foyle, BBC Radio Ulster and Newstalk, Dublin. Follow him on Twitter: @donaldretail.





ven in an era of digital communications, there can be no doubting the value of face-to-face contact with customers and suppliers … unfortunately, when you are at a geographical distance, there’s also no doubting the cost of making and maintaining those connections. For most SMEs, travel is a necessary evil; consuming the time of senior staff and eating into budgets. If you (and your accountant) haven’t yet ‘sharpened the pencil’ and looked for extra value for money, then you are certainly missing a trick. When it comes to business travel, however, value for money isn’t about finding the lowest priced air fare, the cheapest transfer or the humblest hotel. True value lies in creating travel plans

that are fast, easy and affordable, incorporating sufficient flexibility to take account of the potential for meetings to overrun or plans to change. When you rock up for that all-important meeting you want to look calm and collected, not fraught and crumpled! Proactive management of your business travel will not only save an SME time and money, it will also help it to do better business … and you don’t have to be a major corporation or even a ‘frequent flyer’ to bring in the expert support needed to get it right. Belfast-headquartered Selective Travel Management is one of the UK’s fastest growing independent travel management companies, ranked this year as the top ‘Fast Tracked TMC’ by

the prestigious Buying Business Travel, which also placed the company as number seven for new business wins. While its c.£50m turnover owes much to big business contracts, SMEs are a fast-growth and important client sector as managing and financial directors increasingly waken up to the value of accessing professional support for corporate travel. Keith Graham, managing director from Selective Travel Management, says: “We have 100 highly experienced staff looking after clients across four specialist divisions, covering Higher Education, B2B, Government and Charity/NGO, with small to medium enterprises an important and flourishing element of our growing business success story.”

Providing tailored solutions to suit your travel needs… First class customer service, the latest technology and a proactive approach to your ‘Duty of Care’ obligations, combined to reinforce Selective Travel Managements’ business edge.

CONTACT US +44(0)2890 962000




Barista Bar by Henderson Foodservice lays claim as the biggest retail coffee brand in Northern Ireland, following a £3m investment. Pictured are Ronan Gourley, national sales manager Ireland, UCC Coffee; David Bucklee, store manager, Milltown SPAR; and Mark Stewart-Maunder, business development director, Henderson Foodservice.

Matthieu Seguin discusses his first year as general manager of Coca-Cola HBC Ireland, including the company’s innovative new functional products.


part of a cGuigan as h Shane M l McCormack, MD, ac co ’s on ae Frampt ed are Mich an, Bridgeen Rea boxer Carl ign. Pictur s up with cClenagh ell campa Centra team ors Jane M its Live W ad in ss t ba en m am £1m invest d Centra Live Well an Musgrave, vis. Da ny hn and Jo

rketing of mxb Shopper Ma Karen Carmichael of the Ulster Grocer Agency, a sponsor local artisan s 2017, showcases Marketing Award rants for the Best ent g itin inv ile brands wh paign category. Artisan Foods Cam

DUP lead er Arlen 10 Dow e ning Stre Foster heads in et, afte itself in r the DU to a prime P bargain the Con ing posi finds servativ ti es, mak needed ing up th on with to form e seats a after th e June 8 British govern m G ent and agri eneral El -fo ection. Retail Brexit-re od representa tives id lated is en sues incl tariffs, la uding th tify b e border priorities our and agricu , ltural p . olicy as


Bronagh Henderson, Paddy Doody and Bronagh Luke show off SPAR’s cowboy hats, which scored a guerrilla marketing hit at the Balmoral Show.

Musgrave celebrates its impressive haul at the Ulster Grocer Marketing Awards including Best New Product Launch (Best Beef Ever), Best Artisan Food Campaign (Meet the Makers), highly commended for Best Marketing Campaign (Let’s Rock Christmas) and runner up Best CSR/Charity Partnership (Action Cancer). Pictured are Nigel Maxwell, sales director, SuperValu and Centra; Desi Derby, head of marketing; Ciara McClafferty, trading director; and Michael McCormack, managing director.

The McKeever family – Peter, Catrina, Pat, Catherine, Patricia, Alanna and Nuala, welcome Bank of Ireland Open Farm Weekend visitors to Longmeadow Farm in Portadown, where they produce cider and apple juices.

ichard and R y Park raph, o t Teleg cutive of M Awards. s a lf e xe eB ss r of th llum, chief e Busine nks to h c p e ra ir Dri leg gd cCo nagin net M e Belfast Te Food & an, ma present Ja th Top 25 McCle rocer ard at ank Richard of Ulster B vement Aw the Ulster G n ie s Donna ifetime Ach , again top L ile anwh with a e m , ark Moy P ies. an Comp

John McCann, MD and founder of Willowbrook Foods, receives an MBE from HRH The Prince of Wales at Buckingham Palace in June.



M&S celebrates 50 years in Northern Ireland. Pictured are Ryan Lennon, head of region and Lynsey Beatty, 50 years project manager, with representatives from local suppliers Finnebrogue, Hovis, Genesis and Skea Eggs.

Ruth Sloan introduces Irwin’s new Better You pan breads range at its Portadown bakery. Featuring white and wholemeal lines, the range is low in sugar and fat content.

Sarah Shim mons, head of marketin and Jen’s sh g at Linwoo owcase Linw ds, and Jenn oods’ new ra Protein+. y Curran of nge of natu Tony ral plant prot ein blends, Hemp


Thompson’s Family Teas celebrates a 10-year run at Great Taste, during which it has picked up over 100 awards. Pictured are Ross and David Thompson, joint managing directors.

Musgrave co ntinues to ro ll out its Fran in SuperValu k and Hone and Centra st Gourmet stores. Coffee

Company br


Patrick Donaghy of Kerry Foods is presented with an Account Manager of the Year award by Debra Johnson, trading controller of Food Force Ireland during the buying group’s Direct Trade Supplier Day at the Culloden Estate & Spa on September 26.


Great British Menu star chef Mark Abbott joins Ivor Ferguson (Ulster Farmers’ Union), restaurateur Michael Deane and Michele Shirlow (Food NI) as an ambassador for the Mighty Spud campaign. He recreated his potato-based winning dish from the BBC2 show.

Peter Lavery, Joanne Beattie and Peter Rodgers represent Robert Roberts at the Tesco Taste Festival, held at Custom House Square in Belfast over September 22-24.

ed are join family Agnew Group’s £12.5m e th d n tional a celebrate the Interna to of SPAR s and visitors ht, MD e allusk. u e y sm lo a p W use in M em o p h u re Tobias ro a nG tw o n rs ie e b d m n by He new a ent in a investm

Henderso n and Direc Food Machiner y owner tor Julie sD B laying cl aim as Ir ell (centre) cove avid and Debra eland’s le r H ading fo the December U enderson od mach lster Gro inery su cer, pplier.

Glyn Roberts (Retail NI) and Colin Neill (Hospitality Ulster) talk to Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Owen Smith and DUP MP Nigel Dodds about measures to stimulate economic growth, as the collapse of the Northern Ireland Executive approaches one year on since the RHI scandal.

Belfast Wat erfront hosts the Summit over October 30-N International Dairy Fede technology ovember 2. ration’s Wor and the envir Brexit, milk ld Dairy production onment are recovery, among topi cs discussed.





n our strategic action plan, Taste the Greatness, we pinpointed innovation as a key element in the sustainable growth of the food and drink industry, now Northern Ireland’s biggest manufacturer and a developing supplier of a very broad range of products to Britain, the Republic of Ireland and further afield. Food NI is focused on assisting local companies to come up with ideas for the new products that will ensure greater success at home and abroad. We are keen to deploy our expertise and contacts to help companies to promote their quality products and also appreciate the support provided by major retailers here which offer access to the market in Great Britain and also work with local enterprises in adapting to market opportunities. Collaboration between the top retailers in particular and local producers has become vitally important and is contributing to the confidence and success of smaller enterprises. There’s an impressive track record of younger companies here benefiting from the platform these retailers provide to sales in Britain and the Republic. As an industry, we certainly punch above our weight in so many areas and growth contributes to employment opportunities here, especially in rural communities. To compete globally, we need to continue to raise the level of innovation in the fast-moving grocery sector. The need for all companies, both large and small, to step up investment in new products and services will surely grow in the post-Brexit era which will certainly see an influx of food and drink from abroad as a result of likely international trade agreements. There’s a very real threat of cheaper food and drink from abroad after we leave the EU single market. Innovation is now recognised as being crucially important to economic growth short and long term. The benefits for individual companies have been shown to include improved productivity, greater efficiency and enhanced responsiveness to customer needs. Research proves that a focus on innovation, especially in terms of new product development, can deliver faster turnaround times, increased 14

Michele Shirlow, CE of Food NI

value-added through improved products and greater customer exposure through better marketing. The opportunities presented by the ever-expanding global marketplace only exist if we, as an industry, are able to exploit them. We are fortunate here to have an experienced and successful support infrastructure among the best in the world, for wishing to invest in new products and processes. The Food Innovation Centre on the Loughry campus of the College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise, near Cookstown, has helped many young companies on the road to success. The ‘graduates’ include Kearney Blue Cheese, Glastry Farm Ice Cream, En Place Foods, Morrow’s Foods, Clandeboye Estate Yoghurt and Yomega frozen yogurt.

The Agri-food Quest Competence Centre at Queen’s University in Belfast has also launched a programme to assist smaller enterprises. And the Foodovation Centre on the campus of the North West Regional College in Derry, which is spearheaded by talented chef Brian McDermott, has helped to create new products from the likes of Geri Martin’s Bespoke Chocolates, Carol Banahan’s Stock Pot, Tirkeeran Black Pudding, Broighter Gold Rapeseed Oil and Dart Mountain Cheese. As a result, there’s more support than ever before for imaginative thinking in our most important marketing industry. And, I am delighted to say, there’s greater collaboration at all levels in original products. Innovation is producing the type of food that an ever-changing, modern marketplace demands.




have been lobbying for our industry for 22 years now, during which we have experienced many pivotal events for the food and drink sector. I didn’t imagine that we could have any more turbulence in the market and then, along came Brexit. Whilst, I am sure, many readers are tired hearing about Brexit, it is a vitally important issue for the agrifood community in Northern Ireland; a community which arguably represents our most important industry, supporting over 100,000 local jobs and representing more than one fifth of our entire private sector employment. We are committed to lobbying on behalf of the industry in relation to key decisions that must now be taken by the government. We require structures and policies that will enable the industry to grow, which will allow us time to change and, most importantly, understand the complexity of the inter-relationships in the food eco-system. Complex trade flows exist between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, between Northern Ireland and Great Britain, and with the EU – all of which will be impacted on by whichever path the government decides to follow. In November 2016, NIFDA launched a substantial discussion document on Brexit which is available to download at www. We have been building on this work throughout 2017, holding meetings with secretaries of state, ministers, DAERA, DEFRA, DiT, BEiS, HMRC, FSA, DE and DEXEU. We have addressed conferences in Westminster, Belfast, Cork and Dublin. All of this effort is focused on the particular issues facing the local food and drink sector to ensure they are factored into future policies and trade negotiations. We continue to set out six critical requirements for our industry if it is to continue to grow and prosper and to meet the Agri-Food Strategy Board’s target of a £7bn industry turnover in another three years. These six essential elements are: 1. A very close and formalised engagement with NIFDA and government officials, both at a local and national level, to understand the complexities and implications of policy decisions.

Michael Bell, executive director of NIFDA

2. A commercially workable, comprehensive trade agreement with Europe, whatever that might look like, and however that might be achieved - it is very important that we have access in commercially viable terms to the market place. 3. We need a workable labour policy. Some 50% of our employees are foreign nationals and we simply cannot function without an ongoing supply of labour in an industry which is very dependent on labour to deal with seasonal peaks and troughs. Indeed one illustration of those seasonal peaks and troughs is the supply of turkeys at this time of year, which is almost entirely managed within an eightweek window. 4. Export assistance to the same level as our competitors. NIFDA has been calling for an agri-food export marketing body for Northern Ireland for many years now. It was announced by the First Minister

last March and we eagerly await its establishment. It is essential that our industry has the same level of support as our colleagues in Scotland and Ireland if we are to compete successfully in a global market. 5. Arguably, most importantly, we must support the family farm base which drives the rural economy of Northern Ireland. We need to improve support for productive outcomes from farms using a balanced portfolio of policies delivering efficient output, environmental sustainability and rural society support. 6. We must continue to support building on our hard earned and deserved reputation, from operating at the highest standards of quality, safety and integrity. We have a lot to be proud of in Northern Ireland food and drink and, if Brexit can be developed to allow growth, the future could be very bright. 15




he Ulster Farmers’ Union represents over 11,500 farming families across Northern Ireland – and retailers are our best ally in securing a share of what consumers spend on food. The local market is important and, as president of the UFU, I have been delighted by the way some retailers have worked really hard to make local sourcing a concept that appeals to consumers. This is a win-win situation for everyone. Consumers enjoy high quality food with real provenance attached; retailers establish a point of difference in a harshly competitive market and, of course, as farmers we gain every time someone buys what we produce, be those sales local, national or global. As Brexit unfolds, the case for farmers and retailers working together remains strong. Consumers will still want high quality, safe, affordable food. Farmers can deliver this. Brexit negotiations continue and we are pressing the government to back UK farming. And while there are challenges, there are also opportunities.

Agriculture is the bedrock of the UK’s largest manufacturing industry – food and drink. In Northern Ireland, it is the cornerstone of our economy, turning over £4.5bn and employing over 100,000 people. The importance of profitable family-run farms in our industry cannot be underestimated. We are in a time of unprecedented change which represents a once-in-ageneration opportunity to shape the future of Northern Ireland agriculture and ensure the future UK Domestic Agricultural Policy is operationally and strategically right for Northern Ireland’s farming industry. Recently, a number of retailers have committed to increasing the number of local products on their shelves and meat counters. This is encouraging and we want to see this continue. In fact, we would like more retailers to make this type of commitment. A major concern for farmers is that Brexit brings cheap food imports, produced to much lower standards.




ooking ahead to 2018, many of the main challenges faced by the agri-food sector in Northern Ireland remain the same as this time last year. The industry will continue to grapple with uncertainty around Brexit, issues around the status of the Irish border, and the implications for future trade. However, throughout 2017, food and beverage firms proved to be resilient to matters that are largely outside their control, and it is hoped greater clarity around Brexit will be forthcoming such that businesses can plan properly for the future. A major talking point linked to Brexit, that will undoubtedly gain more traction throughout the year, is what appears to be a growing skills shortage. Anecdotally, many of the firms that we work with have been telling us about their difficulties finding suitable 16

candidates to fill vacancies, especially those companies that rely heavily on EU workers born outside the UK. At our recent annual food and beverage dinner, industry leaders gathered to discuss this issue, and highlighted, among other things, concerns that the Apprenticeship Levy was not being properly utilised to address the skills gap. With these concerns in mind, it is perhaps unsurprising that many businesses are now considering the automation of some functions, with a view to increasing productivity and reducing the dependence on labour. Locally, much of the mergers and acquisitions activity in 2017 has focused on improving efficiencies, centred largely on consolidation. This is a trend we expect to continue in the year ahead, as larger businesses seek to enhance

Barclay Bell, president of UFU

If this were to happen, retailers may be tempted, in the short term, to put these products on their shelves. I would challenge them to think longer term and that it is in their interest to remain committed to local suppliers. Northern Ireland’s food producers have a worldclass reputation. We pride ourselves on producing high quality, safe, traceable, affordable food. Not only is it crucial that the government backs UK farming, we need the retailers and processors to as well.

Charlie Kerlin, head of food and beverage, Grant Thornton NI

synergies within their operations. In relation to currency, we can expect the exchange rate between sterling and the euro to remain volatile, particularly as Brexit negotiations reach a critical stage. In the short term, however, the weakness of sterling will continue to provide a boost to those companies that export either to the Republic of Ireland or further afield into Europe. Grant Thornton will continue to support our clients locally, nationally and internationally, as we assist the industry in meeting its target of reaching sales of £20bn by 2020. Many of our clients in the sector have secured their Brexit advice vouchers from Intertrade Ireland so we anticipate having a busy 2018.



ast year we assisted 14,000 grocery colleagues across the UK, as we saw a 37% increase in applications for assistance. We support a phenomenal number of grocery colleagues in need, and this will undoubtedly increase in 2018 in a very tough environment. We are delighted to be there to provide this support and, to meet this increased welfare demand, we need to raise more funds in 2018. To do this we have transformed our event calendar, for example, launching our Barcode Festival in June, an industry first where colleagues will come together to celebrate all that’s great about the industry. We have added the President’s Golf Day and are also refreshing favourites such as the GroceryAid Ball, Coast to Coast Cycle and Sporting Heroes Luncheon while adding more challenge events than ever before. Do visit to find out how you can get involved. We were busy in 2017 with highlights including the launch of our #notbuyingit marketing campaign, where we raised

awareness of debt, illness, loneliness and stress and the damaging impact these have on grocery colleagues on a daily basis. This campaign helped us acquire many new supporters as we highlighted the areas in which we can support those in need. In November, we released a short film on Professor Anne McArdle. Professor McArdle is a leading light in the field of bio gerontology (the study of ageing) and her research will improve the lives of many of us. GroceryAid stepped in at an inflection point in Anne’s life and she is a lovely example of the life-changing impact support from the grocery industry can have. Please do visit https://www. my-mum-never-forgot-your-kindness/ to watch her story – we guarantee you will be touched by it. We continue to be delighted by the support we get in Northern Ireland. The fundraising from the Branch punches above its weight and as in the grocery industry, in fundraising, a lot of the very

Steve Barnes, chief executive, GroceryAid

best ideas originate in Northern Ireland. To this end, we offer a heartfelt thank you to our community of volunteers who continue to amaze us with their support, generosity and energy. We do need to keep raising awareness of how we can support grocery colleagues in Northern Ireland and we remain convinced there are more we should be helping. Please spread the word about GroceryAid as does the Ulster Grocer with great enthusiasm – we thank the magazine for its great support in 2017.

 ASDA

ONWARDS AND UPWARDS FOR ASDA IN NORTHERN IRELAND A sda’s business in Northern Ireland continues to grow and 2017 – our 12th year of trading here - proved to be positive in more ways than one across our 17-strong store estate. As a result. Northern Ireland remains one of Asda’s top performing regions, a trend which is set to continue in 2018. As always, our spotlight has focused on our customers; understanding their needs and responding by delivering the ranges and services they want; all underpinned by our ‘save money live better’ ethos. Much of this is steered by tools such as the Asda Income Tracker, a recognised business barometer which monitors consumer spending power at both national and regional level. Its findings continue to resonate loudly with recent figures (Sept 17) revealing family spending power in NI – at £100 per week - had decreased by 1.8% YoY

in the third quarter. While the average UK household’s discretionary income was substantially more at £197 per week, this too was down by £0.94 a week on the previous year – reflecting a gradual decline at a national level. Supporting our supply chain also remains central to our business operation. Key to 2017, and building on the legacy of our commitment to NI’s Year of Food & Drink, was the culmination of Asda’s second Supplier Development Academy. Running over a 12-month period, 11 of our top local food and drink companies benefited from a combined £8m sales boost after participating in this bespoke training and development programme. Aligned with this, we also continued to support the wider agri-food chain through our involvement in Open Farm Weekend and our award-winning stand at the Balmoral Show. We also hosted a

George Rankin, senior director, Asda NI

Sustain, Save and Exchange conference for suppliers, partnered with the LMC to promote Love Lamb Week, and backed the Farm Safety Partnership. Diversity, inclusion and responsibility remain high on our priority list as evidenced through our involvement in the Drink Aware, and Drink Wise Age Well initiatives. Our sponsorship of the UEFA Women’s U19 Championship gave us the chance to reach out to new audiences. And, thanks to our charitable trust, the Asda Foundation, our Community Champions were able to deliver much needed financial and hands-on support to voluntary groups and organisations. 17


LMC LOOKS BACK OVER THE HIGHLIGHTS OF 2017 R eflecting on the past 12 months, it’s safe to say that 2017 has been particularly busy for the Livestock and Meat Commission for Northern Ireland (LMC). Earlier in the year, LMC acknowledged its 50th anniversary of supporting the Northern Irish red meat industry with its provision of key services in market information, consumer promotion, education and industry development. Furthermore, the Northern Ireland Beef and Lamb Farm Quality Assurance Scheme (NIBL FQAS), which is managed by LMC, and is a key foundation stone for the marketing of the industry and its products, also marked its 25th anniversary with a special dinner for stakeholders in November. Along with two major celebrations, the industry within which the organisation operates has faced its fair share of challenges - most notably of which has been Brexit. Industry discussion was dominated by Brexit and LMC has been working hard to provide the industry with information and analysis to support its negotiating positions and decision making. The absence of a Stormont Executive for much of 2017, however, has delayed decision making on issues of strategic importance and the industry has been working hard, with the noticeable local political gap at the table in presenting Northern Ireland’s case during the ongoing negotiations. Despite the challenges presented by Brexit, the red meat industry in Northern Ireland benefitted from a weaker sterling last year in terms of improved livestock prices, direct support payments and marketing options, although this has been partially offset by an increase in the cost of some key inputs which must be imported. In the future, LMC has many exciting projects planned including new campaign advertising activities and helping to secure new market opportunities to name but a few. Brexit will continue to dominate the agenda during 2018 and it is crucial that the uncertainty currently affecting every level of the supply chain is clarified with real progress made on new trade and agricultural policies post Brexit. New market opportunities are essential to achieve maximum return for every 18

Ian Stevenson, chief executive of LMC

component of the animal and the success of the recent opening of the Philippines to UK beef needs to be built on with a strong focus on gaining access for beef and lamb to more markets in Asia, the Americas and the Middle East. LMC will continue to prioritise its work in this area

through its participation in the UK Export Certification Partnership. Elsewhere, emphasising the positive nutritional attributes of red meat and its importance in the diet will be a strong focus of LMC’s promotion and education activity for 2018.




orthern Irish retailers have certainly become mindful of how price conscious their customers have become since EUTPD II came into force. Pleasingly, an increasingly number are resisting the temptation to premium price for a quick short-term gain, and

have instead focused on the long-term sustainability of their businesses. The savviest ensure their prices are pitched at RRP or below1, allowing them to compete with the multiples and prevent their customers from beginning to look elsewhere for tobacco. There’s now certainly more responsibility on the part of retailers to become tobacco experts, from the broader category through to the various sub-sectors and their relative pricing. Standardised packs have certainly increased pricing transparency, and this has favoured key brands in Imperial’s portfolio, like Player’s and Gold leaf, which has in turn led to accelerated demand and growth for these great value propositions. 1 For the avoidance of doubt, retailers are free at all times to determine the selling price of their products.


