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GROCER ULSTER

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

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MARCH 2018

N O. 1 M AG A Z I N E F O R T H E LO C A L G R O C E R Y S E C TO R


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N O. 1 M AG A Z I N E F O R T H E LO C A L G R O C E R Y S E C TO R

GROCER

MARCH 2018

ULSTER

TM

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

SNOW AND FREEZING WEATHER TO COST NORTHERN IRELAND OVER £80M BY CLAIRE MCNEILLY

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reezing weather which has brought much of Northern Ireland to a standstill could cost the economy more than £80m, it has been warned. Sub-zero temperatures, icy winds and blizzard-like conditions at the beginning of March have led to chaos as Storm Emma swept in from the Atlantic on the tail of the Beast From The East’s chilly blast. Economist John Simpson said the loss of daily output coupled with the cost of repairing damage caused by the weather could amount to around £28m per day. More than 300 schools were closed, shops and restaurants pulled down their shutters early and public transport ground to a halt as the cold snap wreaked havoc. Given Northern Ireland’s already faltering economy, Simpson said the financial cost

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of the unseasonably late and ferocious winter weather represents a financial loss people here could do without. “The sheer stoppage of people not being able to do what they want to do because their lives are disrupted equates to a loss of income generated of somewhere in the order of £25m a day,” he said. “Add to that the extra costs of coping with it and you need to add another £3m per day in terms of the damage caused repairing roads, power supplies etc - and putting things right.” Simpson said the unprecedented costs linked to The Beast from the East and Storm Emma as they descend in chaos couldn’t come at a worse time for Northern Ireland, which is “not in great shape. We really are a much weaker economy now that we would wish - and the weather is not helping,” he said. Shopping centres and high street stores

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saw shopper numbers fall mid-week after a promising start, according to Diane Wehrle, Insights Director of Springboard. “The impact on Northern Ireland was felt on Monday with a drop in footfall of -9.3% but on Tuesday footfall rose by +6.5%, the only area of the UK to record an increase,” she said, with footfall expected to worsen as the week went on. Retail NI chief executive Glyn Roberts said the majority of small independent shops had opened in Northern Ireland on March 1, although many were operating a skeleton staff. “There is no doubt this storm has cost the Northern Ireland economy severely, with thousands of businesses closing and extensive damage to property,” he said. “But it is a mixed bag. People tend to shop at local shops rather than venture into town to the supermarkets in this weather, so some of our members are doing okay.”

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ULSTER GROCER MARKETING AWARDS:

MAKING THE MOST OF MINDFUL EATING:

GO GREEN – ENERGY & THE ENVIRONMENT:

EASTER CONFECTIONERY & BISCUITS:

LAST FEW SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES AVAILABLE, WHILE ENTRY TO THE 30TH ANNUAL AWARDS CLOSES ON FRIDAY, MARCH 16.

IS YOUR SHOP OFFERING THE RIGHT PRODUCTS TO ATTRACT CUSTOMERS INTERESTED IN THE LATEST HEALTHY EATING TREND?

REDUCING WASTAGE AND CUTTING COSTS IS NOT JUST COMMON SENSE, IT’S AN ETHICAL NECESSITY FOR EVERY BUSINESS.

ONE LOOK AT THIS YEAR’S DECADENT EASTER TREATS WILL BANISH ALL MEMORIES OF THE BEAST FROM THE EAST…

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NEWS Volume 53, Number 3 March 2018 Editor: Alyson Magee E: a.magee@independentmagazinesni.co.uk Tel: 028 9026 4175 Contributors: Michele Shirlow, Jason Winstanley Sales Manager: Chris Keenan E: c.keenan@independentmagazinesni.co.uk Tel: 028 9026 4266 Art Editor: Helen Wright Production Manager: Irene Fitzsimmons Ulster Grocer c/o Independent News & Media Ltd, Belfast Telegraph House 33 Clarendon Road Clarendon Dock Belfast BT1 3BG www.ulstergrocer.com @ulstergrocer www.facebook.com/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.

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GROWTH AT BOTH ENDS OF THE GROCERY MARKET W ell here we are into March already, at the tail end of the Beast from the East. Last year I was in Indiana, USA for the winter months, expecting a lot of snow but seeing very little, while this winter seems to have brought a fair amount to Northern Ireland. Strange times indeed climate-wise. As highlighted in our front-page story, our latest bout of extreme weather has created a few challenges for businesses across the country, including the grocery sector. Cold weather does bring opportunities too, with some consumers panic buying, and retailers in the home fuel business surely enjoying stronger demand over the past few months. On the whole, however, the erratic weather has mainly brought disruption with shoppers avoiding unnecessary trips, heading home and battening down the hatches. As the countdown to Easter gets underway, we can only hope for a return to more settled weather. So, aside from unpredictable weather, what is happening in the local grocery sector? Kantar Worldpanel’s latest figures for Northern Ireland, for the 52 weeks to January 28, indicate 5.1% year-on-year growth in Lidl’s market share to 5.4% of the local market. Lidl has 38 stores, while market leader Tesco has 52 stores and an estimated 35.2% of local grocery spend. The Kantar figures, meanwhile, attribute a 17.4% share to Sainsbury’s and 17.1% to Asda. Overall, the market is said to be in growth, with total sales rising 1.6% in December and 1.5% in January. While Lidl continues to grow in

popularity at the discount end of the local grocery market, growth is also notable at the premium end with our p7 news story highlighting rising organic food sales in Northern Ireland. Organic produce took a hit when consumers tightened their purse strings after the 2008 recession but has recovered steadily in recent years to a record high in 2017, as the infographic shows. The big story is a 20% sales boost in Northern Ireland, with even greater success reported among retailers of organic fresh produce and meat and poultry. Organic is a niche market, but a lucrative one and the Soil Association report also highlights the sector as one in which independent retailers already overperform but could secure even greater opportunities through box schemes and other home delivery options. For consumers paying a bit more attention to the food they put into their bodies, the mindful eating trend also offers a premium opportunity and a few brand initiatives addressing the trend are covered on ps20-21. Also in this month’s magazine in addition to our usual news pages, meanwhile, are a look at new launches around Easter, the latest developments around energy and the environment, a last look at IFEX 2018 before it opens its doors later this month (March 20-22, Titanic Exhibition Centre) and the official launch of the 30th annual Ulster Grocer Marketing Awards. Each year, we invite sponsors and past winners to a photo call, marking the official launch of this year’s awards, and many thanks to all who attended last month (see ps11-13). Don’t forget entry to the 2018 Awards closes on Friday, March 16 and we look forward to seeing all your entries.