BRINGING INNOVATION TO TRADITIONAL BAKING TECHNIQUES I rwin’s Bakery has been baking bread for consumers for over 100 years and the business continues to play a major role in the local agri-food sector and wider Northern Ireland economy. At Irwin’s, our consumers and customers continue to be at the heart of everything we do. Be it new product development, investment in machinery, people or IT, each area of the business must support our mission to produce premium quality bread. 2017 has been another great year for the bakery. In a hugely competitive marketplace, Irwin’s is growing its business through product innovation. Consumer needs have changed and we pride ourselves on our ability to recognise and respond to trends by creating new products, which not only deliver, but exceed on shoppers’ expectations. We do so by remaining true to our heritage – through the use of traditional and time-honoured baking techniques; whilst also bringing something new to the table - both in regard to the products and packaging.

Our new Artisan range, which launched in the NI market in October 2017 was a great example – and saw Irwin’s first to market in Northern Ireland with a sourdough batched wrapped bread. We responded to consumer insight which showed shoppers were looking for bread with taste, character, provenance and added nutritional value. The new Artisan range really showcases Irwin’s heritage and baking credentials - our distinctive fermentation and batch bread baking process, coupled with innovation – and the success of the products speak for themselves. As well as continuing to grow market share in NI, our award-winning Rankin Selection traditional Irish bread range has shown 34% value growth (YTD) in GB - with our cake and biscuit brand, Howell’s, also gaining significant traction in the GB market – achieving triple-digit growth in 2017. Looking forward to 2018, we will continue to place a focus on the promotion of family favourites like Nutty Krust, Softee and our number one

Michael Murphy, CEO Irwin’s Bakery

selling muffin range in the NI market – as well as executing our export strategy with the ongoing development of the Howell brand and the growth and promotion of the Rankin Selection range to a new consumer base in GB.


ENTERING ITS 105TH YEAR OF ROASTING COFFEE LOCALLY A Philip Mills, group sales director, Johnson Brothers

general consumer trend in 2017 was demand for quality, which has resulted in a shift in resource with retailers placing a greater emphasis on fresh food. The consumer now expects premium quality across all categories while there is a drive to be more health conscious. Underlying this, however, is the need for convenience as the pressures of modern day life mean that work/life balance is more difficult to manage, time being a valuable commodity. Coffee as a category is no exception and the coffeeto-go market has grown significantly alongside the café culture with consumer knowledge and appreciation also increasing. The acceptable level of quality both in and out of home has risen with consumers wanting to replicate the espresso bar experience at home, leading to demand for premium filter

coffees (often single origin) and a means of producing espresso-based coffees domestically. While the Johnsons brand has continued to be a trusted quality ground coffee offer, this has recently been enhanced with the launch of Bellagio Espresso onto the shelves in ground form. 2017 saw a general increase in webbased sales of whole bean coffees with the launch of Copper Drum Single Origin ranges proving a hit with aficionados – mostly sold through coffee shops and specialist delis. For 2018, plans are afoot to refresh and redesign existing brands with an exciting new capsule range planned for launch to allow great espresso brewing at home. As we enter our 105th year of roasting coffee locally, our underlying maxim remains unchanged, to produce coffees of true excellence from around the globe, freshly roasted in Lisburn… ’a world of coffee, locally roasted’. 19



Mark Windebank, MD of Savage & Whitten

ollowing tremendous growth in 2016 of 15.5%, 2017 has turned out to be another record year for S&W Wholesale with a year-on-year increase of over 18%. During this excellent year, we significantly strengthened our sales and trading teams whilst extending our geographical reach to all corners of the island. In October, we doubled the capacity of our chilled operation as part of our ongoing plans for further growth in the rapidly-expanding categories of chilled and fresh. Also during the fourth quarter, we launched a new updated website which should make life even better for all our customers. We currently capture more than 72% of all orders electronically and expect to see this increase further during 2018. With the continued uncertainty around Brexit suppressing the value of sterling, there are no doubt further opportunities in the export market. However, the recent demise of P&H serves to remind us that we operate in an industry with ‘thin’ wholesale margins and the need

to continually focus on productivity improvements in the face of everincreasing overhead costs. Therefore, as we move forward into 2018, it is important to understand the need to work even harder and smarter in what is a low-growth competitive market place. As we develop, we must constantly review how our customers and staff are changing and hence the requirement for us to adapt to meet their expectations. This is the era of the ‘Instagram-happy digital Generation Y’s or Millennials’ (people born between the early 1980s and the late 1990s). It is estimated that by 2025, Millennials will make up 75% of the workforce. Therefore, with our customers, we must constantly strive to make it more convenient for them to order and reorder whilst finding new opportunities to add value their businesses with support and advice on all aspects of trading. With our workforce, we should recognise that they have different expectations to previous generations




017 was a significant year for Moy Park, following a number of investments and developments that have left us well positioned for future growth. In September, we joined one of the world’s leading chicken producers, Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation. This development provides the business with the opportunity to accelerate growth plans and share best practices to meet and exceed the needs of our customers and consumers. We continue to invest in industryleading farming and operational facilities and our new state-of-the-art hatchery in Newark, England is a reflection of our commitment to the best possible production, animal welfare, hygiene and biosecurity standards. We also invested £4m in our Ashbourne facility enabling the site to reach a significant production milestone of 1 million chickens per week and we 20

recently launched a major recruitment drive at our Craigavon facility to boost our position as one of the most advanced producers of ‘ready to eat’ products in the UK and Europe. Moy Park continues to place a strong emphasis on corporate responsibility and we were thrilled to achieve ‘Platinum’ status – the highest scoring level – in the Northern Ireland Environmental Benchmarking Survey for the fifth year in a row. The business also received a number of prestigious awards over the last year including the Excellence in Food Safety Award at the 2017 Northern Ireland Food and Drink Awards and the Excellence in Manufacturing Award at the inaugural Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council Business Awards. We also continue to support the communities in which we operate through a variety of sponsorships and initiatives. As part of this, we look

about what they expect from us in their jobs and the offices in which they work. If we are to continue with our success in 2018 and beyond, it is imperative that all functions of our business work seamlessly to deliver the first-class service expected of a modern wholesaler. Our trading team, backed by an outstanding IT platform, must deliver ongoing value to both our supply partners and our customers, whilst our sales teams in symbol and wholesale must work ever closer to our customers, delivering increased value from our business models.

Karen Kelso, director of business, Moy Park

forward to continuing our partnership with Ulster Rugby as its official poultry supplier for the 2017 / 2018 season. Moy Park remains focused on ensuring it is the most sustainable and safest food company in Europe and on delivering the best possible service to our customers. The combination of an experienced management team, an outstanding product portfolio and a solid financial position means that the business is well-placed to maintain the current momentum in the business and build on our position as one of Europe’s leading food companies.


CONSUMER ENGAGEMENT AT AN ALL-TIME HIGH FOR TAYTO F ollowing a momentous 2016, when Tayto turned 60 amidst Northern Ireland’s Year of Food & Drink, the impetus continued in 2017 with the launch of new products, exciting ranges and original flavours. Throughout the year, we cemented our position as Northern Ireland’s number one crisp and snack brand with consumer engagement at an all-time high, both off and online. Local sampling tours provided positive brand feedback within the brand’s target demographics and consumers were engaged at Northern Ireland’s biggest events, including the Balmoral Show, Belfast Marathon and Fresherfest. Online interaction grew daily via the company’s website and social media profiles, bringing Tayto closer to consumers and fans than ever before. A new line, Tayto Small Fries, full of big taste and available in two flavours, Beef and Salt & Vinegar, was launched. We also introduced new flavours to our £1 sharing bag line, Pickled Onion, Wuster Sauce and Sticky BBQ Rib, meeting

consumer demand for enhanced choice for ‘big nights in’. The summer saw the relaunch of our artisan, hand-cooked range as Tayto Craft. Core varieties include Causeway Sea Salt & Malt Vinegar, Sweet Chilli & Roasted Red Pepper, Vintage Irish Cheddar & Onion and Dry Aged Irish Beef & Peppercorn, as well as the special edition, Salt Aged Ham Hock pack. The range is available in sharing bags and impulse packs. As part of Tayto’s ongoing commitment to encouraging young talent and supporting local education, we linked with Belfast Metropolitan College to run a competition, tasking fashion students with creating a Tayto-inspired garment. The stunning, winning ballgown, made entirely of Tayto Ready Salted packaging, was revealed at the Camerata Ireland Fashion Showcase, part of the Clandeboye Festival. Tayto gained another new celebrity fan in 2017 when actress Vicky McClure declared her love of our brand on

Elly Hunter, marketing director of Tayto

Graham Norton’s BBC Radio show. Vicky, who filmed the BBC crime drama, Line of Duty, in Northern Ireland, stated that Tayto Cheese and Onion crisps are the reason why she fell in love with Belfast! On a corporate level, our parent company, Tayto Group, developed its portfolio in 2017 acquiring a majority share of luxury popcorn producer, Portlebay Popcorn. Montagu Group, a sister company, was also launched, to manage our vending arm following the acquisitions of Freedom Refreshments and West Country Vending Services. 2018 will see Tayto launch more products, ranges and flavours, linking the brand to key events in the local calendar. Interaction, both off and online, remains a key focus for us, with new competitions and initiatives aimed at augmenting engagement planned throughout the year.




enesis Crafty is excited to be celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2018, with the Magherafelt-based business now run by the six sons of its

creators, Joe and Roberta McErlain. From small beginnings, the bakery has expanded rapidly to employ over 300 staff members, producing a wide range of wheaten, soda, pancakes, scones, baps, rolls and cake lines. A successful relaunch as Genesis Crafty a few years back has seen the brand stocked throughout Northern Ireland in multiples and convenience channels, while also in Waitrose GB. The business also supplies a high volume of own-label goods into retail - including M&S, Waitrose, Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrisons - and foodservice channels. Local sales grew 10% year on year in 2017, during which activity included a relaunch of the pancake range and hot cross buns with huge success. The relaunch was supported by a radio and outdoor campaign.

Other notable activity during the year included the launch of 11 lines in the M&S Afternoon Tea Cake Range, as well as supply of a number of Christmas lines into retail, café and FOTM; doubling Genesis Crafty’s total cake business. Plans for 2018 include further exciting product launches including cake and baps/rolls, supported by marketing, and promotional activity around the 50th anniversary.

“A successful relaunch as Genesis Crafty a few years back has seen the brand stocked throughout Northern Ireland in multiples and convenience channels, while also in Waitrose GB.” 21





rom producers to suppliers, wholesalers to individual retail outlets, our diverse range of award categories allows both well-established and upand-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. 22

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.



Best Marketing Campaign Best In Store Consumer Sales Promotion Best New Product Launch/ Re Launch Best Artisan Foods Campaign Green Retailer of the Year Best Food Export Marketing Award

(Categories already sponsored not listed here.)

PRE-EVENT • • • • • • • •

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


ULSTER GROCER MARKETING AWARDS 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 and 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 brand-building 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 emergent 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 are eligible for entry.

For an entry form, or further information about sponsorship opportunities for the Ulster Grocer Marketing Awards, please contact Mark Glover at or on 028 9026 4266. 24




n 2018, Ulster Grocer will add a new category to its hotly contested awards programme, open to young marketing professionals under 30. The Lorraine Hall Young Marketeer Award, named in memoriam of industry leader, Lorraine Hall, who sadly passed away in 2017 after a short illness, has been launched to recognise the talent among Northern Ireland’s young marketeers – and indeed celebrate the successful career held by Lorraine herself. Lorraine was known to many in the industry as the inspirational driving force behind local success story Kestrel Foods, and its brands Forest Feast and ActiSnack. However, she was making a name for herself as an emerging industry leader as far back as 1992. Fresh out of the University of Edinburgh, the Victoria College-educated Lorraine returned to Northern Irish shores as an ambitious and tenacious marketing executive with Dillion Bass and Bass Ireland, obtaining her CIM diploma with the Chartered Institute of Marketing during this time. Following four years of marketing some of Northern Ireland’s best known drinks brands, Lorraine and husband Michael Hall, both just in their 20s, took the brave step to start their own business venture and founded Kestrel Foods Ltd.

The year was 1996 and their journey was just beginning. A retail change was afoot in Northern Ireland but the concept of healthy snacking was but a fledgling notion in the nineties. Dried fruit and nuts were usually reserved for the home baking aisle but Lorraine’s first major shake-up of the status quo was having their products stocked in the fresh produce section – completely unique for a dried product but it created the small point of difference they needed to begin to carve a niche for the company. Now one of Ireland’s leading premium snacking companies, Kestrel Foods flourished under the strong partnership of Michael and Lorraine and the ambitious vision they shared for the parent company and its brands. Lorraine sought to turn Kestrel Foods into an award-winning company, recognised for premium quality and marketing innovation – and she did just that, with the company now employing 91 people at its headquarters in Craigavon. Amidst entrepreneurial awards and continued professional and personal successes, Lorraine and Michael saw Kestrel Foods and its brands transition from a niche health food option to a mainstream market category. Kestrel Foods under Lorraine’s leadership became an agri-food business at the forefront of a global market.

Known for world class innovation, Kestrel is undoubtedly a trailblazer for the industry. The Halls took a leap of faith over 20 years ago, driven in part by the ambition, tenacity, courage and passion for marketing shown by Lorraine from the beginning. In her career spanning 28 years, Lorraine cemented her position as an industry leader, all while raising a young family and excelling at the most important role – mum to Esmee and Thomas. In 2005, she was appointed as a Fellow of the CIM in recognition of her outstanding sales and marketing industry contribution. The Lorraine Hall Young Marketeer Award will seek to recognise that same passion and drive among the up-andcoming 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. Through the annual Lorraine Hall Young Marketeer Award, we will continue to celebrate a much admired business leader - one of Northern Ireland’s most inspiring marketeers and a true industry great.




Judy Hamilton is pictured with SPAR Cregagh Shop Manager Audrey Fletcher (left) and her father Roy Hamilton.


amily has been key to the success of Judy Hamilton’s retailing operations from the start and, having recently waved goodbye to her long-established Mace fascia in favour of SPAR, the handson proprietor of SPAR, Cregagh is certain she has made the right choice. “It was time to move on and, given the ongoing dynamic of the SPAR brand, typified by their recent 12 Deals of Christmas promotion - and with the advice of my family - we signed up with Henderson’s in the summer,” says Judy. “Of course, I took advice on what was a big move for us and my dad, Ray Hamilton’s opinion was a major factor. He still keeps a ‘watching brief’ although officially retired and we talked the whole thing through as did the other family members; most of whom have worked or still work in the shop.” It all started on York Street, in north Belfast, where Ray Hamilton ran the famous Baird’s Electrical shop, specialising in electronic amps and other sound and lighting equipment for the music industry. He heard about an opportunity in the then-busy, but since demolished, York 26

Road Railway Station just across the road where a small CTN was for sale and asked his then newly-graduated daughter, Judy, if she would consider running it. “It was tough times, given the Troubles and all that entailed, but I had a bash and starting trading with just the stock that was already in the shop – around £250 worth – and then used the takings to go along to the nearby Holmes Cash & Carry and purchase some more and that was the beginning, back in the early 1980s,” says Judy. The mainstays of the business were tobacco and newspapers, and it was through the newspaper wholesaling business side of things that a chance remark led to expansion. “I used to pick up the Ireland’s Saturday Night myself and met another retailer there, who happened to mention that his family might be selling their east Belfast shop and, in 1985, we took over the newsagents at Greenway, Cregagh Estate - famously home to football legend George Best,” says Judy. A few years later, Judy saw how important having a sub post office was to a business, and

took over a post office near by. “That was soon followed by the purchase of the a J&J Hassletts shop on the same block, where we then relocated the post office,” she says. The company now employs around 35 full- and part-time staff. Among those who work or have worked in the shop are Judy’s son Stuart and daughters Katherine, Sarah and Victoria. LONG SERVICE

“This means that three generations are in the business and, although my granddaughter is only six weeks old and still too young even by our standards, I would hope to see another generation added in due course,” Judy jokes. The store has always focused on both family and community and Judy is pleased that no less than five of the staff have more than 20 years’ service, which she said is testimony to their faith in the business through sometimes difficult times. “Quite a number of employees have all been with me for over two decades, and most of the other staff is into double figures too,” she says.

STORE FOCUS galore – with even jars of Brandy Balls on sale – along with ice cream, soft drinks and a very large selection of magazines filling yet another wall. Judy said that, while it is a long way from the original CTN at York Road, when stock was literally from hand-tomouth, things have been advancing well. “For the future, we want to continue to trade here in the three outlets on the Cregagh Road. As this New Year dawns, I can safely say that the change to SPAR (and Vivo up the road) was the largest and most important improvement for many years. “We will shortly be doing major changes and upgrades at our adjacent CTN and, hopefully, these improvements will continue to encourage our customers to shop with us not just in 2018, but also well into the future. “That may well involve the fourth generation of Hamilton’s. Hopefully the ‘dynasty’ will therefore continue and, given all the hard work all the family and loyal staff have already put in over the years past, I see no reason to doubt our continued success.”

They are all from the immediate area too so that is doubly helpful as there are no ‘commuting’ problems for them – even at the worst of The Troubles - and of course they all know our customers personally, usually by first name. “That makes a big difference and we even get local people coming in on Saturdays to do a full trolley shop, as they are so used to the store and can’t be bothered with the supermarkets, of which there are several,” Judy says. Thanks to the power of the wholesaler, she is able to be very competitive too with the pre-Christmas 12 Deals promotion helping build trade, as just one example. The store receives six chilled and three ambient deliveries weekly with a huge trade in take-away coffee and hot snack food to kick-off each day. The business has seen its biggest impact from the introduction of Barista Bar. “Our in-store oven is going from just after 5am, ready for the 6.15am start and the Barista coffee machine is rarely idle with newspapers flying out each morning and daily staples such as milk and bread

very prominent in trade too. “Unusually these days too, newspaper and magazine deliveries remain a large factor with several hundred still delivered weekly by a small and very loyal team of local schoolchildren; several of whom come in both at 7am to deliver before school and then return in the afternoon to take another round. “We are consistently busy with older shoppers, school run mums and workers all coming in at different times of the day, picking up around tea time when people are coming home from work to discover ‘the cupboard is bare’. “The main shop trades very well and is open to 10pm daily, including Sundays when we open up a little later. The change to SPAR in August has worked very well with our other shop, just feet away being a smaller, traditional CTN complementing the overall SPAR offering.” The CTN boasts the attraction of the Lottery, as well as a wealth of goods, with a whole wall of greetings cards and gift bags and wrapping paper, an extensive stationery selection, sweets and snacks 27




ospitality Ulster and Retail NI have met with Land and Property Services Valuation Commissioner, Alan Bronte, to discuss the forthcoming Rates Revaluation. “This was a very useful meeting with the Commissioner as the Rates Revaluation process starts again,” said Glyn Roberts, chief executive of Retail NI. “71% of Retail NI members had an increase in their rate bills following the last revaluation in 2015. This cannot be repeated in 2020.

“In 2015, Retail NI had major concerns with the process and transparency of the valuation of many of our members’ stores which has to be avoided in the 2020 Revaluation. It is welcome that we now have greater transparency with the valuation process and we will be closely working with the LPS to monitor it as we approach 2020. In a joint statement with Hospitality Ulster, Retail NI also added: ‘Business rates need radical reform and is the number issue facing our members. Both


Hospitality Ulster and Retail NI have put forward a targeted and cost-effective alternative to the current Small Business Rate Relief Scheme, which will ensure our members are able to reinvest money previously spent on rates, to employ more staff and grow their businesses. ‘At a meeting with the NI Secretary of State, we urged him, in the absence of a devolved Finance Minister, to press ahead with our Rates Reinvestment Plan, which has the support of over 30 business organisations.’




he UK’s fastest growing independent energy provider, Utilita, is calling for greater transparency in energy packages available to convenience stores after new research revealed 58% struggle to shop around regularly for the best energy deal. The findings come at a time when it has been reported that 80% of Britain’s small businesses are overpaying for their energy. This is in stark contrast to the UK consumer market, with almost five million people switching their electricity provider in 2016 – up by a quarter on 2015. The findings, in an independent study commissioned by Utilita on the challenges facing the UK high street, revealed fewer than half of convenience stores believe they are getting a fair deal – and often face crippling upfront deposits, high tariff rates and prohibitive payment structures. While 42% of convenience stores review their energy at least once a year, the survey revealed 20% only review their deal every two to five years - with 13% admitting they have never shopped around for a better deal. The Competition and Markets Authority has ordered energy firms to stop locking businesses into expensive, automatic rollover contracts - and make it easier for them to compare the cheapest energy prices. It is anticipated that these changes could help microbusinesses save up to £180m a year.

Jane Harnett, owner of Harnett’s Oils, is pictured with William Thompson, head of Consumer Banking NI at Bank of Ireland UK.


arnett’s Oils, a growing artisan business which cold-presses oilseeds on a family farm in Waringstown, secured a coveted place at the Twilight Market in St George’s Market, Belfast in November, as part of Bank of Ireland UK’s Enterprise Week programme. More than 20,000 people generally attend the Twilight Market, offering the business an opportunity to raise its profile. Harnett’s Oils also produces Artisan Sea Salt.





“Nisa are world class when it comes to delivery. We’ve always enjoyed over 95% of deliveries arriving on time and in-full, so have never had issues with availability or stock. But when Nisa suggested that we switch to the new Nisa store of the future format we couldn’t have predicted what an impact it would have, it really has taken our business to the next level. The Nisa team remodelled the whole store to take advantage of extra space made possible by a reduction in size to our stock room. It was a big jump, but the move was made possible due to the reliability and frequency of Nisa’s deliveries, meaning we could easily work around the smaller stock room and maximise our selling space.

Nisa carefully worked out the range by identifying the main missions first, then location and category space. Only then was range selected. The promotions that Nisa provide are perfect for our customers and mean we can offer real value on the products our customers want to buy every day. The results have been a hit with the locals. The customers love what we’ve done here and they tell us that they feel the store is larger and more open than before, so we want to adopt the same format across our portfolio.”

Nisa’s phenomenal delivery service is unrivalled and better than we could ever have expected. Anish Keshwara, Nisa Local, Whittlesey

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Pictured with Julie Cherry, category manager, Musgrave is one of the Fresh For You producers, Gwen Rafferty from Willowbrook Foods, who will appear in one of a series of four specially filmed videos which can be viewed on the Centra and SuperValu Facebook pages.


n 2017, Musgrave announced a £100m commitment to the local food and drink industry, as well as a £10m investment into its store network, across Northern Ireland. To date, the company has spent £17m developing its own brand range, Fresh for You, which is available in leading convenience retailers, SuperValu, Centra and Mace.

“We said we would commit a huge sum of money to Northern Ireland’s food and drink sector and nowhere is that investment more evident than in the production of our Fresh For You range,” said Desi Derby, marketing director, Musgrave. “This entire range, comprising over 100 individual products, is made by local producers from right across the

Province that are as passionate about quality local food and drink as we are. Through this range, we’re able to make a positive impact on the economy too by supporting jobs across the food and agri sectors, particularly in the farming community, so it’s a win, win for Northern Ireland. “Our partnership with the hardworking families and producers who make our Fresh For You range has allowed us to be innovative and continually improve quality and drive value. It’s something that gives this range real stand-out in the own brand market.” “We’ve started to redesign all our packaging for this brand, calling out the local supplier’s name, where they’re from and telling customers a little bit more about them. Customers are telling us this is what they want – provenance and supporting local is very important to them. “Some of these suppliers include Willowbrook Foods from Co Down, Strathroy Dairy from Co Tyrone, Linden Foods from Co Tyrone and Gilfresh Produce from Co Armagh, to name a few, who each appear in a series of specially filmed videos which can be viewed on our Centra and SuperValu Facebook pages. “As well as employing 5,000 people across the Musgrave business, we also support jobs in every county in Northern Ireland. We’re passionate about what we do and that includes the people we work with – it’s simple for us; customer’s demand quality products at a great price and we see it as our job to provide it.”

£5M CONTRACT AS AROUND NOON GROWS UK AND IRELAND BUSINESS N Gareth Chambers, CEO of Around Noon with Howard Farquhar, the company’s chairman.

ewry-based Around Noon has secured a new £5m contract with Topaz as the fast-growing company expands its business across the UK and Ireland. With 444 service stations nationwide, Topaz is Ireland’s largest fuel and convenience brand. A total of 158 of its service stations are company owned and operated, with 286 stations operated by the independent retailers in its dealer network. Around Noon has been in business for more than 25 years and employs over 300 people. It supplies a broad range


of high-quality sandwiches, wraps, salads and fruit pots under its Scribbles brand. It has clients in Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, and England, particularly greater London, and expects to reach £20m in turnover this year. “2017 has been a very strong year

for Around Noon, as we have won a number of significant contracts in the UK and Ireland, and have expanded our business with the acquisition of Chef-in-a-Box in London,” said Gareth Chambers, CEO of Around Noon. “We are delighted to be working with Topaz to launch a fresh new grab and go range of artisan food.”




&S employees across Northern Ireland have raised more than £850,000 for the region’s charity fundraising campaign in aid of Action Cancer’s counselling and therapeutic services. The partnership between M&S and Action Cancer, now in its seventh year, has seen M&S colleagues raise over £101,000 this past summer alone. Staff completed a number of adrenalineinducing tasks including the momentous ‘Lap the Lough’ cycle challenge, which involves cycling a gruelling 97.5 miles around Lough Neagh. A team of M&S and Action Cancer volunteers also climbed Slieve Donard, the highest of the Mourne Mountains, in aid of the charity.

Ryan Lemon, M&S head of Region for Northern Ireland and Dougie King, head of Fundraising & Communication at Action Cancer make a mad dash to celebrate M&S employees across Northern Ireland raising more than £850,000 for the region’s charity fundraising campaign in aid of Action Cancer’s counselling and therapeutic services.

The partnership between M&S, which celebrated its 50th anniversary year in Northern Ireland in 2017, and Action Cancer continues to go from strength to strength, with 20 stores across the Province dedicated to raising muchneeded funds over the summer. “Our M&S colleagues are the real heroes, proving that when they commit themselves to a good cause, they deliver extraordinary results,” said Ryan Lemon, head of Region for M&S in Northern Ireland. “They have worked tirelessly throughout the summer months to collect donations and are passionate about ensuring that our customers are aware of the vast range of services Action Cancer can offer.”

LOCAL GIN SALES ACCOUNT FOR 5% OF ALL SPIRIT SALES AT TESCO A new local gin listing is expected to boost Tesco’s spirit sales this past Christmas and beyond. Local gin sales have shown steady growth at Tesco, and currently account for 5% of all spirit sales with Shortcross Premium craft gin the latest local brand to hit the shelves. The exclusive listing is a coup for the retailer, and signifies an ongoing demand from Northern Irish consumers for high quality, locally-made produce. It reflects a wider UK trend which shows premium gins sales are driving the drinks/spirits category. “As the only multiple retailer lucky

enough to be stocking Shortcross Gin, we are well placed to give customers what they want – this Christmas and beyond – which is locally made and specifically, premium craft gin,” said Jonathan McWhinney, packaged food buyer at Tesco Northern Ireland. “Shortcross is the latest local gin to add to our growing collection and it really completes the family of NI gins available now in store.” David Boyd-Armstrong, of Shortcross Gin, said: “This partnership with Tesco allows us to raise awareness of the Shortcross brand to the maximum number of consumers across Northern Ireland. We’re delighted with the impact we’ve made as a result of the quality of our process and product and

Pictured are Jonathan McWhinney, packaged food buyer at Tesco Northern Ireland and David Boyd-Armstrong of Shortcross Gin.

this listing with Tesco will take it to the next level.”



apeseed oil producer Broighter Gold has won its first business with Sainsbury’s The company, based on a family farm, near Limavady, has begun to supply gift packs of its original and infused oils to nine Sainsbury’s stores across Northern Ireland. “We were delighted when Sainsbury’s approached us to supply our Christmas ‘golden’ gift pack,” said Leona Kane, who founded Broighter

Gold in 2011 with husband Richard as a farm diversification project. “This is a very exciting time for our family business. It’s tremendously encouraging to see our products on the shelves in Sainsbury’s.” The pack includes virgin coldpressed oils infused with rosemary and garlic, lemon, chilli, and basil. Broighter Gold, in addition, is launching its rosemary and garlic, and chilli oils in 500ml bottles.




Steven Henry, general store manager of Asda Enniskillen.


sda’s 41,000-square-foot store in the heart of Enniskillen is not only an established part of the local community

but is woven into the retail structure of the south west. Employing 400 full- and part-time colleagues, the store, which was rebuilt in 2007, is ideally positioned to service its loyal customer base. Since taking over the helm as general store manager six months ago, Steven Henry has been delighted with his store’s performance. “We are regarded as a destination shop – everything under one roof – with value and range key drivers, particularly in terms of BWS, Mother & Baby, George and electronics,” he says. “Many of our customers travel a considerable distance to shop at our store and, when they do, they make the most of their trip by visiting other shops and restaurants in the town centre; hence everyone benefits.” Over the last few years, Home Shopping has been widely welcomed by the people of Fermanagh, as has the Enniskillen store’s Click & Collect facility. Henry hopes to expand the C&C offering in the year ahead as, unlike home delivery, it is a service which RoI

customers can also use. Referring to Asda’s support for the local community, he says: “From our suppliers such as Cavanagh Eggs, which has seen sales increase significantly since dealing with Asda, to fundraising and donating to local organisations and charities, we work hard to make a difference to those operating in the vicinity of our store.” Spearheaded by Community Champion Simon Harron, Asda Enniskillen provides financial as well as on-the-ground support which, in the last year alone, has stocked a new library for the children of Ballinamallard Primary School; provided outdoor equipment for Fermanagh’s Girl Guiding community; and raised much needed funds for Children in Need and Asda’s national breast cancer charity Tickled Pink. “We have all the raw materials which make up a first-class store – a committed team, loyal customers, a first-class product range and the will to go the extra mile,” says Henry. “We look forward to another successful year of trading in 2018.”



nspired by an emerging trend spotted in Parisian patisseries, Asda has produced a number of show-stopping supersized convections ahead of the festive season. Asda’s bakery team, during a recent innovation trip to Paris, uncovered an emerging trend for oversized sharing 32

desserts. Its Foot-Long Chocolate Éclair is made with light choux pastry, filled with fluffy Belgian chocolate mousse and sticky caramel sauce and topped with a chocolate fondant, drizzled with caramel and dusted with gold. Asda has also launched a giant Marie Antoinette-inspired Macaron cake. The frozen gateau is stuffed with a white chocolate mousse, and topped with raspberries and a light sprinkling of

pistachios for a delicious finish. “Straight from the streets of Paris to Asda shelves, traditional French favourites can now be enjoyed by the whole family,” said Claire Reed, product development manager for chilled bakery. “Our experts have lovingly hand finished our striking new desserts, adding the final touch of affordable luxury to your seasonal soirée – sure to leave your loved ones saying oh la la.”




ith plans for further expansion in 2018, retailers Darren and Karen Craig are already looking at ways to capitalise on the growth that their Today’s Extra business in Spencer Road, Derry has seen over the past 12 months. “We have had another good year, with sales showing a steady growth from the previous year,” says Darren. “Convenience retailing has seen some challenges over the past few years but we are pleased to be performing well in a competitive market. We have been trading in Spencer Road for the last 12 years and have seen massive changes to customer trends and the mix of our business during that time. “We have seen significant growth in our chilled, fresh and food-to-go categories, with a noticeable decline in tobacco sales. Due to the publicity around the new tobacco legislation and new smoking habits, this decline was expected.” “We have grocery, chilled and fresh food, frozen food, fruit & veg, bread and cakes, hot food to go, Robert Roberts coffee, a tasty range of home bakery products delivered fresh every morning along with an ATM on site, Lottery, Paypoint and Mobile Top-Up.”

Karen adds: “We are also known locally as a ‘lucky lottery store’ with hundreds of winning scratch cards over the years, and we have a ‘wall of fame’ showcasing our winning cards. “Due to increased footfall instore, we have also installed a third till to meet demand. The shop layout was rearranged with the food-to-go counter relocated for convenience, allowing faster service for customers. “We expanded our chilled and fresh food range in-store to meet the changing demands of our customers. With a range of over 1,200 products and an extensive promotional programme now

available from our wholesaler Savage and Whitten, the growth in this category has seen the mix of our business change greatly over the past 18 months. “With two new gyms opening in the local area, this has also had an immediate impact on the mix of their business. Sales of protein bars and healthy food options have seen massive increases over recent months.” Never missing an opportunity, the retailers have introduced their own range of healthy meal solutions, prepared daily, along with a range of sandwiches, wraps and baguettes. Darren says: “Although we have a greater range of chilled and fresh food in store, our customers still like to have their treats, so impulse and confectionary sales are still steady. “We were very proud recently, when our Tayto crisp bap featured on social media and went viral with thousands of hits.” With plans well underway for expansion in 2018, Darren and Karen are excited by what the New Year will bring for their business. “2017 has seen some challenges in the convenience market and we have grown as a business, so we are well prepared for 2018 and the challenges that the New Year brings. It is also important as a retailer involved in the local community, that you meet the needs of your customers and provide them with the best value and service possible. “With the support from our Today’s wholesaler, Savage and Whitten, we are in a good position to have another successful year of growth in 2018 and well beyond.”




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peaking with Patrick Doody, sales and marketing director at Henderson Group, it’s clear that as the familyrun company celebrates its 120-year anniversary, 2017 was a year dominated by growth on all fronts. It witnessed significant increases in new independent and company-owned – known as Henderson Retail – store developments, substantial investment in new commercial property and company infrastructure, continued investment in its marketing initiatives, and the rollout and development of new and existing services to capitalise on sales potential across its SPAR, EUROSPAR and ViVO store network throughout Northern Ireland. To understand just how successful 2017 36

has been, Patrick delved into the make-up of the convenience sector in Northern Ireland. At times a congested marketplace, the total convenience sector in Northern Ireland currently sits at approximately 992 stores. “We’ve now reached 442 stores in our network, both independent and company-owned, said Patrick. “That’s an unprecedented 32 new stores this year alone, up from 14 stores in 2016 which was an immensely successful

year in its own right,” he added. When asked what has been the driving force behind this, Patrick commented: “Much of the success is down to reinvestment and marketing. This year, our independent retailers added a further 14,000 square feet to their premises and two new-build forecourts are on schedule to open in the first quarter of 2018.” Indeed, in September Henderson Group opened the latest phase of its multi-million redevelopment at its


headquarters at Hydepark, Mallusk; the 180,000 square foot, £12.5m ambient warehouse. Boasting an industry-leading 99% availability for orders and an impressive 24-hour order lead-in time, investment in company infrastructure in turn supports sales and profitability for Henderson Group’s far-reaching store network. From TV, radio and outdoor to online and direct mail, Henderson Group regularly promote stellar deals. Patrick went into further detail on the group’s marketing for in-store promotions. “We spend £4.3m annually in marketing our brands, services and promotions. Most recently, our annual 12 Deals of Christmas promotion represents

significant investment, driving footfall into our network of stores and passing on genuinely fantastic savings to the customer while supporting our retailers’ profitability and sales.” Coming to the end of an immensely successful year, we asked how the group would maintain momentum in 2018. “We saw a significant number of store conversions this year,” said Patrick, “and this is something we want to continue to encourage in 2018. We continue to develop new tried-and-tested services and invest significantly in promoting them once introduced to the market.” Some of Henderson Group’s most successful services in recent times include its Daily Deli, the new Occasions range

of flowers, cards and gifts, and the immensely popular Barista Bar retail coffee experience, which is now available in over 350 stores. “Independent retailers see innovation, they see a commitment to passing on genuine savings to customers and they see our drive to support them in developing and increasing the commerciality and profitability of their stores,” Patrick added. “2017 was a phenomenal year, and we have every confidence in our strategy and service offering to build upon that and make 2018 equally successful.” For more information on Henderson Group or the SPAR, EUROSPAR and ViVO brands, visit 37



The Northern Ireland GroceryAid Committee attends its AGM at the Culloden Estate & Spa. Pictured are, from left – back row, Colin Orr, Gerry Cassidy, Trevor Magill (chairman), Mark Gowdy and Alan McKeown and, front row, David McWilliams, Dawn Cann, Jim McAlea, Brian Sterling and Mark Beckett.

Over £44,000 is raised for GroceryAid at the Ulster Grocers’ Ball. Pictured are, from left – back row, Alan McKeown, Mark Gowdy, Paddy Murney, Jim McAlea, Colin Orr and Brian Sterling, and front row, Jonathan Verner, Mark Beckett, Trevor Magill (chairman), Dawn Cann and Des McCullough.

Among guests enjoying the Autumn Ball (formerly the Candy Ball) at the Culloden Hotel & Spa are Wilma and Des McCullough of SHS, and Samantha and Alan McKeown of Doherty & Gray.

Also at the Ulster Grocers’ Ball, held at the Culloden Estate & Spa on May 19, Julie Maxwell receives the star raffle prize of an all-expenses-paid trip to New York from prize sponsor Peter Henry of Allied Bakeries.

GroceryAid CEO Steve Barnes tells Ulster Grocer about the charity’s exciting plans to introduce a new event, Barcode Festival at Hawker House, London, on June 28, 2018.

Over £2,000 is raised at the John Barrett GroceryAid Lunch held at Deanes at Queen’s on November 19. Pictured are Jim McAlea and Mark Hewitt (Kerry Foods), Brian Sterling (Holywood Partnership) and Alan Borman (Savage & Whitten).

Also at the Autumn Ball, Russell and Sinead Johnston of PRL In-Market Solutions.




In October 2017, three generations of the Musgrave family visited Belfast, and other locations, to meet with colleagues from right across the business.


he scale of Musgrave’s operation in Northern Ireland is substantial; they currently support 5,000 jobs across their head office function in Belfast, at their leading convenience retail stores, Centra, SuperValu and Mace, and in MarketPlace, but they also support thousands of jobs in other sectors, particularly the agri-food, construction and transport sectors. The Musgrave business is a leader in the Republic of Ireland, where they are the number one grocery retailer, wholesaler and foodservice provider, but Musgrave’s wider business successes reach as far as Spain and China and, with growth continuing throughout their networks, Musgrave is a business experiencing an upward trend that shows no signs of stopping. MUSGRAVE ARRIVES IN NORTHERN IRELAND The Musgrave story in Northern Ireland goes back 34 years when, in 1982, work began on the Duncrue Cash and Carry, which is now known as the Musgrave

MarketPlace food emporium. The stateof-the-art, for the time, facility was to be located within the City’s new ‘enterprise zone’ known as Duncrue, close to the City Centre and the nearly-completed final phase of the high-speed road network, the Westlink, connecting the north and west of the Province. The Duncrue site was purchased from Belfast City Council and comprised six acres and local builder, R&J McKenny, carried out the work which cost £2.75m. “Belfast was chosen as it had a substantial adjacent population and a thriving convenience retail sector,” says Michael McCormack, managing director, Musgrave. “The objective was to launch a scale of operation that Northern Ireland had never seen and deliver £10m worth of sales per year with 60% of floor space dedicated to food and 40% to non-food. “At 52,000 square feet and employing 80 people, Musgrave Distribution Limited, as it was later named, opened its doors on October 4, 1983, by one of the Musgrave family, Chairman Jack

Musgrave. “Then in June 1989, we added 25,000 square feet to the site at an additional cost of £900,000 which helped us to deliver a 12.4% increase in total sales. So Belfast was a huge success for us. In fact, in the early 1990s, after some further investment in the site, Duncrue was delivering £29m in sales, £19m more than forecasted.” GROWING GOOD BUSINESS With the success of Duncrue, Musgrave took the decision to expand further and opened a North West site. Michael continues: “By 1994, only 18% of our customers to the Duncrue site came from outside the Belfast/ Metropolitan Belfast area, so we looked at other sites and decided that Pennyburn in Derry~Londonderry was to be our next move. “Our expansion plans continued in 1996 when we decided it was time to move into the retail sector by acquiring five supermarkets in January, rebranding the food retail outlets in these centres >> 39


Musgrave works with local suppliers to create their Fresh For You range of products.

as SuperValu. Then later that year, we bought 21 Wellworths stores dotted across Northern Ireland which were in time all rebranded as SuperValu. “We felt then, as we do now, passionate about delivering a first-class convenience store experience for every person who came into our stores. In Northern Ireland, we currently have 36 SuperValu, 81 Centra and 106 Mace stores.” 140 YEARS OF SUCCESS Musgrave is a 140-year-old, sixth generation family business with a rich heritage. They are the leading grocery retailer and wholesaler in the Republic of Ireland and the scale of the business means that they feed one in three people across the island of Ireland. Together, with their many retail partners, including Centra, SuperValu and Mace in Northern Ireland, Musgrave supports over 40,000 jobs on the Island of Ireland and Spain and are Ireland’s largest private sector employer. Michael continues: “Our business is about building sustainable, profitable, omni channel brands that are different and better. “Our business model promotes partnering for success and works in partnership with thousands of other family businesses and their local communities in the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, China and Spain.” The organisation is made up of five divisions. Musgrave Group is the head office of Musgrave and is based in Cork. Musgrave Retail Partners Ireland (MRPI) operates the SuperValu, Centra and Frank and Honest brands in the Republic of Ireland and is also based in Cork, with three distribution centres in Tramore Road, Kilcock and Fonthill. Musgrave Wholesale Partners (MWP) 40

operates the Musgrave MarketPlace, Daybreak and Chipmongers brands and they are based in Dublin. There are Musgrave MarketPlace sites in Cork, Waterford, Limerick, Galway, Ballymun, Dun Laoghaire and Clondalkin as well as a state-of-the-art distribution centre in Blanchardstown. In the Republic of Ireland, there are 457 Centra, 219 SuperValu and 210 Daybreak stores. Musgrave Northern Ireland (MNI) operates the SuperValu, Centra, Mace, Musgrave MarketPlace, Chipmongers and Frank and Honest brands in Northern Ireland with offices in Belfast and there are Musgrave MarketPlace sites in Derry, Lurgan and Belfast. Musgrave España employs close to 1,500 people across its retail and cash and carry network. They operate 94 Dialprix supermarkets – 79 in mainland Spain and 15 in Tenerife. Dialprix is a convenience supermarket brand and is the largest network of all Musgrave España brands with ambitious growth plans. Dialsur is Musgrave’s wholesale

Musgrave MarketPlace gets a £1.1m makeover

model with plans to be the leading Spanish food wholesaler by providing world-class retail and foodservice solutions to retailers and caterers at its 17 cash and carry outlets in Valencia and Murcia. Musgrave also works with China’s biggest e-commerce group, Alibaba, which handles more transactions each year than eBay and Amazon combined. China is an economic powerhouse so the decision to export 40 own-brand products including SuperValu breakfast cereals, coffee, jam and biscuits, is a shrewd business move by Musgrave especially following comments made by Jack Ma, Alibaba’s chairman, who pledged to serve two billion consumers around the world within 20 years. INNOVATION IS SECOND NATURE Michael says: “We have developed a number of food leadership initiatives over the last number of years, some of which we are rolling out this year and next year in our Centra, SuperValu and Mace stores. “One of these is premium coffee, Frank and Honest, which is currently available at 55 Centra and SuperValu stores across Northern Ireland and the first Frank and Honest sit-in café just opened at our SuperValu Comber store. To date, there are 514 Frank and Honest outlets on the Island of Ireland. “We could see that the coffee market in Northern Ireland was changing fast. Consumers’ expectations of coffee out of home were shifting from a speedy caffeine fix to a high quality, gastronomic experience. Our overall objective for Frank and Honest is to deliver the best quality coffee on the go – with a