NEWS

RETAIL SECTOR REACTS TO LATEST TALKS COLLAPSE

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etail NI has described the collapse of the Stormont talks process as bitterly disappointing for their members and the wider business community. In a joint statement with Hospitality Ulster, Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said: ‘The bottom line is that political instability is bad for business and the economy. Our members deserve better than ‘care and maintenance’

administration and emergency budgets. ‘The time has come for vital decisions to be made on a budget, infrastructure, business rates and many other important challenges facing the economy. ‘We need a government and ministers in place. Both our organisations have always strongly preferred devolved ministers –but it is now time for a Plan B.’ Aodhán Connolly, director of the

Northern Ireland Retail Consortium, said: “The failure of these talks is another body blow to our members and to the wider business community in Northern Ireland at a time when we need certainty. “We need bold decisions now and we need the devolved Ministers to make them. A way forward to work together for the benefit of NI PLC must be found.”

UK FOOD & FARMING SECTOR UNITES OVER BREXIT

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hirty-seven organisations representing the UK’s food and farming industry, including the Ulster Farmers’ Union, have set out what a successful Brexit means to them in a joint statement. Representatives met at a National Farmers’ Union Brexit360 event last month, including UFU President Barclay Bell and Chief Executive Wesley Aston. Delegates were united in their view that a thriving domestic food and farming base is central to the future

environmental, social and economic health of the country. Identified Brexit aims include maintaining free and frictionless trade with the EU; on-going access to seasonal labour; and ensuring businesses operate under an efficient and proportionate regulatory system. “This statement is a strong signal urging Government to recognise the crucial role the food supply sector will

continue to play in post-Brexit Britain,” said Bell. “This is a strong coalition of 36 signatories that represent a huge range of food businesses from farmers and agricultural suppliers, to food manufacturers and retailers. We have agreed to build on the principles discussed and to produce a shared manifesto harnessing the support of food and drink companies across the UK ahead of the EU Council in March.”

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NEWS

SPAR SUPPORTS EDUCATION AROUND HEALTHY FOOD CHOICES

Pictured are Bronagh Luke, head of Corporate Marketing at the Henderson Group, Michaela Fox, manager at RADAR and Joanne Casey, senior dietician at the Food Standards Agency.

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hildren and young people’s decision making around healthy food choices can be made more balanced in just 15 minutes, according to RADAR, an

interactive safety and life skills education centre in Belfast. Since it opened in 2016, RADAR has welcomed over 30,000 young people aged from nine to 17 and, thanks to facility sponsor SPAR Northern Ireland, has been able to make positive changes to what they are perceiving as healthy food choices and balanced meals. Using the Food Standards Agency Eatwell Guide, students are asked to choose products to make up a healthy meal, and then informed on what better choices could be made. According to the Northern Ireland National Diet and Nutrition Survey, 96% of local children aged 11-18 do not meet the five-a-day recommendation for

fruit and vegetables. Key findings also concluded that boys aged 11-18 years old exceeded the maximum recommended consumption of red and processed meat. “The understanding of what makes a healthier option and what isn’t, doesn’t have to be confusing,” said Bronagh Luke, head of Corporate Marketing at the Henderson Group. “It is important that children and young people are taught the simple changes that can be made when they’re still learning about eating and food as a whole.” For more information on RADAR, visit www. radarni.co.uk and, for healthy recipes and value product information, visit www.spar-ni.co.uk.

ANTRIM FIRM SIGNS BOOST DISTRIBUTION DEAL C o Antrim-based Hardy of approximately £75m, Sales and Marketing distributed from HSMNI’s (HSMNI) has signed an new warehouse facility exclusive five-year deal in Castledawson during to distribute soft drink the five-year period. Boost. “We are delighted The firm will to have secured an provide warehousing, exclusive five-year contract distribution, van sales with Boost in Northern and key account Ireland,” said Gareth Gareth Hardy, managing director of management across all Hardy, managing director Co Antrim company Hardy Sales and Marketing and Simon Gray, founder and the major symbol, cash of HSMNI. “It’s fantastic managing director of Boost Energy. & carry and delivered news not just for us but wholesalers within the NI convenience for wholesalers, retailers and consumers and foodservice sector. who all love the brand. The contract will see 150 million cans “We’ve been working with the company since it first arrived in Northern and bottles of Boost, with a retail value

Ireland 15 years ago, and the success it has enjoyed here since then has been nothing short of phenomenal. This new contract reinforces Boost’s commitment to the Northern Ireland region and enables us to invest locally in the brand. In fact we’ve just moved into a new 30,000-square-foot warehouse with a full warehouse management system which will allow us to improve on our already comprehensive and reliable route to market. “We have a long-term strategy for Northern Ireland which involves working closely with our wholesale and retail partners to ensure we keep the product moving off shelf.”

N IRELAND DESERVES BETTER ROAD SUPPORT T he Freight Transport Association (FTA), which represents logistics operators on both sides of the Irish Sea, is calling on the government to prioritise the infrastructure deficit leading to and from Loch Ryan, which handles approximately 45% of Northern Ireland’s trade with the rest of the UK. “Trading conditions are already under stress over business’ Brexit concerns, and the uncertainty on delivery times caused by an ageing road network is only compounding the problem,” says Seamus Leheny, FTA’s policy manager for Northern Ireland. “The A75 in Scotland 6

is the quickest direct route connecting Great Britain to shipping serving Northern Ireland and is vitally important for ‘just in time deliveries which retailers and agri-food producers in Northern Ireland rely on. There are 9,000 sailings a year on the Loch Ryan to Belfast route, carrying 410 thousand units of freight. However, growth on the route of 1.3% in the year to date is outstripped by far greater growth in movements on the route between Dublin and Holyhead. This will only continue if the inadequate quality of the A75 is not addressed soon.

“British-Irish trade is a key economic driver for the region, and this route is at the heart of the movement of goods and services which keep the two countries trading efficiently,” said Leheny. “It is beholden on central government, as well as the devolved administrations, to ensure that vehicles, products and services can continue to make it to the ports on time so that businesses on both sides of the Irish Sea can continue to flourish – and that will require urgent and sustained investment in infrastructure improvements to benefit both Scottish and Irish business.”