RETAIL PROFILE consistent coffee experience 100% of the time. The feedback from customers so far has been incredibly positive and very soon everyone in Northern Ireland will have the chance to enjoy a Frank and Honest cup of coffee. “Our passion for innovation at Musgrave has also seen the first Chipmongers – our modern take on the traditional fish and chip shop but with a twist - open in Northern Ireland in Lisburn with plans to open 14 across Ireland by year-end. We also have an incredible ice cream brand, Moo’d coming down the line and there will be other food leadership initiatives hot on their heels.” NORTHERN IRELAND CONTINUES TO SUCCEED Earlier this year, Musgrave announced a £100m commitment to the local food and drink industry, as well as a £10m investment into its local store network, across Northern Ireland. Michael says: “In October, SuperValu Comber underwent a £600,000 revamp as part of our £10m promise to upgrade our Centra and SuperValu stores across Northern Ireland throughout 2017. “Our cash and carry business, Musgrave MarketPlace, continues to go from strength to strength, following a £1.1m upgrade transforming it into one of Northern Ireland’s finest facilities for retailers and foodservice customers alike. We now employ 182 people at the Duncrue site and we have experienced double-digit growth when compared to the same period last year. Musgrave MarketPlace has proved to be a huge success and we’re certain that the recent improvements will secure its future and help us increase footfall and revenue for many years to come. “We added another impressive award to

SuperValu opens a totally revamped Comber store.

our list when our evening meal solutions campaign won the Business Marketing category at the UTV Business Eye Awards.” MUSGRAVE LOVES LOCAL Sourcing locally has always been important to Musgrave, continues Michael: “And it is only possible due to the excellent quality of the local food and drink producers. We have made a £100m commitment to the local food and drink industry where we work with over 140 suppliers, selling more than 3,000 local products in our stores. We’ve significantly increased our spend in a number of categories including beef, food service, craft beer, gin and meal solutions and this represents more than 10% growth year on year. “To date, we have made significant investment in our own brand range, Fresh for You, comprising over 100 individual

Musgrave’s ‘Meal Solutions’ campaign wins a top business marketing award

products, all made by local producers from right across the province including Willowbrook Foods from County Down, Strathroy Dairy from County Tyrone, Linden Foods from County Tyrone and Gilfresh Produce from County Armagh, to name a few. Through this range we’re able to make a positive impact on the economy by supporting jobs across the agri-food sector, particularly in the farming community. “We want consumers to know that when they shop with us, their money is invested back into their local community through wages, local sourcing, professional services and charitable contributions. This year, we invested £2m into health initiatives in the Centra brand with the Live Every Day campaign and SuperValu’s Let’s Cook mission. “Our long-standing partnership with Action Cancer has gone from strength to strength as we continue to raise much-needed funds for the Big Bus and the Health Action Programme at our Centra and SuperValu stores. The Big Bus mobile cancer detection unit travelled to over 235 locations last year to carry out health checks and mammograms in local communities and the Health Action Programme continues to educate children about their health in a fun and engaging way. “Musgrave is a family business and by working closely with other hardworking family businesses in Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and Spain, we have become a success story. We are committed to continuing to innovate and inspire whilst always bringing value to the people with whom we work and serve every day via our business networks.” 41




n 2018, expect to see transparency and traceability for all, regardless of income. From ingredient scares to political bombshells, self-care has become a priority for many and one that includes choosing food and drink that will address perceived nutritional, physical and emotional needs. Further, opportunities will be plentiful for natural, tantalising and unexpected textures, like chewy beverages for instance. Meanwhile, retailer and manufacturer access to personal data has opened up the doors for them to personalise offers and promotions. This ties in with the growth in online and mobile shopping, and even voice-activated search that fuels consumer expectations of their desires being catered to and satisfied almost effortlessly. Looking ahead to 2018, Mintel has identified the major trends predicted to play out in the global food and drink market, beginning with the trends that will gain wider traction in the months ahead to emerging trends that are influential, but just on the fringe in many regions. Below, we’ve showcased three of these trends which we can predict will work their way across the Island of Ireland in the year ahead: Full Disclosure; New Sensations; and Preferential Treatment. 42

FULL DISCLOSURE In our new post-truth reality, consumers require complete and total transparency from food and drink companies. A sizeable number of consumers around the world lack trust in regulatory systems, manufacturers, and even their fellow humans. This compounds a preexisting wariness about food and drink because of product recalls, scandals, and suspicion about large companies. The need for reassurance about the safety and trustworthiness of food and drink has led to an increased use of natural as well as ethical and environmental claims in global food and drink launches. According to Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD), natural product claims appeared on 29% of global food and drink launches from September 2016 to August 2017, up from 17% of global food and drink launches that used natural claims between September 2006 and August 2007. Similarly, ethical and environmental claims such as environmentally-friendly packaging as well as animal and human welfare claims have risen to 22% of global food and drink introductions between September 2016 and August 2017. This is up from just 1% in the same period from 2006 to 2007. As shown by the growth in natural,

ethical, and environmental claims, widespread distrust has increased the need for food and drink manufacturers to be forthcoming about their ingredients, production processes, and supply chains. This places pressure on manufacturers to offer thorough and honest disclosures about their products. Food and drink transparency can take many different

directions but the various claims serve a singular purpose: to help consumers feel more confident about the safety and purity of the food and drink they purchase. In addition to disclosing more specific transparency details, the next wave of clean label challenges manufacturers and retailers to democratise transparency and traceability so that products are accessible to all consumers regardless of household income. Making transparency attainable to consumers reflects the principles of Mintel’s 2017 Global Food & Drink Trend ‘Balancing the Scales: Health for Everyone’, which noted that healthy food and drink are not to be considered luxuries. French milk brand C’est qui le patron?! (which translates to ‘Who’s the boss?!’) surveyed 6,850 consumers online about half a dozen criteria from farm gate price to packaging in order to develop its product. NEW SENSATIONS Texture is the latest tool to engage the senses and deliver share-worthy experiences. Encounters that appeal to multiple senses can provide consumers with escapes from the routine and stress of their lives, opportunities to make memories, or generate ‘like-worthy’ social media posts. Mintel’s 2016 Global Food & Drink Trend ‘Eat With Your Eyes’ observed the potential for food and drink to involve more of the senses through colour, shape, fragrance, and other formulation elements. In 2018, the sound, feel, and satisfaction that texture provides will become more important to companies and consumers alike. Texture has a particular opportunity to follow the lead of colour, which has become a popular feature in formulations that aim to allure more of the senses.

FOOD & DRINKS PROFILE Food and drink products have used a variety of ingredients like turmeric, matcha and activated charcoal to create vibrantly hued drinks, snacks, and other food that attracts attention, especially on Instagram and other image-centric media. Colour will continue to be important, but texture is the next facet of formulation that can be leveraged to provide consumers with interactive - and documentation-worthy - experiences. From chewy beverages to multitextured concoctions such as freakshakes, texture can make products more captivating for consumers who continue to seek food and drink that is perceived as fresh, functional, filling, or simply fun. To align with this trend, brands can ensure products contain multiple contrasting textures, which allow for a complex and engaging consumption experience for consumers. Asia is a model for the potential of unexpected applications of texture in food and drink because the region hosts a range of beverages with pulp, tapioca pearls, and extra carbonation along with food that also boasts innovative textures that might be unheard of in other parts of the world. The latest textured beverage to take Asia by storm is cheese tea, a bubble or iced tea drink topped with cream cheese, leaving the drinker with a telltale cream cheese moustache. In 2018, more products can be developed with combinations of textures that surprise and delight consumers. As with colour, more companies have the opportunity to add texture via natural ingredients, such as the pulp of fruit or vegetables, the tingle of spicy peppers, or carbonation resulting from fermentation as with kombucha. Production processes also can be utilised to enhance or innovate around texture, such as freezedrying fruit for snacking or twice-baking salty snacks. Nabisco Oreo honored US Independence Day celebrations with a limited-edition chocolate Oreo with red and blue popping candy inside the cream.

PREFERENTIAL TREATMENT A new era in personalisation is dawning due to the expansion of online and mobile food shopping. Motivated by the potential to save time and ideally money, consumers are sampling a variety of channels and technologies when shopping for food and drink. The latest evolutions in shopping offer consumers prompt and affordable delivery, a curated adventure courtesy of subscription services, ease of automatic replenishment, and simplicity of synchronisation with smart home devices. Busy consumers are drawn to e-commerce sites, mobile apps, voice control, and other online and mobile options because they are advantageous to their busy schedules and potentially their budgets. As technology helps to make shopping as effortless as possible, an era of targeted promotions and products is emerging. The adoption of voice-enabled smart home accessories, such as Amazon Echo or Google Home, will make it easier to add items to shopping lists. On the supplier end, brands, companies and retailers can leverage technology to establish new levels of efficiency, such as customised recommendations, cross-category pairings, and resourceful solutions that save consumers time, effort, and energy. Moving beyond convenience, technology will offer new possibilities for personalised recommendations of products and individually-targeted promotions. The personalisation made possible by new technologies could draw in more consumers, and the main benefit for brands is that personalised offers will make the marketing spend more effective. The rapid expansion in the variety of food and drink retail channels will fuel the opportunity for recommendations, promotions, and product innovations that are based on actual consumer behaviour patterns. While this offers opportunity, it also could compromise brand discovery and endanger brand loyalty because custom offers might prioritise benefits, such as convenience, value or time, over brand. Finally, companies also could tempt consumers by creating products, suggesting combinations of goods and other options across consumer categories that align with online and offline behaviours. This new era of plentiful places to shop will pressure all brands to be more relevant, efficient and/or

affordable in order to retain customers. Amazon launched a range of private label products in 2017 under the Happy Belly and Wickedly Prime brands, offering exclusive brands for online grocery shoppers. Mintel’s 2018 Global Food & Drink Trends are the result of collaboration among 60 of Mintel’s global expert analysts from around the world. These global conversations have led to key trends that reflect overarching consumer themes including trust, self-care, stress, individuality, and sustainability. To showcase the relevance of the five futurelooking trends, our analyst insights have been supported by evidence gathered from Mintel’s proprietary consumer research, innovative developments observed by Mintel’s expert team of trend spotters, and international food and drink products collected in Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD). To download a free copy of the report, please visit: Jenny Zegler is the dedicated trends analyst on Mintel’s Food & Drink platform, blending Mintel Trends expertise with food and drink specific topics, such as health and wellness, formulation, sustainability and premiumisation. In addition to contributing analysis to Mintel Food & Drink, Jenny has been part of the team that creates Mintel’s annual crosscategory trends since 2014. Mintel is the world’s leading market intelligence agency. For over 40 years, Mintel’s expert analysis of the highest quality data and market research has directly impacted on client success. With offices in London, Chicago, Belfast, Kuala Lumpur, Mumbai, Munich, New York, São Paulo, Shanghai, Singapore, Sydney, Tokyo and Toronto, Mintel has forged a unique reputation as a world-renowned business brand. For more information on Mintel, please visit Follow Mintel on Twitter: or join the Mintel LinkedIn group: www. For more information about how Mintel can help your business, contact Ciara Rafferty, director, Mintel Ireland on +44 (0)28 9024 1849 or 43


IFEX SET TO STIR UP A GLOBAL AUDIENCE Gary Gamble, IFEX chairman of judges, Sean Owens, IFEX chef director, Dolan Heaney, IFEX judge, and Caroline McCusker, IFEX event manager, with The Deputy Lord Mayor, Councillor Sonia Copeland.


t’s just been announced that IFEX Northern Ireland’s largest foodservice trade expo – is expected to host an additional 500 international delegates from across 12 countries as IFEX welcomes the World Butchers’ Challenge to the show in March 2018. The addition of co-located event Meat@IFEX has doubled the show size, and it’s the Meat@IFEX pavilion that will be home to the World Butchers’ Challenge skills event from March 20-22 at the Titanic Exhibition Centre, Belfast. Butchers from across Ireland will compete as Team Ireland, and they will be pitted against teams from Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Bulgaria, Spain, South Africa, Germany, Greece, Italy, USA and reigning champions, France. Each team will travel with a delegation, many of whom are embarking upon a five-day international study tour of Ireland, in which they will visit multi-generational and award-winning butchers in both Northern Ireland and Ireland. It’s expected that the addition of Meat@IFEX and the World Butchers’ Challenge will deliver a significant rise in visitors to the show – which saw a 22% rise in number at the last IFEX – and around 500 of those will be international. Collectively the shows are set to be

home to over 7,000 foodservice, retail, hospitality and butchery professionals over the three days. Joining with World Butchers’ Challenge at IFEX will be Salon Culinaire - home to the Northern Ireland Chef of the Year. Salon Culinaire at IFEX has a long and rich history of rewarding some of NI’s mostrespected chefs early in their careers, and it will see almost 250 young chefs and culinary students compete in a range of categories. Predicting a strong event in 2018, IFEX Event Manager Caroline McCusker, from Fresh Montgomery, said: “IFEX 2016 enjoyed a 22% increase in visitor numbers and IFEX 2018 is laying down the foundations to make next year’s show even bigger. As the trade event that really galvanises all of those in the food, drink, retail and hospitality sectors, it is important for us to keep evolving and growing the show. “We have partnered with NI company, Butchery Excellence International, to add a global dimension to IFEX with the addition of a co-located show – Meat@ IFEX – and the arrival of the World Butchers’ Challenge. To deliver these innovations, Fresh Montgomery and Butchery Excellence International have invested over £150,000 into IFEX 2018,

which includes the addition of the dedicated space for Meat@IFEX.” IFEX 2018 will also partner with The Guild of Fine Food – organisers of the prestigious Great Taste awards – to bring together the best of Northern Ireland and Ireland’s speciality food and drink products under one roof. Approximately 200 exhibitors are expected to showcase their goods and services at IFEX over the three days, with exhibitors including some of Northern Ireland’s biggest names in foodservice Stephen’s Catering Equipment, Flogas, Henderson Foodservice, Bunzl, Lynas Foodservice and Hugh Jordan, amongst others. By booking early, exhibitors can take advantage of securing prime positioning and being included in the promotional campaign in the run up to the show.

To find out more about IFEX and to book your space, please contact the IFEX Event Manager, Caroline McCusker at caroline. or call 028 90 431 000. IFEX and Meat@ IFEX are taking place March 20-22, 2018 at the Titanic Exhibition Centre, which is situated opposite Titanic Studios. To attend, register for your free trade pass at


4817 IFE

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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COOKING UP A STORM AT IFEX 2018 SALON CULINAIRE RETURNS TO NORTHERN IRELAND Pictured at IFEX 2016 are Sean Owens, Salon Culinaire director; Noel Lavery, DAERA; James Richardson, the 2016 winner; and Toby Wand, Fresh Montgomery.


his March, Northern Ireland’s premier food, drink, retail and hospitality event – IFEX 2018 – will open its doors to hundreds of chefs who are preparing to cook up a storm during the three-day show taking place at the Titanic Exhibition Centre, Belfast (March 20 – 22, 2018). At the heart of IFEX is the Salon Culinaire – Northern Ireland’s largest and most prestigious chef competition programme, which attracts chefs from all sectors of the industry and with all levels of experience. With skills high on the agenda, the Salon Culinaire raises the bar in terms of culinary excellence in Northern Ireland, with the programme featuring over 30 categories during the three days of the show. New for 2018 is IFEX Street Food International. Set to sizzle, Street Food International will see teams of invited competitors from Northern Ireland’s catering colleges produce and serve a range of exciting modern street food-style dishes. Supported by the Department for the Economy (DfE) each team will cook up innovative, high quality ‘al fresco’ street food dishes that will be served to pre-ticketed diners during lunch service at IFEX. The ChefSkills Live Theatre is back – hotly anticipated as the place where the ‘best of’ culinarians in Northern Ireland are formally acknowledged –

with previous winners including Michael Deane, Chris Bell and Roisin Gavin to name but a few. ChefSkills sees an exciting series of back-to-back, live, hot competitions, including the hotly contended Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs-supported IFEX Northern Ireland Chef of the Year and Northern Ireland Junior Chef of the Year accolades. The programme is now open for entry, and categories include Larder Knife Skills (new for 2018) and the ever-popular Edible Art. Entry is via the IFEX website: “I am thrilled to launch the 2018 Salon Culinaire at IFEX competition schedule; Belfast takes its rightful place as one of the top Salon Culinaire programmes in the UK and it is the place to celebrate the skills within our industry,” said Sean Owens, long-standing director of Salon Culinaire. “The past number of years have been a testing time for our industry but, with IFEX 2018 now being the sounding board for future endeavours, we are confident that our industry is strong and resilient, and we relish the prospects for growth and development throughout our sector. “This year I’m confident that we’re going to discover some extraordinarily talented young chefs, and to have uncovered and encouraged new talent to flourish at IFEX, is exactly what the

premier event for the food, drink, retail and hospitality industries is all about.” Bigger and better than ever before, Salon Culinaire at IFEX is designed to nurture the talents of the Province’s young chefs and it is with the help of the show’s sponsors that the show continues to be such a success - in particular the government departments and industry-leading companies and agencies who have supported the event over many years. Supporters for the Salon Culinaire 2018 include the Department for the Economy (DfE), Department for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA), Food Standards Agency Northern Ireland (FSANI), Stephens Catering Equipment, Flogas, Keenan Seafood and Andrew Ingredients. For those who hope to compete, ChefSkills, Larder Knife Skills and Edible Art, are now open for entry. For more information, visit: www.ifexexhibition. IFEX 2018 is taking place from Tuesday, March 20 to Thursday, March 22 at the Titanic Exhibition Centre, Belfast. Running alongside Meat@IFEX, next year’s show is set to be THE Industry event for 2018. The show opens daily at 10am and runs until 6pm on Tuesday and Wednesday, and to 4pm on Thursday. If you’d like to attend, simply register for your ticket at www.





HAFNER’S TASTE SINCE 1882 For more information, call 028 3082 5927 or email us at

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as it felt like 2017 has been all about Brexit? If it has, then that’s probably because the B-word has dictated and driven many of the factors which influence the grocery market – from inflation to consumer confidence, and many more besides. At times, it has felt like there has been no escape from the discussions, negotiations and, yes, arguments, which all seem to be a mandatory preamble to the UK’s departure from the EU. One of the effects of the Brexit-linked inflation we have seen throughout 2017 was that grocers finally began to see decent growth after a 2016 which was largely spent in the doldrums. Food inflation, particularly on imported goods and ingredients – at the time of writing, riding along at a five-and-a-half year high of 3% - has been a huge factor in returning most retailers to positive growth territory. But market growth of 3.6%, compared to a measly 1.2% at the start of the year1, (which looked good in itself, compared to what had gone before), will have been welcomed by retailers and shareholders alike, no matter what the root cause. And what about the election? Brexit was a key topic in June’s snap poll and, whilst it may seem hard to believe that the country only went to the ballot box six months ago, the uncertainty which

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“One of the effects of the Brexit-linked inflation we have seen throughout 2017 was that grocers finally began to see decent growth after a 2016 which was largely spent in the doldrums.” resulted from the vote led to a mini collapse in consumer confidence2. Although, in the intervening months, there have been a few signs that confidence has perked up a little, in truth, it has struggled ever since. However, it does remain the case that, whilst most consumers fear for the national economy, (51% thinking that the UK’s situation will deteriorate in the12 months ahead), only 38% think that their own personal circumstances will worsen3. The fact that only just over a third of consumers expect their household finances to worsen is actually a positive outcome given that the average household has seen a slight squeeze on its disposable income during the course of the year. According to Asda’s Income Tracker, in September, family spending power was down 94p a week year-on-year, a 0.5% decrease. So, not a huge amount, but one which contrasts unfavourably with the end of 2016, when the average household was seeing a 4.4% increase in disposable income. In Northern Ireland, the national picture is replicated, with family spending power declining by 1.8% during the third quarter, although this did represent an improvement on the previous quarter, thanks to wage growth running at a higher level than for the UK average4. In summary, 2017 has been about feeling some (so far, relatively mild) effects of the Brexit process. Many believe that the worst of the inflationary increases are now over, and the small interest rate rise pushed through by the Bank of England may help to start to lower inflation, which (provided wage growth holds up) should prevent any further deterioration in disposable income. So, from a consumer angle, things could be a bit better but, given the magnitude of the constitutional and social changes taking place, they could be a lot, lot worse.

A Happy New Year to all. t: 028 9267 3316

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[Source: 1 – Kantar Worldpanel, 12 weeks to 5th November 2017 and 12 weeks to 1st January 2017; 2 – As measured by GfK’s Consumer Confidence Index; 3 – YouGov Eurotrack, October 2017; 4 – Asda Income Tracker, January 2017 and October 2017







MORELLI’S ICE CREAM LAUNCHES NEW TAKE HOME RETAIL TUBS T his month, Northern Ireland’s famous Italian Ice Cream brand, Morelli’s, is launching a brand new range of retail packaging. The family run business has invested time, effort and resources into the vibrant new design to ensure the products pop out at the shopper from the supermarket freezer, with a convenient new size for consumers to take home. The launch of the new 950ml tubs means that Morelli’s can meet growing demand from consumers to enjoy its famous ice cream at home. The range includes the multi awardwinning Double Cream Vanilla, Honeycomb, Raspberry Ripple and Sea Salted Caramel. Tesco Northern Ireland will be the first retailer to stock the new packaging in all four flavours. A new range of individual 125ml sized spoon-in-lid pots in five flavours, Double Cream Vanilla, Chocolate, Cookies & Cream, Sea Salted Caramel and Honeycomb, is also part of the new retail packaging launch. For symbol groups and independent retailers, Morelli’s is offering a special branded

freezer deal and point of sale package, ensuring that retailers get the most from selling Ireland’s famous Italian Ice Cream. Arnaldo Morelli who heads up the family owned business, said: “It’s key to our growth strategy that Morelli’s continues to grow to meet with consumer demand and this can only be done by constantly innovating and by making our ice cream more accessible to even more people. “The new look packaging has been a labour of love and, at present, no one else is using this design in Ireland or the UK and we’re confident that it will help draw the shopper in for the all-important first trial.” The Morelli family has been making ice cream since 1911 and currently has both ice cream shops and franchises across Northern Ireland, as well as a portable vending pod for festivals and events. The brand has been growing its market share in Ireland with the expansion into Tesco Ireland in 2017 and plans to expand the factory premises in Coleraine during the first part of 2018.


etailers can prepare for an increased shopper focus on healthier lifestyles following the festive period by stocking Quorn, the delicious, nutritious protein source and best-selling chilled and frozen meat free brand*3. Julian Cooke, head of UK Category Management at Quorn, says: “The UK’s meat free category is now valued at over £312m*2 with much of its growth being driven by Quorn. Consumer focus on healthier lifestyles combined with an increased awareness of sustainability and environmental issues will continue to drive this growth. “Quorn is already seeing the evidence of this with a record sales growth of £19m*6 in the past 12 months as shoppers are looking for nutritious products such as Quorn that don’t compromise on taste or quality. “Retailers need to ensure they are reflecting these trends in their ranges as shoppers increasingly expect to find mainstream meat free products in both chilled and frozen fixtures. 50

DID YOU KNOW? Meat free shoppers spend up to five times as much in-store as non-meat free shoppers*1 Meat free is bought by almost nine and a half million shoppers*2 80% of category shoppers are meat reducers*2 “We’re consistently one of the biggest media-spending brands across all frozen and chilled sectors and our sustained marketing support has highlighted just how easy it is to make great-tasting dishes with Quorn, and attracted new shoppers whilst encouraging brand loyalists to choose Quorn more often. “At a time of year when many people are actively seeking healthier options, Quorn highlights a profit opportunity for retailers.”

Quorn is worth £173m*5 Kantar Worldpanel 52 w/e 20 May 2017 IRI 14/10/2017 & Kantar Worldpanel 08/10/2017 – 52 week ending *3 IRI 52we 19th August 2017 *4 IRI & Kantar Worldpanel 52 weeks 22nd July 2017 *5 Internal estimate based on January 2017 sales of £14m and January 2016 sales of £12m (IRI + Kantar 2016/17) *6 IRI + Kantar MAT Nov 2017 *1 *2



The House of Lords v House of Commons Swim, in aid of local charity Hope for Youth, was held on November 23.


amily-run local Ewing’s Fishmongers, based on the Shankill Road in Belfast, and Enniskillen-based butcher O’Doherty’s were recently honoured to supply fish and meat for an illustrious dinner in London following the 28th annual House of Lords v House of Commons Swim. Held on November 23, the Swim is a fundraising event sponsored by Speedo in aid of local charity Hope for Youth, which helps young people in Northern Ireland, particularly those from disadvantaged areas, by awarding grants to deserving projects. Following the swim and presentations,

guests were treated to a top-notch menu with Ewing’s supplying the salmon for a head-turning starter, which was enjoyed by high profile guests including Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Gloucester, Joanna Lumley, Jennifer Saunders, and Gloria Hunniford at Porchester Hall. Over £90,000 was raised for Hope for Youth on the evening, which will be put toward cross-community groups in Northern Ireland to enhance the lives of young people aged 11-18. The charity has been making a difference to young people’s lives for over 40 years, supported by a range of events

Ewing’s supplied salmon for the starter.



estrel Foods, producer of a premium range of dried fruit and nut snacks under the successful Forest Feast and Acti-Snack brands, is in line to reach sales of £20m by 2020 as part of an innovation-led development strategy. The family-run business, which is based in Craigavon, exports to 35 countries and has just invested £2m in a new factory and industryleading coating machine, specifically designed for the coating of dried fruit and nuts, to facilitate new product development and

O’Doherty’s butchers supplied locally-reared beef for the main course.

including the biennial charity swim. Walter Ewing, owner of Ewing’s, which was established in 1911, has been selling, curing and smoking fish since he was a boy – just like his father and grandfather before him. “We are so excited to have supplied the smoked salmon for the dinner at the House of Lords v House of Commons charity swim for Hope for Youth,” he said. “Ewing’s smoked salmon is a favourite among many Michelin starred chefs and our traditional family-run fishmongers is passionate about the quality of the fish we sell.”

anticipated increases in production levels. Managing Director Michael Hall said the success of the business, which marked its 21st anniversary this year, was down to a culture of innovation, creativity and speed to market underpinned by the quality of its ingredients achieved through strong relationships with suppliers and growers worldwide. “This hands-on experience of the different characteristics of nuts, fruit and seeds from various, often vastly dissimilar growing regions ensures that the final consumer product is always second to none,” he said. “Combining these ingredients in our own innovative and creative way allows us to consistently excite with new on-trend snack products that catch the interest of our consumers.” This focus on innovation is indicated by the success of its Smart and Hearty range of naturally sweet and ready to eat snack-sized dried fruits such as mango, apricot, banana, pineapple, goji berries, cherries and dates. The company has also invested in new marketing collateral including a new website. The announcement came as the business, founded by husband and wife Michael and Lorraine Hall 21 years ago, revealed sales had risen from £14.2m to a record £16.6m for the 12 months to April 2017. Employment levels during the same period grew from 72 to 89, including the creation of key roles of general manager and R&D manager.




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developing nations led to a career switch in which I worked for the World Bank in micro-finance support and training services for women in Vanuatu in the Pacific, and then for GOAL in micro-finance services in Sierra Leone. Illness led to my return to Northern Ireland and a subsequent decision to start my own business promoting and marketing local artisan products. I always had an interest in food and starting an initial on-line deli made sense. The popularity of the on-line business led to the store in Comber.

WHAT IS YOUR CURRENT ROLE? I own and run Indie Fude in Comber, a deli business specialising in artisan food and drink, especially from Northern Ireland. I also have a select number of suppliers from the Republic and Great Britain. As well as the shop in Comber, Indie Fude has a significant on-line presence, a catering operation that covers corporate events, hosts regular supper clubs and other artisan food promotions such as cheese presentations. We also support local markets around Northern Ireland, including those in Comber, Coleraine and Londonderry. BRIEFLY OUTLINE YOUR EMPLOYMENT HISTORY TO DATE. I am a chartered accountant by profession and worked in Belfast and Dublin for 15 years. A longstanding interest in

WHAT DOES YOUR ROLE INVOLVE? I am responsible for all aspects of the business, sourcing products, liaising with suppliers, meeting customers, demonstrating products and providing opportunities for them to experience and enjoy local food by means of a demonstration kitchen and our wellstocked cheese room, the only one of its kind in Northern Ireland. I also look after the on-line business and other important activities, including the programme of supper clubs which has included top chefs showing how best to cook local food. In addition, I have a developing corporate business that has included cheese tastings for major businesses, and a popular hamper business. WHAT ARE THE BEST/WORST PARTS OF YOUR JOB? The best part is the opportunity to work with the brilliant artisan businesses here and to help in marketing their

excellent produce. It’s a very exciting sector with lots of inspirational people who are as passionate as I am about our artisan produce. As I mentioned earlier, I am passionate about local food and drink and enjoy meeting and working with so many amazing artisan businesses. I love hearing their stories and helping them to reach shoppers here. We are all part of a dedicated team that’s focused on enhancing Northern Ireland’s international reputation as the place to go for great tasting and original food and drink products with heritage, provenance and transparency. The worst part is probably the huge amount of personal time involved in building up a small business. The recent recruitment of my first employee, Laura, should give me more personal time and greater scope to plan ahead.


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WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO TO UNWIND AWAY FROM WORK? Tuesday is usually the only real day I take off. I tend to have brunch with Maggie, my wife, and then take in a movie. It’s also the only day I switch my mobile off. I can now leave Laura to look after the shop and other parts of the business. TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT YOURSELF THAT NOT MANY PEOPLE MAY KNOW. I am a closet Liverpool supporter; a season ticket holder for 19 years, who tries to get to Anfield as the business allows, which, sadly, isn’t that often. I also enjoy watching Ulster Rugby at the Kingspan.


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arming co-operative Fane Valley hosted an inaugural Group Charity Ball in aid of Action Mental Health recently at a black-tie event in the Crowne Plaza, Belfast, with over 430 guests, customers, suppliers and wider group staff attending. The Charity Ball was the culmination of a busy year of challenges, activities, workshops and awareness outreach in which staff from across 20 sites including Linden Foods, White’s Oats, Fane Valley Feeds and Stores, Kettyle Irish Foods, Linergy, and Hilton Meat Products participated. “I would like to express my most sincere appreciation on behalf of Fane Valley to all our customers and suppliers for generously providing raffle prizes and making donations towards the greater charity efforts in 2017,” said Trevor Lockhart, chief executive of Fane Valley. “I would also like to say a big thank you to all our group staff for taking time out to participate in the many challenges, activities and for embracing and embedding a culture of listening and promoting a healthy lifestyle and positive wellbeing.”


25g protein per 500ml







ever count your chickens before they are hatched’ is an old saying that has a high degree of resonance for the local potato sector on a regular enough basis. Northern Ireland is home to many excellent potato growers. They have the land base and the skills to grow crops of the highest quality. But all of this tremendous resource and ingenuity can count for very little if the weather doesn’t play ball, particularly around harvest time. And such was the case in 2017. As Wilson’s Country Managing Director Lewis Cunningham is quick to point out, last year’s crops were planted on time and into ground that, for the main part, was in excellent condition. But that was back in the spring. By mid-summer the rains had arrived with a vengeance and they just kept on falling throughout the traditional harvest window of September, October and into November. In fact, by the beginning of December, a significant proportion of main crop potatoes were still in the ground. And this was particularly the 58

case in areas like North Antrim. According to Cunningham, most parts of Northern Ireland experienced twice the levels of rainfall that would normally be expected in the period between the beginning of July and the end of October. “Getting crops harvested was one

issue; the quality of the potatoes coming out of the ground is another challenge altogether for the industry,” he says. “Bruising and damage was a major problem last year.

“This was caused by the poor harvesting conditions with the machinery having to work so hard to lift the crop and the fact that the potatoes were coming out of the ground with so much soil attached. “At the height of the 2017 harvest, an extra 10% of fresh crop was being discarded as it went through our pack house due to bruising-related problems.” Adding to the concerns of growers and packers is the fact that, in total contrast, the potato industry in GB enjoyed a nearrecord harvest last year. “We operate in an international market,” says Cunningham. “So we will have to see how this scenario will play out in terms of determining prices along the production, packing and retail chain here in Northern Ireland.” But, looking to the long term, the Wilson’s MD believes the local potato sector can look forward to the future, provided it delivers what consumers want. “In our own case we have focused on developing a new range of products

FOOD PROFILE that focus on convenience, versatility and taste,” he says. “The days are over when people have the time to peel potatoes and cook them from scratch. There is also a kick-back from consumers when it comes to buying a 2.5 kilo bag of potatoes. “Very few people now eat potatoes most days of the week. So, increasingly, a significant proportion of the potatoes bought in the traditional manner end up being discarded, simply because they were not used up and cooked in time. “So, pack size is an issue for the industry. But innovation on a much more significant scale will be required in order for the potato sector to become more consumer focused, and add value.” According to Cunningham, demand for fresh potatoes has halved over the past 10 years. “The total value of fresh potato sales in Northern Ireland for the year to Nov 5, 2017 was £43.73m,” he says. “However, consumption figures for the same period show that volume is up by +0.1%. This reflects a degree of stability within the sector. “But even better news comes with the confirmation that frequency of purchase is up by 1.2% year-onyear. So people are actually buying potatoes more often. “In addition, the market for convenience, prepared potato products is delivering double digit growth. “The sector comprises mash, diced potatoes, wedges, flavoured baby potatoes and fresh chips. The value of the chilled, convenience potato products’ sector is now equivalent to 20% of that generated by the entire fresh potato market in the UK. “Here at Wilson’s Country, we now market a range of more convenient prepared potatoes under the You Say Potato brand. And it’s an approach that’s working. The brand features a range of innovative, value-added products that reflect new thinking with regard to pack size, taste, health and convenience. “But the overarching commitment is that the consumer can get home and within seven to 10 minutes be able to sit down and include freshly cooked potato products within a meal of their choosing. “The imagery of the brand also reflects

its relevance to younger shoppers and consumers who are striving to balance work, a healthy life style and all other interests; all within a pretty hectic time schedule. Consumers want convenience, when it comes to all of their cooking practices. And potatoes are no different in this regard.” The Wilson’s representative also believes the ‘humble spud’ has been maligned in terms of nutritional. “First off, the potato is a vegetable, yet it is not included in the recommended five-a day list, where the consumption of fruit and vegetables are concerned. “Yes, potatoes are sources of starch, yet they are also key sources of dietary fibre, mineral and vitamins, particularly when eaten with the jackets on. “Recent years have also seen significant breakthroughs, from a potato breeding point of view. As a result, we now have a wide range of varieties with specific nutritional and culinary values. We now have baby salad potatoes all year round, baker potatoes, white, red, pink and even purple potatoes. “This work is helping to differentiate the use of potatoes which, at the end of the day, continue to represent a highly-natural food source for consumers of all ages and tastes.” Cunningham also confirms that Wilson’s Country now operates a ‘zero waste’ policy. “This is at the very heart of our plans to deliver ongoing sustainability for the business,” he says. “Potatoes not suitable for our pre-pack and processing markets will go for feeding to livestock. “We also produce considerable quantities of starch, which is currently supplied to a local AD plant. However, there is scope for the business to possibly produce its own gas, courtesy of an in-house AD facility. “This could be used to fuel a biogas generator. Alternatively, we could purchase biogas from an independent supplier, and use this as a fuel source for a generator. “These are changing times for the potato sector. As a company, we are committed to bringing innovation to bear, across every aspect of our business.” 59




he Lakeland Dairies group is saving around £50,000 a year and reducing carbon substantially at its logistics complex in Northern Ireland as part of its focus on environmental sustainability. The company’s investment in the latest energy-saving lighting systems at its huge logistics centre in Newtownards has led to a prestigious Lux Award 2017 for the best Industrial and Transport Lighting Project of the Year with lighting specialist Resourceable in Belfast. Savings included almost 400 tonnes of carbon. Lakeland specialises in technicallyadvanced dairy products, which give the

chef, caterer or baker the convenience of longer life products without compromising on quality. It supplies customers in over 70 countries across Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Africa. When the company identified the need for further energy and carbon savings, Resourceable, which has extensive experience in energy and carbon reducing systems, was chosen to upgrade lighting at the group’s main export hub in Newtownards for its wide range of dairy products. “Resourceable delivered a high-quality lighting upgrade which has reduced our electricity costs and transformed our site,” said Tim Acheson, general manager at the Newtownards plant. “Light levels, uniformity and colour rendering are excellent. The project reduced lighting running costs and carbon output underpinning our ongoing commitment to the environment.” Resourceable is an experienced specialist in turnkey LED lighting, energy

and automation projects, with the ability to tick every box for customers including: product quality, design expertise customer financial support, project management, professional installation and a free recycling service. With partners, electrical specialists Scotts, Resourceable installed and commissioned 400 LED luminaires from Dextra, to deliver optimum lighting performance, quality and value for money for Lakeland’s Newtownards plant. Sean O’Kane from Resourceable said: “We have a 50-point checklist covering surveys, not to mention our key deliverables throughout a project. This attention to detail gives our customers peace of mind in the knowledge that we are taking care of any issues before they arise and also that they are getting the optimum LED lighting solution for their working environment. “There are an abundance of lighting products available and choosing products, suppliers and installers is a dilemma for many clients.”



unique Irish Black Butter has been developed from Armagh Bramley Apples for retail and foodservice markets. Alastair Bell, who has a background in farming including apple growing, has just launched the innovative Irish Black Butter which he describes as “a new taste of Ireland”. Based in Portrush, Bell teamed up with experienced chef Paul Clarke, managing director of award-winning En Place Foods at Cookstown, to perfect the recipe for the first Irish Black Butter product. As well as Armagh Bramley Apples, the non-dairy butter features treacle, cider, a touch of brandy and a blend of spices for a cross between sweet and savoury. “The Armagh Bramley is such a great



tasting apple that can be used in so many different ways,” said Bell. “Indeed, I’ve long thought that we could be doing more with the apples in terms of innovative products. “Influenced by the exciting developments during last year’s successful Year of Food & Drink in Northern Ireland, I subsequently approached Paul Clarke at En Place Foods for advice on how to develop the apple-based product I had in mind. He was extremely supportive. He helped perfect the ingredients and recipe for the butter. What has been produced has a delicious

ash Direct has won the Agri-Food Innovation Award at UTV’s Business Eye Awards, presented at a glitzy ceremony at the Belfast Waterfront. Noted for its strong use of digital marketing and innovation within the agrifood sector, Mash Direct was also lauded for the quality of its vegetable side dishes. The company now has 19 Great Taste awards; more than any other business in its category

flavour with a rich aroma and firm texture. “It’s a dark and rich product that can be used in so many ways including as an accompaniment for cheese and cold meats. The butter can also be used in curing meats such as bacon and ham. It’s such a versatile product that draws together sweet and savoury.” Clarke said: “It’s great to see another original product developed using Armagh Bramley Apples, which have EU PGI status. Irish Black Butter is an outstandingly tasty and balanced product with nice acidity.”

in the UK. “The whole team, from the fields to the kitchen to the offices, have been working exceptionally hard and this award is a testament to the innovation that they have driven,” said Jack Hamilton, director at Mash Direct. “We are delighted to bring the award back to Comber as we were up against great companies and we are looking forward to a big year next year as well.”




lster Farmers’ Union Ivor Ferguson, deputy president of UFU has welcomed the December 8 announcement of agreement reached between the UK and the EU on the first round of Brexit negotiations. “The deal reached between London and Brussels is the start of a long negotiation on the crucial issue of trade between the UK and the EU-27 after Brexit,” said Ivor Ferguson, deputy president of UFU. “The UFU will fully engage in those discussions, where possible, on behalf of the farming families it represents. “We are glad the deal protects our free trade into the rest of the UK, which is our biggest and most profitable market. We warned that anything that would threaten that would be unacceptable. “We are committed to free trade on the island of Ireland, and believe the negotiation opens the road for that to be secured. We are also now more hopeful

that a practical deal will be reached to allow us to retain access to the EU-27 market – a deal also in the interests of all those in the rest of the EU that supply the UK market with food. This is the start of a process, but it does hold promise.” UFU has said its focus is to see arrangements emerge that will not disadvantage farmers in Northern Ireland or make the process of securing markets more difficult. “We never seek to become involved in mainstream politics, and that remains our position,” said Ferguson. “As the Brexit negotiations continue, our goal will be to ensure nothing happens to undermine access to our market in the rest of the UK, which is and will remain our biggest. “At the same time, we have stressed from the outset the importance of



lster Farmers’ Union says farmers are beyond frustration with the lack of progress on Northern Ireland’s Rural Development Programme (RDP). According to the Union, events are bordering on the farcical and DAERA officials should be embarrassed and ashamed by the lack of progress. “Since 2014, when the present RDP began, DAERA has managed to spend just a fifth of the overall budget,” said Ivor Ferguson, deputy president of UFU. “We are now facing the prospect that funding promised will be lost to Northern Ireland farmers. This is inevitable unless DAERA officials focus on what should be the priority – ensuring that in the final RDP before Brexit an impact is delivered for rural families and for rural towns. “There are no signs whatsoever of

key measures in the programme coming into force anytime soon, there are business cases for some of the schemes still not even submitted or approved at this stage. It will be at least another year before any payments from the Environmental Farming Scheme (EFS) reach farmers. “Quotations submitted to DAERA in good faith for Tier 2 of the FBIS are now a year out of date and prices have risen considerably and this must be corrected by DAERA. We are inundated with calls every week from farmers asking for updates.” UFU said progress here is ‘lamentable’ compared to south of the border where, by the end of 2017, the government will have spent around 70% of its €4bn RDP budget.

finding a solution that allows long-standing trade relationships between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland to continue with minimal disruption. “We will seek to influence this debate to ensure the best possible deal for farmers. That is about maximising market opportunities. We will watch with interest where the wider political debate is going – but our role remains focused on the long term financial fortunes of farming families across Northern Ireland.”



lster Farmers’ Union is challenging part of an audit into RHI boiler use that asks farmers to state if they had planning permission for buildings or housing linked to boilers. “Our members are telling us that Ricardo, who are undertaking the inspection programme, are, in some instances seeking proof of planning permission not just in relation to boiler houses, but also the on-farm buildings,” said Ivor Ferguson, deputy president of UFU. The 1993 Northern Ireland Planning Development Order clearly states that under ‘Permitted Development,’ farmers can build sheds and buildings without the need for such permission. Thousands of sheds have been built over generations on the back of this legislation. “As is there no mention of any need for planning permission, or confirmation of exemptions such as ‘Permitted Development’ in the application process, we would like to know on what grounds are Ricardo seeking this information and for what end?” he said. “It is not acceptable that planning is being used as a stumbling block for RHI recipients during the audit when it was not a requirement in the original application nor eligibility criteria. UFU has asked the DfE to clarify their position on what they regard as unspecified audit criteria.