NEWS

ORGANIC SALES RISE BY 20% IN NORTHERN IRELAND

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rganic grocery sales have recovered from the recession to reach a record high of £2.2bn, including a 20% rise in Northern Ireland in 2017. Published last month, the Soil Association’s 2018 Organic Market Report reveals 6% value growth for the UK market, representing a sixth year of steady growth. Organic nonetheless remains a niche market, accounting for 1.5% of total UK food and drink trade. Soil Association Certification licensees in Northern Ireland recorded fantastic growth of 20%; far higher than the UK average, with fresh produce licensees reporting as much as a 65% increase in sales. Meat and poultry licensees also reported impressive growth at 46%. While organic currently represents less than 1% of the total food and drink market in Northern Ireland, rising demand from consumers alongside continued government support for farmers through the Environment Funding Scheme should provide opportunities for further market expansion. “It’s fantastic that Northern Ireland’s organic licensees have experienced such phenomenal growth over the past year across all sectors from fresh produce to meat and poultry,” said John Carson, Soil Association trustee and chair of Organic NI. “Such a steady increase in sales demonstrates that shoppers want to see more organic products on shelf, and provides supermarkets and retailers with the confidence to stock more organic products. With diet-related ill health on the rise, it’s encouraging to see more people recognising the importance of producing better quality food – which is what organic is all about.” Key trends highlighted in the report, for the whole of the UK, include: • Supermarket sales of organic grew by 4.2% in 2017, while non-organic supermarket sales increased by just over 2% • Independent retailers increased sales of organic by 9.7% • Sales of organic for home delivery, including box schemes, grew by 9.5% and now account for almost 13% of the organic market • Sales in foodservice, including through the Organic Served Here scheme, grew by 10.2% • The organic and natural beauty market was worth £75.9m in 2017, up 24% • Sales of organic textiles grew by 25% This year has seen booming sales in independent retail and home delivery; expanding online ranges, and growing interest in box schemes, means these areas are now growing at a faster rate than supermarkets and, between them, account for almost 30% of the organic market. Clare McDermott, business development director at Soil Association Certification, said: “More and more people

now understand what organic really means – both for health and for the environment – and people are placing increasing importance on knowing where their food has come from. The growth of independent retail and home delivery over the past couple of years, including more box schemes entering the market, is an opportunity – particularly for producers – to make the most of their provenance by offering customers the field-to-fork experience. And as online retail is able to adapt and expand quickly, there are plenty of opportunities to be a part of this growing market.” To download a copy of the 2018 Organic Market Report, visit www. soilassociation.org/organicmarketreport.

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RETAIL NEWS – INDEPENDENTS

INDEPENDENT RETAILERS TAKE CONCERNS TO PARLIAMENT Independent retailers across the UK and Ireland enlisted the support of MPs and ministers to champion the importance of their sector last month. A parliamentary reception was hosted by MP Martin Vickers and organised by trade organisation NFRN, which handed out copies of its 2018 Independent Retail Report outlining current challenges facing the safety, trading environment and future of smaller retailers. NFRN also recently welcomed news of a government investigation into newspapers, expressing the hope it should extend beyond the quality of journalism to look at cover pricing and declining retailer margins.

CALL FOR RURAL TOWN INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENT Retail NI and Hospitality Ulster have held extensive meetings with local political leaders and Fermanagh Omagh Council to highlight the need for infrastructure investment in rural towns such as Enniskillen. Retail NI CEO Glyn Roberts and Hospitality Ulster CEO Colin Neill said in a joint statement: ‘Investing in our rural towns should be on the list of key infrastructure projects, alongside the A5, A6, York Street Interchange and the Belfast Transport Hub. Enniskillen has very strong retail and hospitality sectors and could be stronger still if we get the right changes to business rates, skills and taxation.’

150,000 PARKING AND BUS LANE FINES Retail NI has described as ‘outrageous’ the over-150,000 parking and bus lane fines issued in 2017. Car parking fines increased by 15% in 2017. “These statistics are simply staggering,” said Glyn Roberts, chief executive of Retail NI. “Retail NI has consistently hit out at the this overzealous fining policy and the negative message it sends out to shoppers who use their cars to travel to town centres. The only winners from this are the large out-of-town supermarkets, which have free car parking and no traffic attendants.” 8

ARCADIA DELICATESSEN CELEBRATES 85 YEARS IN BUSINESS

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hird-generation family business Arcadia Delicatessen is celebrating 85 years of trading from the same unit on Belfast’s Lisburn Road in 2018, making it the oldest retail business still in existence on the popular South Belfast shopping street. Over that time, Arcadia has morphed from a local bakery into the awardwinning cornucopia of delights it is today. Ellen Brown took the shop beyond the war years and it was her son, William,

who began to add such exotics as French Brie and Greek olives to the selection, reacting to requests from customers returning from holidays on the Continent in the 1970s and 1980s. Over the 85 years, there have been many interesting stories to tell, with famous customers across the threshold including a cross section of journalists and politicians. William, who still works in the shop, handed the reigns to his son, Mark and wife Laura 10 years ago and they have further developed the business to compete in today’s challenging food retail environment. “I am proud to continue the business which my grandmother worked hard to establish in South Belfast,” he said. “Times have changed and we’ve had to move with them but I hope we still stay true to the original values of a highquality food offering and great customer service.”

BROUGHGAMMON LAUNCHES ON-SITE BUTCHERY COURSES B roughgammon Farm, a specialist producer of cabrito and rose veal meats, has launched a programme of butchery courses at its on-site butchery. Run by husband and wife team Charlie and Becky Cole with other family members on their farm near Ballycastle, the business delivers meat boxes all over Ireland and the UK. In addition to the butchery courses, the Charlie Cole of Broughgammon Farm. small company is also developing cookery classes and has organised courses on herbs and seaweed. “Broughgammon Farm is all about field-to-fork farming and that includes being able to butcher our meats at our on-site butchery,” said Charlie Cole.

“The butchery classes are a response to people here keen to learn how to develop the skills to handle various types of meat including lamb. “During the course, we share everything participants need to know about butchery, the skills they’ll need and where the primary cuts are found. It’s a hands-on course that gives participants the practical experience to try butchery at home.” The farm business is respected throughout Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland for its development of a wide range of cabrito and rose veal products and its street-food operation; another successful initiative recently recognised in the UK Street Food competition.


RETAIL NEWS – SYMBOLS

‘FORWARD-LOOKING’ HENDERSON GROUP WELCOMES MAYOR TO HQ

Pictured are, from left, Mark Adrain, Group property director; Michelle Pearson, economic development project officer for Antrim & Newtownabbey Council; Mayor Paul Hamill; and Pat McGarry, Group logistics director.

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enderson Group’s long-term commitment to Northern Ireland has been praised by Councillor Paul Hamill, Mayor of

MUSGRAVE SEARCHES FOR LOCAL STARS W

holesaler Michael McCrory, communications and retailer manager at Musgrave. Musgrave has been searching for two people from Northern Ireland to appear in a top-secret project, going live this month. It is hoping to cast an adult and a child of either gender in the project, and conducted open castings at the beginning of March. “We are looking for one adult and one child to appear in a project that we’re very excited about,” said Desi Derby, marketing director, Musgrave. “We’d like to meet people who really embody what’s great about Northern Ireland; whether that’s a cheeky grin, a dashing head of red hair or a swagger to their walk that makes them stand out in a crowd. “But to be honest we are hoping that someone will come along and surprise us by offering something we weren’t expecting – it’s going to be very exciting.” The lucky duo chosen will find out before the whole of Northern Ireland what the secret Musgrave project is all about. “We are remaining tight-lipped about the details but what we can reveal is that the lucky ones chosen will be part of an incredible experience they will never forget and they could even become a well-known face in Northern Ireland,” said Derby.

Antrim and Newtownabbey. Hamill recently visited the Group’s headquarters in Mallusk, alongside Michelle Pearson, economic development project officer for Antrim & Newtownabbey Council, to meet with Martin, Geoffrey and John Agnew and learn about the company’s roots in the local community. After a tour of the headquarters, the councillors joined Group Logistics Director Pat McGarry and Property Director Mark Adrain to visit the new, state-of-the-art £12.5m ambient warehouse opened in September 2017. “We have been established in the local community, and indeed throughout all communities of Northern Ireland for over 120 years and have strong links with local schools and academies to inspire and motivate the next generation,” said Martin Agnew. “Our Business in the Community links allow us to bring apprentices in to the workplace, share our business knowledge, and give back to local charities and organisations.” Councillor Hamill said: “It was a pleasure to meet the driving force behind such a long-established local business. Henderson’s commitment to the area over the past 40 years is clear through their continued investment, not only in their headquarters but also in the retail outlets spread across the borough.”

NEW COSTCUTTER/ CO-OP SUPPLY DEAL OUTLINED C

ostcutter Supermarkets Group’s in-depth understanding of the independent convenience sector and the Co-op’s wholesale scale and expertise will create a compelling offer for independent retailers, according to the two groups. Costcutter Supermarkets Group Chief Executive Darcy Willson-Rymer recently hosted a briefing about Costcutter’s new wholesale supply deal with the Co-op and his plans for the future growth of the CSG estate, following the collapse of former supplier Palmer & Harvey last year. Confirming the new supply arrangements will resolve supply chain issues, build Costcutter Supermarkets Group’s volume and competitiveness and strengthen the retailers’ own brand offer, he told the briefing the deal is a major opportunity for retailers to optimise the significant growth in fresh foods, food-to-go and own brand. Costcutter Supermarkets Group and The Co-op will become the second largest operator of convenience stores in the UK with over 6,000 stores through the new partnership. The first Costcutter Supermarkets Group retailer to become a Co-op franchisee will be in Guiseley, Leeds, a company-owned store which will test the offer before making it available to all eligible existing and new retailers. The Co-op’s own brand will be phased into stores soon after the supply arrangement goes live, quadrupling Costcutter Supermarkets Group’s own-label range to more than 2,000 SKUs. 9


RETAIL NEWS – MULTIPLES

MULTIPLES LINE UP TO SPONSOR BARCODE FESTIVAL

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ponsors already lined up to support Barcode Festival, GroceryAid’s exciting inaugural event to be held at Hawker House, London on June 28, include Asda, Booker, Morrison’s, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, Arla Foods, Danone, Heineken, Mars and The Walt Disney Company. More than 300 trade customers have also confirmed attendance at the event, taking advantage of the opportunity to get their product in front of hundreds of trade customers and show their competitors what’s hot in The Incubator at Barcode Festival. Andrew Thompson, commercial director at Booker, said he was particularly impressed by the chance the

charity is giving to smaller players to get involved while praising the event as “a great way to see what’s hot and on trend this year”. James Bailey, buying director, Sainsbury’s, said: “We’re very excited to be involved with such an innovative and

engaging new event. We’re very much looking forward to seeing the industry at its creative and confident best.” Confirmed for the Festival are appearances from Ainsley Harriott in association with Symington’s and Levi Roots on the Demo Stage, plus a huge array of competition, games and activities to keep festival-goers happy. The event will combine incredible music and entertainment with mouth-watering street food and bars. Tickets are £250 each, and sponsorship packages are still available, with all funds going to GroceryAid. See www. barcodefestival.co.uk or email events@ groceryaid.org.uk for further information.

TESCO NI INVESTING £685M IN LOCAL FOOD AND DRINK

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Pictured are Stephen Magill, Tesco Northern Ireland; Lorna Robinson, Cloughbane Foods; Eileen Hall, Cavanagh Free Range Eggs; and Trevor Mounstephen, Karro.

esco Northern Ireland has brought 75 local food and drink suppliers together at Invest NI headquarters to discuss its unwavering commitment to local, as its NI shopping budget reaches a record level of £685m. The first supplier forum of its kind hosted by the retailer, the conference signalled a pledge to continue telling Northern Ireland’s food story to NI and GB audiences. Several senior colleagues from Tesco GB joined the NI commercial team in communicating key business focuses for 2018 as well as the ways in which it will continue to support the food and drink industry here via product development and listings and event

milestones such as Balmoral and the 10th year of the Tesco Taste Festival. “We have never hosted a supplier conference of this size or format before but it was great to see suppliers the length and breadth of Northern Ireland gathered under one roof to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing the sector and how Tesco can further support the industry,” said Stephen Magill, head of Commercial, Tesco Northern Ireland. “We are committed to serving customers, and bringing them the very best food and drink from Northern Ireland is a really important part of that offer.”