Tim Losty, director of the Northern Ireland Bureau in China, is pictured with Wang Dawei, vice governor of Liaoning, and Wang Shuying, consulate general of the Chinese Consulate in NI as delegates arrive in Belfast for the 2017 UK-China Regional Leaders Summit.


ver 100 delegates including over 50 Chinese provincial and municipal leaders arrivied in Belfast last month for a three-day Summit. The main themes of the Summit were creative screen industries, health services technology, agri-food security and innovation. As a result of discussions with the NI Executive Bureau in Beijing, the areas were identified by the visiting delegations as areas of mutual interest

and potential for partnerships. “Our bid to host the Summit was in February this year (2017) and it was supported by both governments and recognised the Bureau’s work in developing constructive relations with the provinces of Liaoning and Hubei and their cities over the last three years,” said Tim Losty, director of the Northern Ireland Bureau in China. Alastair Hamilton, chief executive of Invest Northern Ireland, said: “Hosting this prestigious event gives us the opportunity to showcase Northern Ireland’s combined excellence across a range of sectors to an influential audience. Our visitors are keen to understand our policies, the research which underpins them and how we are implementing them. We are confident that this week’s event will identify areas of future collaboration for our businesses, our universities and our policy makers and, in many cases, begin to build relationships which will lead to longer term economic benefits.”


technology. ure Roast Coffee, an awardThe breakthrough in winning roaster of Scandinavia follows single-estate beans, the company’s has won its first success in business in exporting Sweden. coffee to The company, high-end based at restaurants Lisburn, has and signed a deal foodservice for its premium organisations coffee with a in parts of Swedish industry Europe and the leader that is Middle East. expected to be Martin Symington, founder and managing director of “I was delighted worth £3m over the Pure Roast Coffee. to be approached by the next three years. Swedish business to see if I The deal follows an approach would be prepared to supply top quality from Swedish business contacts to coffee,” said Symington. “I subsequently Martin Symington, the founder and met them in Sweden and they then managing director of Pure Roast Coffee, visited the production plant in Lisburn. which has won a string of Great Taste It’s a market which appreciates excellent awards for the quality and rich flavour coffee with heritage and provenance.” of its coffee using the latest convection




isburn-based CocoMojo, an award-winning producer of healthy coconut products retailed locally and exported to global markets including Europe, the Nordic region and the Middle East, has expanded its portfolio with new drinks, cream and snacks. New additions include Coconut Milk drinks with no added protein and with pea protein. Dairy- and gluten-free, the 250ml drinks come in berry, chocolate, banana and original flavours. CocoMojo has also launched 100 percent Pure Coconut Water and 100 percent Pure Original Coconut Milk in 2 litre containers; both of which are gluten and dairy free. The new snack products in handy packs are Sea Salt flavoured Coconut Chips and Coconut Jerky in sweet chilli, Indian curry and honey barbecue flavoured, all gluten-free. Established in 2014, CocoMojo is a leading company in the development of refreshing and healthy coconut milk- and coconut water-based drinks and snacks. The new lines are the result of the company’s work to maximise the nutritional benefits of natural ingredients over many years, combined with extensive market research and consumer trials.



Maire, Aoibheann and Lauren with Tara O’Rourke from Deep RiverRock, Orla O’Neill from mxb and Dylan McGrath.


eep RiverRock recently offered one lucky winner the chance to win a fiveday road-trip with three friends along the famous Irish Wild Atlantic Way; a route ranked alongside America’s Route 66 as one of the world’s ultimate road trips by Lonely Planet. The adventure, in a customised ‘Route RiverRock’ camper van, included an overnight stay in the Bubble Domes in Fermanagh, an exclusive cookery course with Dylan McGrath, a tour of the Aviva Stadium, a personal shopping experience

in Limerick, kayaking in Cork and many other unforgettable experiences. With over 11,000 online entries received, Ms Carey from Dublin was the lucky winner and took her partner, daughter and cousin along. “This integrated marketing campaign was developed in partnership with mxb Shopper Marketing Agency which delivered a tech-first in Ireland with use of an artificial intelligence chatbot to register entries and engage the audience in an immersive journey where they could watch video and learn more about the prize experience,” said Tara O’Rourke, head of Hellenic Brand Marketing. “This really was an epic campaign and one which has played a key role in Deep RiverRock retaining the number one market share position in Ireland.” As a testament to the success of the campaign, mxb won silver for the Best Mixed Media Campaign at the PANI awards in October, and are currently shortlisted for the upcoming UK Drum Network Awards for FMCG Campaign/Strategy of the Year.



o mark the end of its 150th anniversary year, Belfastbased Neill’s Flour teamed up with Patton’s Bakery, celebrity chef Jenny Bristow and students from the Belfast Metropolitan College to attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the world’s largest scone. The record attempt took place at Patton’s Bakery in Newtownards using flour from Neill’s own award-winning brand. The attempt weighed in at 141.8kg and, while the baking team will have to wait to be officially verified by Guinness

Pictured are Karl McCrum, sales and marketing manager of Neill’s Flour, Warren Patton, proprietor of Patton’s Bakery, and Jenny Bristow celebrity chef.

World Records, they are confident they have a great chance of smashing the previous record. In the coming months, all relevant video, photographic and witness evidence will be gathered and sent to the Guinness World Records for review. “A lot of work went into this record attempt and I really want to thank everyone involved,” said Karl McCrum, sales & marketing manager at Neill’s Flour. “We couldn’t have done it without Patton’s Bakery and the knowledge from Jenny Bristow and all at Belfast Metropolitan College’s baking school.”



lenisk has launched an Absolutely No-Added Sugar Organic Baby Yogurt Range, with the help of four beautiful babies featured on the new pots. Glenisk launched a nationwide #SweetBaby search in March 2017, and 4,500 mums and dads around the country sent pictures of their little ones to be considered as the face of the new range. The entries were whittled down to a shortlist of 14, and finally four were selected to feature on the new range. The Glenisk Organic Baby Yogurts are made with absolutely no sugar, and are packed with calcium, protein and nutrients making them a great first weaning food for babies aged six months and up. “The new baby range from Glenisk is nutrient dense, smoothly textured and a great source of calcium, and makes a perfect snack or works beautifully as a versatile ingredient in a whole range of super weaning recipes, that will help to cultivate a happy and healthy lifelong relationship with food,” said Aveen Bannon, registered dietician. The winning babies won €1,000, a professional photo-shoot and a Glenisk & Tesco Loves Baby Goodie bag. 63




oost Drinks is reformulating all of its energy SKUs to 4.9g of sugar per 100ml in advance of the Soft Drinks Industry Levy coming into force in April. Exempt from the levy, all the new recipe SKUs will be in market by February 2018. True to its Champion of the Independents commitment, the challenger brand has also announced there will be no price increases, maintaining its competitive price for consumers and great cash margins for retailers. Boost has spent a long time carrying out extensive research to improve its products, particularly in the areas of sugar content and calories. “We are confident that this evolution of Boost will reflect what our consumers have been asking us for whilst still delivering a brand that continues to offer great taste, great performance and excellent value for money,” says Simon Gray, founder and managing director of Boost Drinks. Boost has also committed to all future new flavours and limited-edition variants being sugar free, as well as supporting the growth of its sugar-free energy SKUs. It will continue to build and develop of

Five-year-old Izzy Law is pictured with her mother Alexis Law, Carla Whyte from Britvic NI and Derek Greer, store manager of Russells Shop 4 You, Donaghadee Road, Newtownards. Izzy was the winner of the Food Force Ireland Hallowe’en Colouring Competition 2017, run by Britvic NI.


Simon Gray, founder and MD of Boost.

its wider functional ranges, Boost Sport and the more recent category addition, Protein Boost, which are all exempt from the levy and broaden the offering from the brand.



ong Meadow Cider is an award winning, family run, craft artisan production company established by father and son, Pat and Peter McKeever. The company is the result of an ambitious diversification programme, driven by the


family’s love and knowledge of the apple industry. The McKeever family have been growing apples for over three generations and know only too well the importance of high quality apples within high quality cider. By taking control of everything from

plant to pour, they have produced natural, artisan craft ciders. Theirs are true Artisan Craft Ciders made from 100% natural apple grown and harvested on the home farm, pressed and fermented over time in order to create their Medium, Blossom Burst Cider, Limited Edition Oak Aged, recently launched Rhubarb & Honey Cider and Mulled Cider. No concentrates, colours or artificial ingredients are added to their products which are all gluten free. They also produce Still & sparkling Apple Juice (750ml & 250ml bottles) and Apple Cider Vinegar (750ml & 330ml bottles). They have won various awards namely the Great Taste awards, Blas na hEireann Awards, International Cider Challenge, Food Heartland Award, and Grow Make Eat Drink Awards.




new service offering a universal format for retailers and suppliers – including Tesco, itsu and Unilever – to share and manage product data and images has been launched by GS1 UK. The not-for-profit standards organisation has been working with a group of grocery retailers and suppliers to develop an industry-governed service to deliver accurate and consistent data. productDNA:hub will set out agreed processes and data rules, based on the common need to improve product data quality and efficient sharing across the retail industry. Members of the group will be implementing the service from early 2018, ahead of a full industry launch in spring 2018. The productDNA:hub service is based

around three components. It enables suppliers to share product data and images with retailers in a consistent format with standardised attributes and data fields; it catalogues product data and images; and product data is independently audited and verified for accuracy and quality. GS1 UK is managing productDNA:hub on behalf of the industry, through the Retail Grocery Advisory Board, whose members represent almost 80% of the UK retail grocery market. The service defines and manages more than 150 industry-agreed data attributes for products across the grocery sector, including physical product data such as dimensions, weight and volume, as well as ingredients, nutritional values and allergen information.



ptiseller, a new eCommerce data platform from Developing IT, used this year’s Black Friday as an opportunity to look at how some of the largest sellers on eBay UK performed on what is perceived to be one of the most important trading periods of the year. With the survey ranging including household names such as Tesco to less significant eBay sellers, Optiseller found performance was mixed at best. While 30% of sellers experienced a significant uplift (more than 10%) in sales volume 66

over the period, and another 30% experienced a more moderate (more than 3%) sales uplift, the remaining 40% of sellers saw little or no increase in sales. Sellers seeing the greatest sales volume increases ‘led the way in adaption of Optiseller recommended KPIs’, said the platform provider, including eBay Markdown Manager (Discounts); Multiple Shipping Options including Click & Collect; Image Variation; Title Optimisation (Length and Item Specifics); Item Specifics; and Buyer Protection.



etailers are not using technology as effectively as they could be which, in some cases, is actually having a detrimental effect on their business, according to a new report from Searchlight Consulting. The study, Is Technology Clouding Retailers’ Vision?, claims that many retailers, while operating in one of the industries most affected by technological advancement, are not using technology for maximum benefit. It states that, instead of constantly searching for a ‘silver bullet’ which can cause them to lose focus and waste investment, retailers need to adopt a more holistic, long-term approach, as well as paying greater attention to company culture. Recommendations in the report include: • Retailers must adopt fail-fast strategies to ensure they find the technology that suits their specific customer, but think long-term in terms of return on investment. • Disparate systems remain a major problem, and there’s a need to implement ‘connecting technology’ that brings flexibility to their enterprises. • Today’s digital world requires IT/ tech representation at the top level to ensure corporate strategies and IT decision-making stay aligned to business goals. Organisations must now think about business technology rather than ‘IT’ – it’s crucial tech investments are aligned to wider corporate strategies. • Companies must make businessled decisions at all times – there’s no use implementing technology for technology’s sake. • Retailers and hospitality companies need to stay close to their customers, refrain from chasing every new innovation and seek the right advice.



Shannon Diett, VP of Marketing at category sponsor DHL (far right) presents Patrick Woods and Brian Brannigan from Linwoods with the UK Excellence in Export Award at the Chamber Business Awards in London.


ocal bakery, dairy and health food business Linwoods was among winners at the British Chambers of Commerce annual Chamber Business Awards 2017 in London on November 30. Linwoods scooped the national award for Exporter of the Year, with the judges impressed by its use of consumer and market research, and understanding of the challenges of regulatory changes in the sector.

“We are delighted that Linwoods has received the recognition and profile they deserve by seeing off competition from a number of firms across Northern Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales,” said Ann McGregor, chief executive of Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Patrick Woods, director at Linwoods, said: “As a business, exporting is at the heart of everything we do, and we’ve invested heavily in recent years to ensure that we continue to innovate and develop our product offering while pushing ourselves to expand into new markets. “We take great pride in the quality of products we offer our customers, at home and abroad, and we’re thrilled to have been recognised with this prestigious accolade. Gaining recognition at events such as the British Chamber Awards provides an independent seal of approval for our products and is testament to the hard work and dedication of our entire team.”


Pictured are, from left, Hilden Brewery founder Seamus Scullion, guest speaker Joy Alexander, CAFRE; Charlie Kerlin, Grant Thornton; and Padraig Ryan, Grant Thornton Ireland.


lack of devolved government in Northern Ireland could deepen an already growing skills shortage in the food and drinks sector, a major industry event has heard. Leaders from the sector voiced their concerns at a recent dinner hosted by leading business advisory firm Grant Thornton. The event, held at Hilden Brewery, brought together more than 20 directors from some of Northern Ireland’s best-known food and beverage companies.

The Complete Accounting & Advisory Service  Bookkeeping and Accounting  Payroll Processing  Tax Advisory and Compliance  Advice on Capital Allowances on New Fit Out Contact Stephen McConnell, Business Services Partner for a FREE consultation T: 028 9032 3466 E: An independent member of Baker Tilly International Regulated for a range of investment business activities by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants



People on the move... IN ASSOCIATION WITH...

BELFAST-BASED PLANNING CONSULTANCY EXPANDS B elfast-based planning consultancy, Clyde Shanks, has expanded over the last few months to tackle the rising workload in various sectors across Northern Ireland. Promoting four staff to director and associate director as well as adding a new employee, Clyde Shanks is now the largest independently-owned planning consultancy in Northern Ireland. With clients across sectors including residential, waste, commercial, agrifood, energy infrastructure, leisure and liquor licensing, Managing Director Clyde Shanks says the company has never been busier and that companies in Northern Ireland are moving forward and seeking out new opportunities where possible. “We are planning development across Northern Ireland and our team

Pictured is Clyde Shanks (centre), managing director, alongside his new team.

has never been more active; we are clearly seeing exceptional growth across many sectors,” he said. “As a result, I’m delighted to announce Clyde Shanks has made several promotions to director and associate director recognising the great contributions made to the business

by Thomas Bell, Gavin Rolston and Clare McParland as well as adding a new associate director with the appointment of Rachel Taylor from Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council’s planning team. This reinforces our position within the market. “From the likes of securing full permission for Belfast City Centre’s largest single office building for the proposed One Bankmore Square for Richland Group/Farrans to guiding the vast expansion of Moypark’s poultry farms over the last four years and the submission of a full application for a proposed multimillion pound luxury new Dunluce resort and spa overlooking Royal Portrush Golf Club, we continue to advise on some of Northern Ireland’s most substantial and significant new developments.”

MCE ACQUIRES STAKEHOLDER COMMUNICATIONS B elfast-based public relations agency MCE has acquired Stakeholder Communications, one of the longestestablished PR firms in Northern Ireland. The acquisition includes the transition of six full-time Stakeholder staff with former Stakeholder Managing Director Tom Kelly being retained as a consultant. “We had been in discussion with Stakeholder for some time and we are now very glad to get this deal agreed, retain all of the staff and move the clients across seamlessly to MCE,” said Paul McErlean, managing director of MCE. “Our business has deliberately aimed to grow in our three main business areas; public and stakeholder affairs, corporate and business public relations and

Paul McErlean, managing director of MCE.

consumer and lifestyle communications. We have also added specialist events and digital functions in recent times and, with this acquisition, we will now have a full time graphic design function also.

“The world of public relations is changing rapidly and we believe that this broadening and deepening of MCE’s offer will assist us greatly in our efforts to add value to our existing clients and help us win new business here and further afield.” MCE was founded in 2006 by McErlean, current chair of the PRCA In Northern Ireland. MCE’s Consumer Team is led by Sinead Doyle, the current chair of CIPR NI, the corporate team is led by Symon Ross, a former BBC NI business journalist, and the Public Affairs team is led by former Ministerial Special Advisor, Richard Bullick. MCE now has 24 full-time staff.

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


otally Hot, a specialist in Caribbean pickles, has launched two new products on the back of the successful introduction of an initial condiment earlier in the year. The new products are a mild version and a hotter one for those who like the fiery Caribbean pickles of the original condiment. Totally Hot, based in Holywood, is a small business launched by Carolyn Stewart, one of Northern Ireland’s leading DJs and music presenters. She developed the first Totally Hot pickle due to her love of Caribbean cuisine, and the difficulty experienced in

sourcing pickles and other ingredients from the islands in Northern Ireland. Totally Hot products feature strips of peppers, onions and chilli in a spicy liquor. The products are being produced by award-winning Erin Grove in Enniskillen, in Co Fermanagh, to Carolyn’s own recipes. “My initial Totally Hot has proved popular with shoppers in delis and independent retailers across Northern Ireland and produced positive feedback from those who either wanted a spicier product and others who enjoyed the rich flavours but wished a milder version,” said Stewart.



eading bladder weakness brand TENA* has upgraded its TENA Men Premium Fit Level 4 Pants with a sleek new look and boosted Secure Absorption Zone to lock in leaks. TENA Men Premium Fit Level 4 Pants aim to give consumers the selfassurance needed to still feel good in a bladder weakness product, but remain secure. The masculine upgrade has been designed to look and feel like everyday underwear for men,

bringing with it confidence to carry on living life unaffected by bladder weakness. Gone are the days of heavy-duty incontinence pants. With TENA’s latest initiative, TENA Men Premium Fit Level 4 Pants are comfortable enough to wear as day-to-day underwear, with built-in Odour Control to prevent unwanted aromas and a maxi level of absorbency which provides reassuring protection and security. “Bladder weakness can have detrimental effects on an individual’s confidence, particularly in those who require use of a heavier absorbency product,” said Nicole Tyrer, brand manager. “TENA Men Premium Fit Level 4 Pants have been designed with that in mind, in hope of opening up the category to the more reluctant acceptors, so they too can experience the benefits of TENA Men.” *IRI (12 Oct 2017)



e Nako, a Northern Irish producer of beef biltong, has developed a new chorizo sourced from a local farm specialising in distinctive Tamworth pigs. The company, formed by business partners Ilse van Staden, a qualified chef and butcher originally from Pretoria in South Africa, and Alanagh Chipperfield, earlier in the year, is based on Ballylagan Organic Farm. “Chorizo is a logical development for us to add to our existing portfolio of biltong and Droëwors sausages,” said Chipperfield, an animal biology lecturer at Belfast Metropolitan College. “We’ve also extended our range of beef Stokkies with a new garlic product. “The chorizo has been created by Ilse from her experience in South Africa and has a rich pork and spicy flavour. We’re immensely excited about the new chorizo and will be marketing it throughout Northern Ireland. The Tamworth herd is raised using organic techniques.”

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.











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

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


20/01/2017 16:47





MARCH 2017

APRIL 2017





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

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


Supporting local producers for over 50 years

Thank you...

Stand ‘N’ Stuff Extra soft, yet specially shaped to hold all of the mouth-watering filling in at every bite, they’re the handy way to enjoy the flavours of Mexico

Tel: 028 9267 3316


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MAY 2017






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

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

The UK’s No.1 Plain Still Water Brand*

*IRI, Total coverage, Value Sales, 52 w/e 25/3/17.

Supported with £1.9m Wimbledon campaign spend

Stay in the game, stock up now!

F E AT U R I N G T H E TO P 2 5 LO C A L F O O D & D R I N K S C O M PA N I E S 20/04/2017 11:35





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

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












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


7050 Ulster Grocer Stan ad.indd 1

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



© & TM Lucasfilm Ltd. *IRI Marketplace, Major Multiples, Volume Sales % change vs YrAgo. 8w period 29.11.15 – 16.01.16



7467 Ulster Grocer SW cover ad.indd 1



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



27% mg SotraersWalaress: durin


The Force Awake

IN CINEMAS DECEMBER 14 12/10/2017 11:43

I would like to express a genuine thank you to our sponsors, advertisers, contributors, and of course our readers for continued support throughout 2017. The team here at Ulster Grocer are fully committed to delivering a worthy magazine for the Northern Ireland food, drink and grocery sector in the coming year. It is business as usual for 2018, publishing latest news, developments and trends each month. We at Ulster Grocer will strive to remain the number one magazine for the local grocery sector, and hope to remain the go to monthly magazine for producers, suppliers, retailers and service providers.




ALLEGRO DISTRIBUTION Unit 3 Balmoral Business Park Boucher Crescent Belfast BT12 6HU T: 028 9068 3040 F: 028 9068 2644 W: PERSONNEL: General Sales Manager: Chris McGrath T: 028 9068 8788 TYPE OF BUSINESS: Sales, Marketing and Distribution MAIN BRANDS: Superglo Firelighters Firelog Firepak Eco logs 4head Astral Blistex Dentyl Bazuka Treatment Gel Dentinox Ibuleve Speed Relief Otex Express Fenjal Del Monte Just Juice Kiwi Glade Mr Muscle Oust Pledge Toilet Duck Brillo Goddards Shout Autan Raid Spontex Nivea Nivea for Men Elastoplast Atrixo Valley Gold Diabetic jams

IRELAND’S SPECIALIST SUPPLIER TO THE FOOD INDUSTRY ANDREW INGREDIENTS LTD 27 Ferguson Drive Knockmore Hill Industrial Park Lisburn Co. Antrim BT28 2EX T: 028 9267 2525 E: W: TYPE OF BUSINESS: Leading food and bakery ingredients supplier. PRODUCTS: Bakery ingredients, flour, bread, cake and confectionery mixes, gluten free mixes, icings, dried fruit, savoury and sweet sauces, colours and flavours, baking powders, raising agents, sugar, fats & oils, decorations, equipment etc. MAIN BRANDS: Macphie IREKS Carr’s Flour Braun Sonneveld Cardowan Creameries Olenex Flemings Renshaw R&W Scott Südzucker Tom Chandley Culpitt Meneba Kudos Dobla Ingram Odense AB Mauri

ARYZTA FOOD SOLUTIONS Blaris Industrial Estate Unit 2 5 Altona Road Lisburn BT27 5QB Co. Antrim E: W: Telesales NI: 08000 973 282 Grange Castle Business Park Clondalkin Dublin 22 E: W: Telesales ROI: 1850 777 000 PERSONNEL: Managing Director: Peter Jackson Head of Aryzta Food Solutions Ireland: Nigel Scully Regional Sales Manager: Philip Campbell TYPE OF BUSINESS: ARYZTA Food Solutions provides a quality bakery, food-to-go and beverage offering to the retail market. Bringing you the very best in retail solutions from our well-known and loved brands: Cuisine de France Seattle’s Best Coffee Otis




BRADY FAMILY HAM O’BRIEN FINE FOODS Timahoe, Donadea Naas, Co.Kildare E: W: T: +353 (0)45 – 863650 PERSONNEL: Managing Director: John O’Brien Commercial Account Manager: Stefan Menet E: T: +447809895846 Business Development Representative (Northern Ireland): Paul McFadden E: T: +44 (0)7468607011 Business Development Representative (Northern Ireland): Chris Culton E: T: +44(0)7584088208 TYPE OF BUSINESS: O’Brien Fine Foods, owners of the Brady Family brand, specialise in the production of both deli and pre-pack sliced cooked meats. The family owned company produces award winning own label and branded ranges. Brady Family continues to prosper within the cooked meats category and is currently the number 1 brand in the premium segment in ROI. This is reflected in the leap the brand made inside the Checkout Top 50 brands in ROI in 2017 based on Kantar data. Brady Family Ham is made from 100% Irish pork, using only one single pork joint and contains no added water.