NATURO TO RETAIL IN OVER 1,200 TESCO STORES UK-WIDE

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o Armagh company Mackle Pet Foods has secured listings for a number of new Naturo lines in over 1,200 Tesco stores across the UK, building on its existing contracts with the retailer. The new lines, available now in Tesco stores, include Naturo Grain Free Trays 400g Variety 6 pack and Naturo Grain & Gluten Free Cans 390g Variety 6 packs, while listings of Naturo Grain Free Chicken & Potato with vegetables 400g trays are being extended out to further stores. Currently Tesco stocks nine product lines from the Naturo range, and Mackle has been working with Tesco to introduce its two new ranges, and increase distribution across the UK and Ireland, of 10

its Naturo range to the retailer. The Grain Free Trays, and Grain & Gluten Free Cans are high in quality, and contain natural, grain-free ingredients helping dogs who have problems with their digestive systems, stomach problems, or who require additional vitamin and mineral support for their diet. “The launch of the two new product lines mean that pet owners, who are looking to purchase healthy pet food from the supermarket at the

same time as shopping for their family, now have even more choice,” said Claire McNally, marketing manager for Naturo.


ULSTER GROCER MARKETING AWARDS

ENTRIES CLOSE ON MARCH 16TH FOR ULSTER GROCER MARKETING AWARDS

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

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

Mark Glover (Ulster Grocer) and Trevor Magill (GroceryAid NI branch) are joined by, from left, sponsors Debra and David Henderson (Henderson Food Machinery), Brian Crawford (McGowans Print), Karen Carmichael (mxb shopper marketing agency) and Michael Hall and Ann Woods (Kestrel Foods), and last year’s winners Brenda Mulligan (Henderson Group), Michael McCrory (Musgrave), Jack Hamilton (Mash Direct) and Jill Crawford (Just Live a Little), alongside Chris Keenan (Ulster Grocer), second right.

For guidelines on how to enter or any other information visit ulstergrocer.com or email Ulster Grocer Manager Chris Keenan at c.keenan@independentmagazinesni.co.uk. Entries close on Friday, March 16th. Table sales - Contact: Jim McAlea Tel: 07714 850 550 Email: jim.mclea@yahoo.co.uk SPONSORED BY

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ULSTER GROCER MARKETING AWARDS

David and Debra Henderson (Henderson Food Machinery) - Best Brand sponsor.

Michael Hall and Ann Woods (Kestrel Foods) - Lorraine Hall Young Marketeer sponsor.

Chris Keenan (Ulster Grocer) with Brian Crawford (McGowans Print) - Best Food Export Marketing sponsor.

Chris Keenan (Ulster Grocer) with Karen Carmichael (mxb shopper marketing agency) - Best New Product Launch/Relaunch sponsor.

SPONSORED BY

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ULSTER GROCER MARKETING AWARDS

Sponsors of the Ulster Grocer Marketing Awards 2018 include, from left, David Henderson (Henderson Food Machinery); Karen Carmichael (mxb shopper marketing agency); Brian Crawford (McGowans Print); Debra Henderson (Henderson Food Machinery); and Michael Hall and Ann Woods (Kestrel Foods).

Mark Glover (seated, left) and Chris Keenan, right, of Ulster Grocer are joined by Ulster Grocer Marketing Awards 2017 winners, from left, Jack Hamilton (Mash Direct), Brenda Mulligan (Henderson Group), Michael McCrory (Musgrave) and Jill Crawford (Just Live a Little).

SPONSORED BY

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My Life in the Grocery Trade MARIE-CLAIRE CALDWELL, MARKETING AND COMMUNICATIONS EXECUTIVE FOR THE HENDERSON GROUP projects including event sponsorships and charity partnerships. In addition to this, I work closely with the brand teams on SPAR, EUROSPAR and ViVO marketing initiatives, as well as on industry award entries, trade and consumer press and internal communication activity. WHEN DID YOU TAKE UP THIS POST? I joined the team in April 2017, just in time for one of the biggest and busiest events in the SPAR sponsorship calendar, the Balmoral Show.

BRIEFLY OUTLINE YOUR EMPLOYMENT HISTORY Prior to joining the Henderson Group, I was part of the marketing team in Texthelp, which is a global software firm that specialises in creating assistive technology solutions to help users overcome a wide range of literacy issues and, before that, I held the position of marketing administrator with Subway, working in the Republic of Ireland market. WHAT DOES YOUR ROLE INVOLVE? I am part of the corporate marketing team, so this involves positively profiling the Henderson Group and associated brands to a wide range of internal and external stakeholders. I work on all PR

WHAT ARE THE BEST/WORST PARTS OF YOUR JOB? As the Henderson Group is one of Northern Ireland’s largest companies, there’s always something happening that we’re keen to talk about or promote. This keeps me busy which I love and means I have a lot of variety in my tasks. The worst part is finding the time to fit it all in but I get a great deal of job satisfaction from working in a fastpaced environment. BRIEFLY OUTLINE A TYPICAL DAY Every morning I check my emails and work on anything urgent. I then work on multiple projects throughout the day. These projects could be anything from briefing in photographers and videographers for upcoming events, reporting to the leadership team on campaign progress or writing a press release to promote the commitment of a retailer to their local community through fundraising activity.

WHAT HAS BEEN THE PROUDEST MOMENT OF YOUR CAREER TO DATE? During my time with Subway, I balanced studying for a Master’s degree with my professional role. A lot of hard work and late nights were involved but the reward of graduating from Ulster University with an MSc Management degree was definitely worth the effort. WHAT IS THE BEST THING ABOUT BEING INVOLVED WITH THE LOCAL RETAIL INDUSTRY? Food retailing in Northern Ireland is leading the way in many areas, particularly when it comes to traceability of produce and sourcing from local suppliers. I find it very motivating to work in an industry that measures up to very high standards and that is continually innovating and adapting in order to remain competitive. WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO TO UNWIND AWAY FROM WORK? I love to travel and always like to have trips to destinations in Ireland or further afield scheduled in my calendar to give me something to look forward to and work towards. I also enjoy going to reformer Pilates classes and the postPilates brunch dates with friends. TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT YOURSELF THAT NOT MANY PEOPLE MAY KNOW I achieved a LAMDA Grade 8 in acting when I was a teenager and would love to perform on the West End – it’s just a pity I haven’t got a note in my head!


FOOD & DRINKS NEWS

TOASTING THE SUCCESS OF DRINKS INNOVATORS BY MICHELE SHIRLOW, CHIEF EXECUTIVE, FOOD NI

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’ve been reading a projection from the Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland (ABFI) about the enormous potential of Irish gin, especially in terms of international sales. I know that many retailers here, especially major supermarkets, have been hugely supportive of our local gin producers, now beginning to make an impact in international markets. Support at home has given the encouragement and, above all, confidence to venture further afield. The companies greatly appreciate this support from local retailers because it enables them to reach a wider marketplace. I also want to acknowledge the backing which many of our craft brewers and cider makers are also receiving from local retailers. ABFI reckons Irish craft gin will ‘go global’ this year and challenge many longer established brands in Great Britain, the US and Canada, and Germany. Food NI members, I am delighted to say, include ambitious local gins such as Shortcross, Jawbox, and Echlinville. Northern Ireland gins from two working distilleries, Rademon Estate in Crossgar, producer of Shortcross, the company which effectively began the gin renaissance, and Echlinville in Kircubbin, which produces Jawbox, the first Belfast gin in more than a century, as well as its own branded gin, winner of three stars

in last year’s UK Great Taste awards. Copeland Gin, another Food NI member, based in Saintfield, is innovating successfully with fruit-infusions and ingredients foraged from the Copeland Islands. In addition to these spirits, there are Boatyard in Enniskillen and Belfast 1912. ABFI estimates there are as many as 30 craft gin brands now in Ireland, north and south. Interestingly, gin was the fastest-growing Irish spirit in 2016, rising 31.6% in Ireland while sales abroad more than trebled. It’s clear that the growth of existing brands here – and there are others in the pipeline – is making a positive difference to the local economy, especially to rural communities where most of the distilleries are located. They are providing new employment opportunities in these areas. Globally, sales of gin rose 2.5% that year to 52 million cases on the back of a revival fuelled by premium brands. ABFI adds that Irish drinks exports rose 8% last year to over £1bn with the outlook for 2018 also positive, due in part to the remarkable growth recorded in whiskey exports, including Old Bushmills, The Quiet Man and Dunville, which were 11.3% ahead in 2016 alone, to reach 8.7 million cases. That puts the sector on target to exceed a 2020 aim for sales of 12 million cases. AFBI forecasts whiskey sales will continue to

grow this year aided by the introduction of new products. Since 2014, ABFI has reported, operational Irish distilleries have risen from four to 18, with a further 16 being planned. In addition, the economic contribution of the distilleries is being enhanced by the development of visitor centres which capture the imagination of tourists. In Northern Ireland, three distilleries now operate centres – Old Bushmills, the oldest and most successful, Echlinville, Boatyard and Rademon, the most recent. A third is planned this year at The Quiet Man in Ebrington Square, Derry. And a fourth is in the pipeline at the new whiskey distillery being planned in Newry. We’ve also seen the emergence of popular whiskey and gin trails. And a number of craft breweries now offer visitor amenities, including Hilden, near Lisburn, Hillstown, near Randalstown, and Walled City in Derry. I had an opportunity recently to visit Hillstown and was immensely impressed by its working museum, an EconoMusee project. So, we now have a very vibrant and ambitious distilling and brewing sector that’s generating original and world-class products for retailers here and abroad. We have an award-winning cider cluster also, so for retailers looking to source alcohol, go no further than home.

REPORT DEMONSTRATES YEAR-ROUND QUALITY OF NI LAMB

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orthern Irish lamb is a quality product, supported by an industry in a great position to compete globally, according to a new report part-funded by the Livestock and Meat Commission (LMC). Produced by the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute, the Benchmarking Northern Ireland Lamb report examines the eating quality and acceptability of Northern Irish lamb in comparison to lamb produced in New Zealand. “The report backs up what producers and processors here have known for a long time that the quality of Northern Irish lamb is exceptional and

compares favourably with lamb from around the globe,” said Colin Smith, industry development manager at LMC. “The report shows that lambs at nine to 12 months-of-age, which are often mistakenly considered as being less acceptable to consumers’ tastes, performed very well in independent eating quality and likeness trials, demonstrating that the eating quality and consumer acceptability of lamb produced all year round in Northern Ireland is as good as lamb produced in New Zealand.” Furthermore, the results found that there was no significant difference in terms of consumer liking and eating

quality between male or female lambs processed at nine to 12 months-of-age and younger New Zealand lambs at four to six months-of-age. Northern Ireland lambs were selected from commercial production between January and April 2017. “Subject to availability, there is no reason for retailers and foodservice outlets not to stock Northern Irish lamb all year round,” said Smith. “LMC’s mystery shopper data indicates that in December 2017, some retailers sourced as much as 40% of their lamb products from New Zealand. “Retailers and restauranteurs should be encouraged by these results and consumers should have confidence in their enjoyment of locally produced Farm Quality Assured lamb all year round.”

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FOOD & DRINKS NEWS

VOLVIC PRESENTS ONE RESOLUTION YOU CAN STICK TO

Q1 CAMPAIGN SET TO HELP CONSUMERS STAY ON TRACK AND KEEP HYDRATED IN 2018

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olvic, the popular water brand from Danone, has kicked off the year with a heavyweight digital campaign. Using fun, targeted content, the campaign aims to inspire shoppers to choose Volvic as their healthier choice and to stick to their New Year’s resolutions throughout the year. The activity coincides with the launch of a new, sleek bottle design for the Volvic Natural Mineral Water 50cl format and a newly introduced 75cl format, which lends itself perfectly to sporting and travel occasions thanks to its handy sports cap. The campaign also features two newly launched Volvic Touch Of Fruit Sugar Free flavours, Summer Fruits and Watermelon and forms part of the brand’s multi touchpoint media investment of £3.8m in 2018. Tom Hickton, brand lead on Volvic UK & Ireland, comments: “Many people have New

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


DRINKS NEWS

DESIGN COMPETITION OFFERS STUDENTS A CHANCE TO BOOST THEIR CAREERS

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Simon Gray, managing director and founder of Boost Energy, flew into Belfast to meet with lecturers and students from Belfast School of Art and Belfast Met at the launch of a new competition for budding young designers from Northern Ireland.