CPM IRELAND Head Office 41A Blackberry Lane, Rathmines, Dublin 6 Belfast The Mount, 2 Woodstock Link, Belfast, BT6 8DD Head Office Tel: +353 (1) 7080304 Belfast +44 (2) 890735872 Email: Website: Social Media Facebook – Twitter – LinkedIn – cpm-ireland TYPE OF BUSINESS: CPM is an award winning, Omni channel, outsourced Field Sales agency, with a proven track record for increasing sales for our clients. We use insight to influence and drive sales through our field sales and merchandising teams (Contract and Tactical Activations), contact centres, digital marketing solutions and advance data capture, analysis and real time reporting. NAMES AND POSITIONS OF PERSONNEL: Managing Director: Lorraine Butler Retail Client Service Director: Shane Stafford Direct Sales Client Service Director: Mel Carson NI Market Manager: Colin Hennessy

COMPANY INFORMATION: CPM Group was established in 1936 & is the world’s leading Sales Outsourcer. We operate across 35 countries globally and have been driving sales growth for clients in Ireland since 1986. We are part of the Omnicom Group, the world’s largest media and marketing group. CPM is in the business of People. Our ethos is ‘CPM is Famous for Sales, Powered by Our People’. We work tirelessly to attract, develop and retain the best talent to represent our client’s brands. PRODUCT/SERVICES: • Retail Sales • Merchandising – contract and tactical activations • In Store Demonstrations / Sampling • Auditing • Mystery Shopping • Field Research • Events Hosting & Staffing • Call Centre Support including Consumer care lines • IT, Data Analysis & Real Time Reporting • Shopper Marketing • Training


COOKSTOWN KARRO FOOD GROUP 70 Molesworth Road Cookstown Co. Tyrone BT80 8PJ T: 028 8676 3321 F: 028 8676 8524 W: W:

DALE FARM LTD 15 Dargan Road Belfast BT3 9LS T: 028 9037 2200 F: 028 9037 2211 E: W:

PERSONNEL: Sales: Kingsley Burrows

Personnel: Group Commercial Director: Stephen Cameron

Marketing: Sinead McLaughlin

Commercial Director Branded Products: Jason Hempton

TYPE OF BUSINESS: Pork manufacturer of Cookstown branded products, Private Own Label, Food service & Commodity products.

Commercial Director Convenience and Foodservice: Nigel Cairns


Type of Business: Dairy manufacturer

MAIN BRANDS: Cookstown McGee’s Butcher

Main brands: Dale Farm Dromona Spelga Loseley Rowan Glen Fivemiletown Mullins Ice Cream

ELEVATOR 2 Pilot’s View 18 Heron Road Belfast BT3 9LE T: 028 9073 0899 E: W: Follow us on Twitter @ElevatorPM TYPE OF BUSINESS: Specialist promotional marketing agency which aims to deliver results-orientated creative promotional marketing campaigns for our clients. We create, implement and project manage a wide range of promotional mechanics across a wide range of different media, including onpack campaigns, instore promotions, sampling, roadshows, social media strategies, coupons, joint promotions, press promotions, on-line campaigns, and trade and salesforce incentives. Our campaigns regularly deliver significant sales increases, providing tangible and measurable returns on investment for our grocery clients, including Tennent’s NI, Tayto, Coca-Cola HBC, Mackle Petfoods, Irwin’s, Boost Energy, Dale Farm and White’s Oats.




GENESIS CRAFTY 31 Aughrim Road Magherafelt BT45 6BB T: 028 7963 2465 F: 028 7963 4207 E: W: Like us on Facebook at PERSONNEL: Managing Director: Brian McErlain Operations Director: Damian McErlain Commercial Director: JP Lyttle Finance Director: Orlagh Gillespie Head of Technical: Naomi Small Brand Manager: Oonagh Gallagher National Account Manager: Catherine Hunter TYPE OF BUSINESS: Genesis Crafty produce and distribute hand crafted morning goods, bread and cake throughout NI, UK and ROI via both retail and foodservice. We are six brothers who are also six bakers. We take pride in baking everything the truly artisanal way creating the best taste and texture for you! CORE PRODUCTS: Genesis Crafty Sliced Oven & Toaster Wheaten Genesis Crafty Original, Round and Wee Sodas Genesis Crafty Butter Sultana, Cherry, Wheaten, Plain & Cheese Scones Genesis Crafty Original, Big, Blueberry & Chocolate Chip Pancakes Genesis Crafty Raspberry Jam Bakes, Lemon Bakes, Snowballs, Almond Bakewells, Raspberry Macaroons, Pineapple Cups & Iced Tops


GM MARKETING IRELAND LTD 9 Hillview Road Belfast BT14 7BT T: 028 9026 7080 F: 028 9043 4466 E: W: Like us on Facebook at PERSONNEL: Managing Director: Gerard McAdorey T: 028 90 267080 Commercial Director: Russell Barnard T: 028 90 267080 Financial Director: Davey McAuley T: 028 90 267080 National Account Controller: Gary Martin T: 028 90 267080 Buying Controller: Martin McCauley T: 028 90 267080 Marketing Co-ordinator: Steve McDonagh T: 028 90 267080 TYPE OF BUSINESS: Sales & Distribution Company Why GM? We are a unique Sales and Distribution Company who are passionate about retail and are the chosen route to market for a number of leading FMCG brands within grocery and foodservice. We are an innovative company with a wealth of industry experience who are always taking products places.

HENDERSON FOOD MACHINERY LIMITED Machinery House Madines Site 79 Downpatrick Road Crossgar Co. Down BT30 9EH T: 028 9099 4202 E: W: TYPE OF BUSINESS: Global supplier of New and Used Food Processing and Packaging equipment Catering for all sectors including: • Contract Packers • Bakeries • Ready Meals • Seafood • Desserts • Meat Cutting Plants • Vegetables • Fruit and many more... MAIN BRANDS: Apple Depositors Carruthers Shredders CRM Slicing Equipment Deighton Equipment FPE Grinders Henkelman Vacuum Packers Havantec Food Equipment Jay Craft Food Machinery Ilpra Range of Packaging Equipment Porlanmaz Bakery Machinery PSV Butchery Equipment Robot Coupe Equipment Pebock Washing Equipment Syspal Thissen & Stecher Cooking Vessels Thompson Machinery Mixer Mincers Treif Dicing & Slicing Equipment


HENDERSON GROUP Hightown Avenue Mallusk Newtownabbey Co. Antrim BT36 4RT T: 028 9034 2733 F: 028 9034 2484 E: W: PERSONNEL: Chairman and Joint Managing Directors: Martin Agnew & Geoffrey Agnew Chief Financial Officer: Ron Whitten Group Finance Director: Darren Stewart Retail Director (Henderson Retail): Mark McCammond Group Logistics Director: Pat McGarry Trading Director: Alan Fitzsimmins Fresh Foods Director: Neal Kelly Group Property Director: Mark Adrain Human Resources Director: Sam Davidson Sales & Marketing Director: Paddy Doody Head of Corporate Marketing: Bronagh Luke Head of Brand Marketing: Brenda Mulligan Channel Sales Managers: Stephen Gibson, Sarah Halliday Regional Sales Manager (Supermarkets): Paul Deans Regional Sales Managers: David Bennett, Jonathan Finlay, Donal Bryce, Justin Hayes, Robert Caughey & Connor McCann Trading Controller: Glen Howe Fresh Foods Trading Controller: Nigel Dugan Henderson Print Manager: Alan Ritchie TYPE OF BUSINESS: Symbol Group Wholesaler for SPAR, EUROSPAR, ViVO, ViVOXtra and ViVO Essentials in NI. NUMBER OF STORES: HENDERSON WHOLESALE LTD SERVICE 442 STORES ACROSS THE FIVE BRANDS.

INTERACTIVE (IRLAND) LTD HOVIS BAKERIES IRELAND Apollo Road Belfast BT12 6LP T: 08707 288 888 (office hours) F: 028 9038 8558 W: W: PERSONNEL: Commercial Director: Trevor McCrum Business Unit Controller: Ben Daggett Business Unit Manager: Billy Thompson Key Account Manager: Kerry Maxwell Marketing Executive: Candida Corscadden Category Insights Manager: Barry Spence NPD Manager: Keith Fulton TYPE OF BUSINESS: Based at Apollo Road, Belfast, Hovis Bakeries Ireland bakes and distributes quality, bakery brands including Hovis, Nimble, Ormo and Mothers Pride. The company also bakes retailer branded and foodservice breads and Morning Goods for customers in Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland. MAIN BRANDS: Hovis Ormo Mothers Pride Nimble DISTRIBUTOR: New York Bakery Co.Bagels, Mr Kipling and Cadbury Cakes

Units 6/7 Grange Park Trench Road Mallusk Newtownabbey BT36 4LA T: 028 9083 1730 F: 028 9083 1731 E: PERSONNEL: General Manager: John Flanagan M: 07919 122947 Commercial Manager: Mark Stuart M: 07919 122946 Sales Manager Laundry & Homecare: Ian Cochrane M: 07867 306343 Sales Manager Baby, Health & Beauty Care: Allyson White M: 07765 897305 Business Development Executive: Enda McDaid M: 07920 148780 Business Development Executive: Colin Espie M: 07900 584163 Business Development Executive: Paul Ritchie M: 07920 148580 Business Development Executive: Jillian Savage M: 07920 148680 TYPE OF BUSINESS: Sales, Marketing and Distribution to the Grocery trade. MAIN BRANDS: House & Home: Duracell; Fairy; Febreze; Ambi Pur; Flash; Viakal; Vortex; Ace; Ariel; Bold; Bounce; Daz; Dreft; Lenor. Personal Care & Beauty: Tampax; Always; Alldays; Aussie; Head & Shoulders; Herbal Essence; Pantene; Shockwaves; Silvikrin; Wash & Go; Wella; Max Factor; Lasting Color; Loving Care; Nice n` Easy; Nice n` Easy Root Touch Up; Perfect 10; Olay; Old Spice; Braun; Gillette. Health & Wellbeing: Pepto-Bismol; Vicks; Crest; Fixodent; Clear Blue; Oral-B. Baby & Family: Pampers; Pampers Kandoo; Infacare Snacks: Pringles. Electrical Personal Appliances: Trevor Sorbie; Remington; Nicky Clarke Electrical; Carmen Haircare; Carmen Girls; Glamouriser; Dreamland Electric Blankets; Warmnite Electric Blankets MISSION STATEMENT: Our mission is to fulfil customer satisfaction within our distribution channels and to represent our principals according to their world leading standards of innovation, service and quality. 77



KP SNACKS LTD c/o Northern Snack Foods

JOHNSON BROTHERS (BELFAST) LIMITED incorporating Johnson Brothers (Distributing) Limited 137 Hillsborough Old Road Lisburn BT27 5QR T: 028 9267 9121 F: 028 9266 8800 PERSONNEL AND POSITIONS: Chairman: Michael Y Johnson Joint Managing Directors: Dermot W.M. Johnson M Andrew Johnson Financial Director: Richard J Johnson Group Sales Director: Philip Mills Johnson Brothers (Belfast) Limited: Sales Manager: Neil Patton Johnson Brothers (Distributing) Limited: General Manager: Ivan Thompson Sales Manager: David Lewis TYPE OF BUSINESS: Selling & Distributing Agents Pure Coffee Manufacturer DISTRIBUTOR/AGENT: Selling & Distributing Agents


Lissue Industrial Estate East Lissue Road Lisburn Co. Antrim BT28 2RB E: W: PERSONNEL: Northern Ireland Business Account Manager: Ricky Watts E: TYPE OF BUSINESS: Manufacturer and Distributor of Savoury Snacks & Nuts MAIN BRANDS: McCoys McCoys Chips McCoys Thick Cut McCoys Muchos Hoops Flavarings Hula Hoops Hula Hoops Puft Hula Hoops Baked KP Nuts Space Raiders Skips Discos Frisps Brannigans Roysters Mini Chips Choc Dips Pom Bear

LACPATRICK DAIRIES (ROI) LIMITED Head Office Monaghan Creamery Coolshannagh Monaghan Co. Monaghan Ireland T: +353 (0)47 81400 F: +353 (0)47 82940 E: LacPatrick Ballyrashane Creamery 18 Creamery Road Coleraine Co. Londonderry Northern Ireland BT52 2NE T: +44 (0)28 7034 3265 F: 44 (0)28 7135 1653 E: LacPatrick Artigarvan Creamery 47 Berryhill Road Artigarvan Strabane Co. Tyrone Northern Ireland BT82 0HN T: +44 (0)28 7138 2275 F: +44 (0)28 7138 2059 E: LacPatrick prides itself on its exceptionally high quality dairy products. The company supplies leading retailers, food service and industry customers across the globe with fresh dairy products from our manufacturing sites. Our portfolio extends to a large range of quality milk, cream, butter, buttermilk, yoghurts and desserts that are produced for leading retailers’ own brands as well as for our own Ballyrashane and Champion brands, and in a number of bulk sizes for our industry customers. A significant part of the business is exportled with powdered milk, cheese and butter being distributed worldwide. LacPatrick’s LP brand powdered milk brand has an excellent reputation for quality in World Powder Markets, and is a brand leader in West Africa.



LINDEN FOODS Granville Industrial Estate Dungannon Co. Tyrone N. Ireland BT70 1NJ T: +44 28 8772 4777 F: +44 28 8772 4714 E: W: PERSONNEL: Managing Director: Gerry Maguire Retail Director: Elaine Willis Marketing Executive: Pauline Gordon TYPE OF BUSINESS: Award-winning red meat primal processing and retail manufacturer. Part of the Fane Valley Group of Companies.

KETTYLE IRISH FOODS Manderwood Business Park Lisnaskea Co. Fermanagh Northern Ireland BT92 OFS T: 028 6772 3777 F: 028 67723888 E: W: PERSONNEL: Managing Director: Maurice Kettyle Senior Sales Manager: Gemma Jennings TYPE OF BUSINESS: Award-Winning Artisan Dry-Aged Beef. Part of the Fane Valley Group of Companies.

Louganhill Industrial Estate Coleraine Co. Londonderry BT52 2NR T: 028 7035 0600 F: 028 7035 7340 E: W: PERSONNEL: Managing Director: Andrew Lynas Deputy Managing Director: Ian Crowe Finance Director: Alistair Magee Head of Sales: Melvyn Bacon Food Outlet General Manager: Nigel McCullough Food Outlet Ballymena 1 Wakehurst Rd BT42 3AZ T: 028 2565 6451 Food Outlet Bangor 167 Clandeboye Rd, BT20 3JP T: 028 9147 8750 Food Outlet Belfast 46 Montgomery Road BT6 9HQ T: 028 9070 4795 Food Outlet Coleraine Louganhill Industrial Estate Gateshead Road BT52 2NR T: 028 7035 3765

MAXOL OIL LIMITED 48 Trench Road Mallusk Newtownabbey Co. Antrim BT36 4TY T: 028 9050 6000 E: W: The Maxol Group 3 Custom House Plaza IFSC Dublin 1 T: +353-1-6076800 E: W: TYPE OF BUSINESS: Forecourt & Convenience Retailer MAIN BRANDS: Maxol Maxol Auto 24 Maxol Lubricants Maxwash Moreish

Food Outlet Derry/Londonderry Buncrana Road BT48 OLY T: 028 7126 1080 Food Outlet Newry Unit 5 Plaza Retail Park 50 Belfast Road BT34 1QA T: 02830 833094 TYPE OF BUSINESS “Broad-line Suppling over 6000 Fresh, Frozen and Ambient products to the foodservice industry.” Number Of Stores 3 Regional Depots Coleraine, Dublin and Galway 1 Craft Butchery “Causeway Prime” Coleraine. 4 Food Outlets – Belfast, Coleraine, Derry, Newry. Causeway Prime Manager: John Neely Type of Business: Craft Butchery 79



McCOLGAN’S QUALITY FOODS LTD Dublin Road Industrial Estate Strabane BT82 9EA T: 028 7138 2797 E: W: PERSONNEL: Managing Director: Grainne Hampton Commercial Director: Roy Wilkinson TYPE OF BUSINESS: Manufacturer of convenience food including pies, slices, pasties, sausage rolls, jambons, quiche. Foodservice and retail, chilled and frozen. Own label specialists. Brands include McColgans, Bakers Best, Strathmourne Foods, McColgans Choice Cuisine. DISTRIBUTION: Multi temperature deliveries across NI, ROI and GB daily.

MOY PARK LTD The Food Park 39 Seagoe Ind. Estate Portadown Craigavon Co. Armagh BT63 5QE T: 028 3835 2233 W: PERSONNEL: Senior Commercial Manager Ireland: Colin Freeman Brand Marketing Manager: Briege Finnegan Account Manager: Ronan Magee TYPE OF BUSINESS: Moy Park is one of the UK’s top 15 Food companies, Northern Ireland’s largest private sector business and one of Europe’s leading poultry producers. Moy Park supplies branded and own label chicken products to leading retailers and foodservice providers throughout the UK, Ireland and Europe and is the industry leading manufacturer of organic, freerange and higher welfare chicken and turkey. DISTRIBUTOR/AGENT: Neil McMullan Ltd 28 Halfpenny Gate Road Moira Craigavon Co.Armagh Northern Ireland BT67 OHW T: 07831 566827 MAIN BRANDS: Moy Park O’Kane Castle Lea

MUSGRAVE NI 1 – 19 Dargan Drive, Belfast, BT3 9JG T: 028 9078 7100 F: 028 9078 7101 E: W: PERSONNEL: Managing Director: Michael McCormack Trading Director: Ciara McClafferty SuperValu Centra Sales Director: Nigel Maxwell Wholesale Director: Trevor Magill Marketing Director: Desi Derby Finance Director: Alan Cunningham HR Director: Catherine Lambe SuperValu Centra Senior Business Development Manager: Barry Holland Mace Lead Business Development Manager: Caroline Rowan Wholesale Sales Manager: Tom Kinnier SuperValu Customer Manager: Geoff Johnston Centra Customer Manager: Norman Bennett Communications Manager: Michael McCrory MarketPlace Belfast Manager: Garry Williams MarketPlace Derry Manager: Emir Sheppard MarketPlace Lurgan Manager: Colin O’Hare TYPE OF BUSINESS: Musgrave (NI) comprises the retail and wholesale segments of Musgrave Group in Northern Ireland and supports 360 independent retailers through the SuperValu, Centra, Mace and DayToday brands and over 2,800 wholesale customers through the Musgrave MarketPlace brand across the province. MAIN BRANDS: SuperValu, Centra , Mace, Musgrave MarketPlace, DayToday, Chipmongers and Frank and Honest



NISA RETAIL LIMITED Nisa Retail Limited Member Support Centre Waldo Way Normanby Enterprise Park Scunthorpe DN15 9GE T: 017 2428 2028 E: W: FASCIAS: Nisa Extra, Nisa Local, Loco, Independent fascia Chief Executive Officer: Arnu Misra Chief Financal Officer: Robin Brown Operations Director: Jonathan Stowe Retail Director (Symbol): Nigel Gray Sales Director: Steve Leach Trading and Marketing Director: Ian Martin Trading Manager Ireland: Jonathan Verner Head of Retail Ireland: Pat Leneghan T: 079 5035 5991 Retail Development Manager NI: Cormac Rice

NORTHERN SNACK FOODS LTD Lissue Industrial Estate East Lisburn BT 28 2RB T: 028 9262 2820 W: PERSONNEL: Martin McClinton M: 07850 410917 Contact North West: Nigel Morton M: 07720 967492 Contact Belfast/Greater Belfast: Jonathan Lamont M: 07545 927064 TYPE OF BUSINESS: Distributor of Snack foods MAIN BRANDS: Hunky Dorys Crisps O’Donnells Velvet Crunch King KP Meanies Rancheros

PLADIS GLOBAL PO Box 3 Hillsborough BT26 6JU T: 028 9268 2644 F: 028 9268 3804 W: Personnel: Head of Managed Convenience: Wes Armstrong NI Business Account Manager: Tim McAuley NI Business Development Manager: Helen Coalter Type of Business: Pladis is a global leader in Biscuits & Confectionery with internationally recognised brands - Godiva Chocolate(Worldwide), McVitie’s & Jacobs (UK) , Ulker (Turkey & Middle East) In the UK, it manufactures and supplies popular household brand names including McVitie’s, Jacob’s, Go Ahead!, Chocolate Digestives, Digestives, HobNobs, Jaffa Cakes, Rich Tea, Penguin, Club, Nibbles, Choc Thins, Jacobs Cream Crackers, Crispbreads, Ciabatta, Mini Cheddars & Carr’s. Biscuits Distribution Company: pladis global Aghnatrisk Road Culcavey Hillsborough Co Down Northern Ireland BT26 6JU T: 028 9268 2644 F: 028 9268 3804