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udding young designers from Northern Ireland are invited to entry a competition to have their artwork featured on cans of Boost. Boost Energy is celebrating 15 years in Northern Ireland this year and, to mark the milestone, the company is inviting students to create a celebratory can and supporting launch campaign, which will be rolled out across Northern Ireland from October. Organised in association with creative community YCN (You Can Now), the competition will see students who live in, or were originally born in Northern Ireland, redesign Boost’s SugarFree Energy 250ml can, with the winning design manufactured and launched into the market as a limited-edition product featuring on more than one million cans across the Province. “It’s great to be in Belfast to celebrate our 15th birthday in Northern Ireland with the launch a new competition for students,” said Simon Gray, founder and managing director of Boost Energy, who launched the competition at Belfast School of Art. “It’s obviously a very exciting project for us to mark our 15th birthday here but, more importantly, it’s a fantastic opportunity for budding young designers from Northern Ireland to have their own work proudly displayed across the best-selling soft drink in Northern Ireland’s independent sector. A great addition to any young designer’s CV. “Northern Ireland is a massive market for us and the public has really taken Boost to their hearts – making us the number one soft drink in the independent sector here. This is really important to us as we only sell Boost in local independent retail stores and not the big supermarket chains. We’re all about supporting and championing the local home-grown independent retailers who have helped us make Boost the huge success in Northern Ireland that it is today.” Dean Faulkner, head of partnerships at YCN, said: “As a brand, Boost’s personality is straight-talking with a cheeky sense of humour, willing to try new things, light-hearted, self-deprecating and energetic. So, the challenge is to bring to market a limited-edition can design and campaign that incorporates these traits with a local personal touch.” Entry closed on March 5. For further details, visit: www.ycn. org/awards/ycn-student-awards/2017-18-ycn-student-awards/ briefs/boost.

WIN A BOOST FRIDGE

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To celebrate 15 YEARS of Boost in Northern Ireland we’re giving you a chance to WIN A BOOST BRANDED FRIDGE.

TO ENTER, PURCHASE THREE CASES OF OUR NEW SUGAR-FREE PUNCH POWER FROM YOUR LOCAL WHOLESALER.* YOU’VE GOT TO BE IN IT TO WIN IT!

STOCK UP NOW!

*Terms and conditions apply. The competition will run from 1st March 2018 – April 30th 2018. Open to retailers based in Northern Ireland only. One entry for every three cases purchased with a maximum of one win per store. For full T&C’s please visit www.boostdrinks.com


FOOD & DRINKS NEWS

CONSUMER INSIGHT AND MARKET UPDATE BY JASON WINSTANLEY, SENIOR INSIGHT AND RESEARCH MANAGER AT MOY PARK THE NEW HEALTH January is traditionally a time of health resolutions and abstention, but the start of 2018 has been notable for a real focus on something more extreme than normal - veganism. Whilst the rise of ‘Plant Power’ has been a trend very much in evidence over the last few years, the move towards hard-core veganism seemed to really shift up a couple of gears in the first few weeks of the year, at least in terms of publicity, if not uptake. Veganuary – the concept of going vegan for a month – seemed to enjoy blanket media coverage at the start of January, and Google searches for all things vegan hit record numbers in the UK1 during the month. So, at the very least, we know that interest was piqued by this particularly abstemious approach to eating. At the same time, vegetarian and vegan recipe books made a land grab for shelf space in bookstores, and retailers lost no time in rolling out vegan ranges and products, some with more success than others. With all the publicity, one could be forgiven for thinking that the country is in the grip of a vegan takeover.

But, whilst the estimated number of 542,000 vegans in the country2 may sound like a lot, that actually doesn’t even represent 1% of the population, and whilst the Veganuary campaign celebrated attracting over 150,000 participants3, the number represents a tiny fraction of UK consumers. So, whilst a clear expression of interest in veganism from a niche group of consumers, we remain a very long way from it becoming anything like a mainstream practice. In fact, recent research by Moy Park4 showed that 59% of consumers eat all types of meat, without moderating their intake. It starts to look like the huge amount of publicity which the Veganuary campaign garnered was, to say the least, disproportionate to the uptake. But whilst going fully vegan requires a particular mindset and level of determination, it is also symptomatic of an evolving trend towards what can be termed ‘The New Health.’ Whereas health, in food terms, used to be all about taking things out – low fat, low calorie, reduced salt – there is an escalating interest amongst consumers

in food which is intrinsically good for them. The Moy Park research found that increasing fruit and vegetable consumption was the most important consideration from a healthy eating point of view, far more important than cutting back on fat, salt and calories, and even more important than cutting back on sugar, which, itself, has generated a storm of publicity in recent years. It’s all part of a more mindful approach to healthy eating, which encompasses things like gut health and awareness of intolerances, as well as embracing food rich in protein, vitamins, fibre and ‘good fats’. So, when the next ‘extreme’ food campaign comes along, it probably won’t result in wholesale behavioural change in consumers, but it will be a part of the general direction of travel towards a more holistic approach to eating healthily.

Source: 1 – Google Search Trends, February 2018; 2 – according to The Vegan Society, May 2016; 3 – Veganuary, January 2018; 4 – Moy Park research: 523 respondents, February 2018

MORELLIS DOUBLE CREAM VANILLA NAMED BEST IN UK V

anilla ice cream created by Northern Ireland’s famous familyowned ice cream brand, Morelli’s, has been named the best in the UK at a national awards ceremony in Harrogate. The local brand’s Double Cream Vanilla flavour secured golds in both the Dairy Continuous and Dairy Open Class categories at the annual Ice Cream Awards last month. Morelli’s also took home a Silver award for its Raspberry Ripple flavour, a Silver Champion award for its Double Cream Vanilla flavour and was awarded Bronze for its Blackcurrant Frozen Yoghurt. The Ice Cream Awards are run by the Ice Cream Alliance, the official trade association for the UK’s £1bn ice cream industry, with each category judged by industry peers. The Awards form part of the annual Ice Cream Expo, held in Harrogate and attended by thousands of ice cream manufacturers, retailers and key industry stakeholders across the country. The awards were collected by Arnaldo Morelli, who heads up the family business from its headquarters in Coleraine, alongside his brother Marino, sisters Daniela and Tania, and Production Manager Eddie Johnston. 18

Pictured are, from left, Eddie Johnston, production manager, Tania Morelli, Marino Morelli, Daniela Morelli and Arnaldo Morelli.

“This win is a huge testament to our talented team and fantastic suppliers,” said Arnaldo. “I’d like to take this opportunity to thank them for their hard work, support and dedication to creating the best ice cream and I can’t wait to get home and celebrate with them.” The Guido Morelli Rising Star Award, in memory of Arnaldo’s father, was awarded to Luigi Di Paolo from Di Paolo Café.