Sales Manager Ireland: Steven O’Doherty T: 00 353 87 291 3016 Store Development Manager: Janine Abbott T: 078 5502 8099 IT Manager: Bryan Lurring




PRL RECRUITMENT Belfast Office T: 02890 770 999 Dublin Office T: 00353 1 2571 400. W: TYPE OF BUSINESS PRL Logistics Solutions – We provide a complete network solution in warehousing and distribution PRL In-Market Solutions – Best in Class outsourced salesforce, in-field marketing, merchandising, technical services and tactical support PRL Integrated Services – Recruitment Services, Market Insights and Analytics, Custodian Full Service Marketing Solution

SELECT TRAVEL MANAGEMENT Murrays Exchange, 1 Linfield Road, Belfast BT12 5DR T: 02890962025 E: W: Twitter: @selectivetm Linkedin: Linkedin: selective-travel-management

PERSONNEL: Sales Director: Des McCullough

TYPE OF BUSINESS: Corporate Travel Management Company

General Sales Manager for Northern Ireland: Michael Whitely

NAMES AND POSITIONS OF PERSONNEL: Managing Director: Keith Graham Business Development Manager: Stephen Staerke E: T: 02890389007 Brand Manager: Laura Madill E: T: 02890962025 COMPANY INFORMATION: Established since 1972 Selective Travel Management is Northern Ireland’s biggest independent travel Management Company. Our group is the largest consolidator in Ireland and supplies >75% of Ireland’s (North and South) independent travel agents with airfares. We are market leaders in business travel management in UK & ROI with 30 highly skilled, dedicated account managers & technologically advanced systems. Owned by one of Ireland’s largest travel companies, World Travel Centre, Dublin. PRODUCT/SERVICES: Fully bonded with IATA, ABTA, ATOL Competitive flights World Wide Hotels Car Hire Rail 24hr Emergency Assistance The most up to date and extensive Management Information Real Time data Carbon Analysis Reporting e-Procurement & e-Invoicing capabilities Travel Policy Compliant Full Account Management Service Level Agreements & KPI’s Traveller Tracking Capabilities Group & Conference Travel


SHS SALES & MARKETING 199 Airport Road West Belfast, BT3 9ED T: 028 9045 4647 E: W:

TYPE OF BUSINESS: FMCG Distributor MAIN BRANDS: Airwick Askeys Batchelors Condensed Canned Soups Batchelors Canned Vegetables Bloo Bonjela Bottlegreen Branston Beans Brasso Cillit Bang Colgate Cookeen Crisp & Dry oils Crosse & Blackwell Canned Soups Crosse & Blackwell Canned Vegetables Crucials Sauces Dettol Disprin Durex E45 Farmlea Finish Flora Oils Gaviscon Harpic Jammie Dodgers Jeyes Jordans Jucee

Lemsip Lyons Maguire & Paterson Matches Marigold Mars Cookies Maryland Cookies Mr Sheen Napolina Nurofen Organix Baby Food Palmolive Parozone Parsons Primula Princes Food & Drink Royal Edinburgh Ryvita Sanex Shloer Senekot Silvo Steradent Strepsils Toffypops Tunnocks Vanish Vileda Viscount Wagon Wheels Windolene Woodwards Gripe Water


SOLV-X PRODUCTS LTD 20 Park Street Dundalk Co.Louth T: 042 9377055 F: 042 9377739 E: PERSONNEL: Managing Director: Colm O’Neill Financial Controller: Barry Duffy Purchasing Manager: Andrew O’Neill Operations Manager: Doreen O’Neill TYPE OF BUSINESS: Solv-X supply 18 non-food product categories including personal, baby, stationery party, household, candles, pet, seasonal, electronic accessories and electronic cigarettes. We supply a combination of quality own brand Solv-X lines sourced direct from factory as well and brand leaders such as Nicolites, Vivid Vapours, FIFO, Murphy Candles, Bob Martin, Favour, Little tree and Pretty Legs. We offer a full merchandising service with a range of display options. MAIN BRANDS: Solv-X, Bob Martin, Favour, Little Tree, Murphy & Barrett Candles, Nicolites, Pretty Legs, Vivid Vapours, FIFO

STRATHROY DAIRY LTD Shergrim Omagh Co.Tyrone BT79 7JD T: 028 8224 0948 F: 028 8224 6280 E: W: PERSONNEL: Managing Director: Patrick Cunningham Operations Director: Aidan McCarron Director ROI: Ruairi Cunningham Commercial Director NI: Eamon Lynch E: Commercial Director ROI: Phelim McCarron E: Financial Controller: Jim McCann IT Manager: Damien Harkin Quality Control Manager: Tracy Doyle TYPE OF BUSINESS: Dairy Processing: Milk & Cream MAIN BRANDS: Strathroy Bainne Ur Erganagh Various Private Label Brands

TODAY’S SAVAGE & WHITTEN WHOLESALE LTD Unit 1a Carnbane Business Park Newry BT35 6QH T: 028 3026 3521 F: 028 3026 3143 E: W: PERSONNEL: Todays Team: Sales Director: Michael Skelton Todays NI Sales Manager: Maurice Little Business Development Managers NI: Mark Forsythe, Declan McCarville & Paul McMullen Customer Relationship Manager: Rachel Holmes Business Development Managers ROI: Arron Potts Stephen Farrell S&W Team: Managing Director: Mark Windebank Operations Director: Norman Savage IT Director: Richard Whitten Sales Director: John Whitten Trading Director: Alan Dorman Chief Financial Officer: Robert McKeavney Marketing Director: Julie Burden Warehouse Manager: Joe McCrory Transport Manager: Sean McNeill IT Managers: Conor Duffy & Mark Turley HR Officer: Niaomh Rice TYPE OF BUSINESS: Savage & Whitten are the Symbol Group Wholesaler for Today’s Extra, Today’s Local & Today’s Express.




TS FOODS 40 Mary Street, Castlewellan, BT31 9DU T: +44 (0)28 4377 8227 E: W: @TSFoodsCommunity (Facebook) @TSFoods (Twitter), TS Foods Ltd (LinkedIn) @AnnsKitchenTS Foods (FB), @TSFoodsStuffings (Facebook)

VALEO FOODS 10 Flush Park Lisburn Co. Antrim BT28 2DX T: 028 9267 3316 F: 028 9263 1131

TYPE OF BUSINESS: Chilled and Frozen Food Producer

PERSONNEL: Commercial Manager: Maria Losty

PERSONNEL: Commercial Director: Joanne Molloy Operations Director: David Steele Brand Manager: Stephanie Sproule

Marketing Manager: Joanne Beattie

COMPANY INFORMATION: Family-run since it was founded in 1978, TS Foods is one of the leading fresh and frozen food companies in Northern Ireland, supplying products to both the retail and foodservice industry. Current customers include Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Henderson’s Retail Group, Iceland, Aldi and Musgrave as well as key food service providers. TS Foods also manufacture a wide range of value added products on behalf of leading UK and Irish companies. PRODUCT/SERVICES: TS Foods produce and supply a number well known retail brands including Tony’s Chippy, TS Foods Stuffings, The Stuffing Company and the newly launched Ann’s Kitchen.In addition, TS Food’s skilled NPD team and top-class facilities make them the perfect partner to develop bespoke products for a wide range of value added products.


TYPE OF BUSINESS: FMCG Valeo Foods is a leading producer and innovator of high quality, categorydefining, branded food products, with a proud history that dates back to 1845. We are passionate about food and out portfolio of iconic food brands, which are tried and trusted by consumers for their quality, wholesomeness, nutrition and fun. We operate a diverse FMGC business across many categories with both company owned brands and those of blue chip partners. This combines food production, brand development and innovation, distribution and sales.

WHITE’S SPEEDICOOK LTD Scarva Road Tandragee Co. Armagh BT62 2BZ T: 028 3884 0592 F: 028 3884 1895 E: W: PERSONNEL: General Manager: James Mathers Sales And Marketing Manager: Mark Gowdy Business Development Manager: Stuart Best Brand Manager: Danielle McBride Trade Marketing Executive: Esther Jackson TYPE OF BUSINESS: Oat Manufacturer, Breakfast Cereals MAIN BRANDS: White’s


CO-OPERATIVE RETAILERS THE NORTHERN IRELAND CO-OPERATIVE PART OF THE CO-OPERATIVE GROUP LOGISTICS OFFICE Shore Commercial Park 75 Belfast Road Carrickfergus BT38 8PH T: 028 9335 8604 W: Regional Operations Manager: Nic MacLennan


MARKS & SPENCER HEAD OFFICE Waterside House 35 North Wharf Road London W2 1NW T: 020 7935 4422 W:

TESCO NORTHERN IRELAND OFFICE Abbey Retail Park Church Road Newtownabbey BT36 7GU T: 028 9570 4627 W:

Chief Executive: Steve Rowe

Operations Director for NI: Brendan Guidera

Chief Finance Officer: Helen Weir

Commercial Manager for NI: Stephen Magill

Executive Director of Customer Marketing at M& Patrick Bousquet-Chavanne


Director of Human Resources: Tanith Dodge Food Director: Andy Adcock

ASDA NORTHERN IRELAND OFFICE Junction One Retail Park Antrim BT41 4LL T: 028 9448 5700 W: Senior Director: George Rankin DUNNES STORES HEAD OFFICE 46-50 South Great George’s Street Dublin 2 T: 00 353 1475 1111 F: 00 353 1475 4405 W: ICELAND HEAD OFFICE Second Avenue Deeside Industrial Park Deeside Flintshire CH5 2NW T: 0800 328 0800 F: 012 4481 4531 W: LIDL NORTHERN IRELAND OFFICE Dundrod Road Nutts Corner Crumlin Co. Antrim BT29 4SR T: 028 9082 5090 F: 028 9082 4339 W:

Managing Director for Clothing, Home and Beauty: Jill McDonald Director of Retail: Sacha Berendji

COSTCUTTER SUPERMARKETS GROUP LTD (NORTHERN IRELAND) Unit 1B McKinney Industrial Estate Mallusk Road Newtonabbey BT36 4PX T: 028 9034 2660 W: Chief Executive Officer: Darcy Willson-Rymer

Director of Communications and Investor Relations: Dominic Fry

Trading Director: Huw Edwards

Area Manager for Northern Ireland: Ryan Lemon

Marketing Director: Jenny Wilson

International Director: Paul Friston

Retail Director: Daniel Quest

SAINSBURY’S SUPERMARKETS LTD NORTHERN IRELAND OFFICE Forestside Shopping Centre Upper Galwally Road Belfast BT8 4FX W:

Sales Director: Duncan Jelfs

Regional Operations Manager: Damien Corcoran Category Trading Manager: Karen O’Connor T: 020 7695 0031 Regional Supply Chain Manager: Lee-roy Allen T: 028 9064 7386 NI Commercial Buyer: Claire McAlinney T: 028 9064 6913

Head of Business Development: Adrian O’Brien T: 07747 752580 Business Development Managers: Damien O’Donnell T: 07920 825505 Jim Cummings T: 07798 846093 Gordon Leonard T: 07507 604330 Simon Scott: T: 07747 752725 Michael Lavery T: 07918 651104 85


RETAILERS GUIDE HENDERSON GROUP Hightown Avenue Mallusk Newtownabbey Co. Antrim BT36 4RT T: 028 9034 2733 F: 028 9034 2484 E: W: Chairman, Henderson Group: John Agnew Joint Managing Director: Martin Agnew Joint Managing Director: Geoffrey Agnew Chief Finance Director: Ron Whitten Group Operations Director: Patrick McGarry Trading Director: Alan Fitzsimmins Fresh Foods Director: Neal Kelly Group Property Director: Mark Adrain Human Resources Director: Sam Davidson Sales & Marketing Director: Paddy Doody Head of Corporate Marketing: Bronagh Luke Head of Brand Marketing: Brenda Mulligan PR & Communications Manager: Sarah Fox Channel Sales Managers: Stephen Gibson, Sarah Halliday Regional Sales Manager (Supermarkets): Paul Deans Regional Sales Managers: David Bennett, Jonathan Finlay, Donal Bryce, William Bill Fresh Foods Development Manager (HWL): Laura Johnson 86

Trading Controller: Glen Howe

Finance Director: Alan Cunningham

Trading Managers: Edward Burns, Brendan Dumigan, Eugene McCabe, Michelle Dineen, David Quigg

SuperValu Centra Sales Director: Nigel Maxwell Wholesale Director: Trevor Magill

Fresh Foods Trading Controller: Nigel Dugan

Marketing Director: Desi Derby

Fresh Foods Manager (HRL): David Hamilton

HR Director: Catherine Lambe

Fresh Foods Development Manager (HRL): Healey Martin

SuperValu Customer Manager: Geoff Johnston

Fresh Food Trading Managers: Steven Kennedy, Iain Dickson, Alistair Kelly Noel McGregor New Product Project Manager: Jane Pyper Fresh Food Buying Manager: Eddie Blair Henderson Print Manager: Alan Ritchie TYPE OF BUSINESS: Symbol Group Wholesaler for SPAR, EUROSPAR, ViVO, ViVOXtra and ViVO Essentials in NI. NUMBER OF STORES: Henderson Wholesale Ltd service over 400 stores across the five brands. MUSGRAVE NI Musgrave Retail Partners NI 1 - 19 Dargan Drive Belfast BT3 9JG T: 028 9078 7100 F: 028 9078 7101 E: W: DAY TODAY 1 - 15 Dargan Crescent Duncrue Road Belfast BT3 9HJ T: 028 9078 4800 DayToday/Online Support: 028 9078 4810 Managing Director: Michael McCormack Trading Director: Ciara McClafferty

Centra Customer Manager: Norman Bennett Wholesale Sales Manager: Tom Kinnier Communications Manager: Michael McCrory NISA Nisa Retail Limited Member Support Centre Waldo Way Normanby Enterprise Park Scunthorpe DN15 9GE T: 017 2428 2028 E: W: FASCIAS: Nisa Extra, Nisa Local, Loco, Independent fascia Chief Executive Officer: Arnu Misra Chief Financal Officer: Robin Brown Operations Director: Jonathan Stowe Retail Director (Symbol): Nigel Gray Sales Director: Steve Leach Trading and Marketing Director: Ian Martin Trading Manager Ireland: Jonathan Verner Head of Retail Ireland: Pat Leneghan T: 079 5035 5991

RETAILERS GUIDE Retail Development Manager NI: Cormac Rice

Transport Manager: Sean McNeill

Sales Manager Ireland: Steven O’Doherty T: 00 353 87 291 3016

IT Managers: Conor Duffy & Mark Turley

Store Development Manager: Janine Abbott T: 078 5502 8099 IT Manager: Bryan Lurring TODAY’S Savage & Whitten Wholesale Ltd Unit 1a Carnbane Business Park Newry BT35 6QH T: 028 3026 3521 F: 028 3026 3143 E: W: PERSONNEL: Todays Team: Sales Director: Michael Skelton Todays NI Sales Manager: Maurice Little Business Development Managers NI: Mark Forsythe, Declan McCarville & Paul McMullen Customer Relationship Manager: Rachel Holmes Business Development Managers ROI: Arron Potts Stephen Farrell S&W Team: Managing Director: Mark Windebank Operations Director: Norman Savage IT Director: Richard Whitten Sales Director: John Whitten Trading Director: Alan Dorman Chief Financial Officer: Robert McKeavney Marketing Director: Julie Burden Warehouse Manager: Joe McCrory

HR Officer: Niaomh Rice TYPE OF BUSINESS: Savage & Whitten are the Symbol Group Wholesaler for Today’s Extra, Today’s Local & Today’s Express.

FOOD FORCE IRELAND LTD 7 West Bank Road Belfast BT3 9 JL Trading Controller: Debra Johnston T: 028 9092 3130 E:

TRADE ORGANISATIONS DAIRY COUNCIL NORTHERN IRELAND Shaftesbury House Edgewater Business Park Belfast BT3 9JQ T: 028 9077 0113 F: 028 9078 1224 E: W: FOOD NI LIMITED BELFAST MILLS 71-75 Percy Street Belfast BT13 2HW T: 028 9024 9449 E: W: Twitter: @Food_NI Chief Executive: Michele Shirlow

FOOD STANDARDS AGENCY Northern Ireland 10A - 10C Clarendon Road Belfast BT1 3BG T: 028 9041 7700 F: 028 9041 7726 E: W: Twitter: @FSAinNI Director: Maria Jennings Twitter: @MariaJenningsNI THE LIVESTOCK AND MEAT COMMISSION (NI) Lissue House 31 Ballinderry Road Lisburn BT28 2SL T: 028 9263 3000 F: 02892 63 3001 E: W: Chief Executive: Ian Stevenson Education and Services Manager: Cherrie Kenny NATIONAL FEDERATION OF RETAIL NEWSAGENTS Yeoman House Sekforde Street London EC1R 0HF Head Office: 020 7253 4225 Helpline: 0800 121 6376 W: Membership Services Manager: Nicky McGrath E: NI District Vice-President: Gwen Patterson NATIONAL PHARMACY ASSOCIATION 38-42 Peter’s Street St. Albans Hertfordshire AL1 3NP T: 017 2785 8687 E: W: 87


RETAILERS GUIDE Representation Manager NI: Anne McAlister T: 028 9266 1730 NORTHERN IRELAND FOOD CHAIN CERTIFICATION Operations Centre Lissue House 31 Ballinderry Road Lisburn BT28 2SL T: 028 9263 3017 F: 028 9263 3003 E: W: Operations Manager: Noel Lavery Company Secretary: Valerie McCann NORTHERN IRELAND FOOD & DRINK ASSOCIATION Belfast Mills 71-75 Percy Street Belfast BT13 2HW T: 028 9024 1010 F: 028 9024 0500 E: W: Executive Director: Michael Bell E: PA to the Director: Joan Sherman E: RETAIL NI 245 Upper Newtownards Road Ballyhackamore Belfast BT4 3JF T: 028 9022 0004 F: 028 9022 0005 E: W: Twitter: @retail-ni Chief Executive: Glyn Roberts Office Manager: Lisa McMaster President: Peter McBride Chairman: Nigel Maxwell 88

NORTHERN IRELAND PORK & BACON FORUM 475 Antrim Road Belfast BT15 3DA T: 028 9037 0222 F: 028 9037 1231

ULSTER FARMERS’ UNION 4075 Antrim Road Belfast BT15 3DA T: 028 9037 0222 F: 028 9037 1231 W:

Chairman: Seamus Carr

Chief Executive: Wesley Aston E:

Executive Director: Deirdre McIvor E: PETROL RETAILERS ASSOCIATION/ RETAIL MOTOR INDUSTRY FEDERATION 201 Great Portland Street London WIW 5AB T: 020 7580 9122 F: 020 7307 3406 W: Membership Manager for PRA: Steve Coombe T: 078 3137 3205 E: SAFEFOOD 7 Eastgate Avenue Eastgate Little Island Co. Cork Ireland T45 RX01 T: 00 353 21 230 4100 Helpline (NI): 0800 085 1683 E: Twitter: @safefoodnetwork Chief Executive: Ray Dolan ULSTER CHEMISTS’ ASSOCIATION 2nd Floor Strand House 102 Holywood Road BELFAST BT4 1NU T: 028 9065 6576 E: W: Secretary: Adrienne Clugston

Belfast Office: 02890 770 999 Dublin Office: 00353 1 2571 400

To advertise here contact Chris Keenan on 028 9264 4267 email: to keep up with the latest news

IN THE HOT SEAT TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF I joined the family business at 17. I am very proud to be fourth generation in the company. I started on the factory floor and worked from the ground up, learning the ropes along the way. I am now company director. My main role is product development and sales. WHAT DOES A TYPICAL DAY INVOLVE? My day starts bright and early at 5.30am. I like to get ahead of the game and get into the factory early every day. I divide my time between meeting our customers on a regular basis to get feedback on ideas that we have in the pipeline and new product launches. Otherwise, I am sourcing new business. WHAT HAS BEEN THE HIGHLIGHT OF YOUR CAREER TO DATE? Having started working in the company from such a young age, becoming director was definitely the highlight. It was exciting to be in a position to have a real input into the direction we wanted to take the business. WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT YOUR JOB? People. I am a real people person. I love to meet with our customers, checking in to see how things are going. Meeting with potential new customers gives me the biggest buzz. WHAT IS YOUR MOST DIFFICULT TASK? Product innovation. Constantly coming up with new ideas for our product range. We are always on the lookout for new products and markets. WHAT IS THE BEST ADVICE YOU HAVE EVER RECEIVED? I know its cheesy but ‘worrying doesn’t solve your problems, it is the problem’. WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST GRIPE? Bureaucracy and the ever-increasing paper work involved in running a food company.



“Having started working in the company from such a young age, becoming director was definitely the highlight. It was exciting to be in a position to have a real input into the direction we wanted to take the business.”

WHAT TALENT WOULD YOU LIKE TO HAVE? I would love to be musical. I come from a musical family but the music gene has passed me over. I’m hoping my sons might have got it instead.

WHOM DO YOU MOST ADMIRE? People who rise from the ashes. I admire people who never give up, who pick themselves up and start again.

WHAT ARE YOUR FUTURE PLANS/ AMBITIONS? To go further afield and increase our export business.

WHERE IS YOUR FAVOURITE PLACE? The Ionian Sea in Greece. I have sailed there many times. It is spectacular.


WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE FOOD PRODUCT? Since having children, definitely fish fingers. It’s my signature dish when it’s my turn to feed the kids. HOW DO YOU RELAX? For me, relaxation is either an afternoon on my bike or a long lunch with family and friends.


Full bodied coffee, rich in flavour





Medium bodied with bright coffee notes

Full bodied coffee with a silky, smooth finish

Image courtesy of National Museums Northern Ireland.



Full bodied coffee, rich in flavour Medium bodied with bright coffee notes

Image courtesy of National Museums Northern Ireland.




Dark roast coffee with a deep earthy flavour Full bodied coffee with a silky, smooth finish

Profile for Helen Wright

Ulster Grocer January 2018  

Ulster Grocer January 2018

Ulster Grocer January 2018  

Ulster Grocer January 2018