FOOD & DRINKS NEWS

ANDREW INGREDIENTS ROLLS OUT SUPPORT FOR WORLD BREAD AWARDS L isburn-based Andrew Ingredients has teamed up with the Tiptree World Bread Awards with Brook Food to encourage bakers from across Northern Ireland and Ireland to take part in this year’s awards. Now in their sixth year, the awards celebrate the art of bread making and are open to professional and amateur bakers, old and young, and feature 19 categories including Irish wheaten loaf. Entrants are expected to arrange delivery of their breads for judging at an event held at Cathedral Hall, Westminster Cathedral, London in September. Northern Ireland entries are encouraged to contact Food NI to arrange delivery of

Pictured are, from left, judge and renowned food critic Charles Campion, Kathleen Codd from the World Bread Awards and John Graham, director of Andrew Ingredients.

their bread for the judging event. Andrew Ingredients recently held a special event at their on-site test

bakery and kitchen to celebrate the achievements of Northern Ireland and Ireland 2017 winners, and to provide details and encouragement to bakers to enter this year. This included information on entry from a representative from World Bread Awards and advice and tips from renowned food critic and World Bread Awards judge Charles Campion. “The World Bread Awards is a fantastic opportunity for bakers in Northern Ireland and Ireland to showcase their talent and ability as well as reveal to the rest of the world what we have known for so long – that we have a high quality and excellent standard of bread products,” said John Graham, director, Andrew Ingredients.

FIRST LOCAL BONE BROTH BROUGHT TO MARKET A new beef bone broth has been developed by an awardwinning producer of natural beef, chicken and vegetable stock products in Northern Ireland. The home-made beef bone broth has been produced by Carol’s Stock Market, and is believed to be the first commercial product of its kind in Ireland. Based in Derry, the business has carried forward its expertise in home-made stocks that are naturally low in sugar and salt, contain no additives or preservatives, and are gluten, dairy, and soy free, into the new bone broth. The company won a UK Great Taste award and a Blas na hEireann, Irish National Food Award in 2017 for its stocks. In addition to locally-sourced bones from grass-fed beef cattle, the new broth features filtered Irish water with locally-

grown organic vegetables and herbs, including carrots, leeks, onions, bay leaves and organic cider vinegar. “I first discovered bone broths when I was working as head of equity trading at the investment management arm of Royal Bank of Canada in Vancouver,” said Carol Banahan, founder of Carol’s Stock Market. “Natural broths and stocks are really popular there and widely available. “I came to rely on home-made bone broth as part of a healthy diet. The broth is known to have nutritional and healing properties.” Carols’ beef bone broth is very rich in gelatin, which comes from the collagen rich bones.

HEAVENLY REBRANDS AND EXTENDS PRODUCTS LINES H eavenly Tasty Organics has launched two new products, expanded its current range with the introduction of new smaller pack sizes and unveiled a new sub-brand for its range of snacks from 12 months+. Having successfully launched new Corn Puffs with Ocado in January, the latest additions include Mini Biscuits from 12+ months, a naturally sweetened wholegrain biscuit available in Apple or Strawberry flavours, and heart-shaped Corn Puffs, also

suitable from 12+ months and available in Sweet potato & Carrot and Apple & Strawberry flavours. Both contain 100% natural and organic ingredients, with no added salt and sugar, and will sit within the brand’s new ‘Heavenly Kids’ collection. In addition, due to high demand, three of the brand’s bestselling products are now available in new smaller packs: Wafer Wisps, Veggie Waffles and Italian

breadsticks. All five new products are listed on Ocado, with key lines also available in Boots RoI, Tesco RoI, Supervalu NI, NISA and Morrisons. “The re-brand was a natural development for us,” said Shauna McCarneyBlair, founder of Heavenly. “With a more playful and adventurous design, Heavenly Kids will target the toddlers and older children up to five years. As for the new smaller packs, these became an essential development. We were being asked on a daily basis about our products being available in handy packs for families on the go and lunch boxes so we had to do something about it.” 19


MINDFUL EATING

WELLNESS IS SET TO BE PARAMOUNT FOR CONSUMERS IN 2018 ANDREA CAHILL OF KESTREL FOODS COMMENTS ON THE GROWING AWARENESS AMONG SHOPPERS TO ‘SNACK RIGHT’

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onsumers in Northern Ireland (and the rest of the UK and Ireland) are attempting to take charge of their health – and are doing so by making healthier choices when it comes to their diet and exercising by adopting a ‘wellness your way’ approach; picking and choosing elements of certain lifestyles that work for them. For a long time, ‘fat’ was the major concern among shoppers but this has changed through communicating the positive attributes of ‘good fats’ and changing the way in which we view them. As a result, nuts, avocados and oily fish have all grown in popularity. Sugar instead is now public enemy no1, and products that contain added sugar have understandably reduced in popularity. It’s no surprise that the nation spent £802m less on sweets, biscuits and crisps in 2016 than in 2011. For food manufacturers and producers, there is a real opportunity to introduce new products that fit with the lifestyle choices of today. More than 48% of

people admit to trying to eat healthy most of the time, with one third of customers happy to pay more for highly nutritious foods, with this rising to 40% among the under 35s. Popular diets including Paleo, the MIND diet, veganism and vegetarianism, all champion natural products and are becoming ever more mainstream – with nuts, seeds and dried fruit products fitting well with these healthier lifestyle changes. In 2016, we introduced Forest Feast Smart & Hearty – a contemporary range of 10 traditional and exotic snacking dried fruits with a strong emphasis on ‘No Added Sugar’, which was in direct response to the growing consumer demand for products with transparent labelling and purity of ingredients. The 70-100g bags are ideal for snacking on-the-go, keeping in work bags or gym bags or in the office desk drawer for a nutritional, handy snack during the busy working day. With wellness set to be paramount

for consumers in 2018, the Forest Feast Smart & Hearty packs tap directly into the no-added sugar trend, which is showing no signs of abating. No-added sugar is also directly linked to another big trend for this year; gut health. Figs and dates especially have long been cited as foods that help maintain a healthy gut, with figs containing prebiotics, which improve digestive health by supporting good bacteria in the gut. Sugary snacks and sweets promote the growth of bad bacteria in the gut, hampering the growth of the beneficial kind, basically providing an all-you-caneat buffet for the bad bacteria to feast on. No-added sugar snacks like Forest Feast Smart & Hearty address the demand for both foods that help promote good digestive health and maintain a low sugar intake.

QUORN PARTNERS WITH BEN FOGLE & JERMAIN DEFOE

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uorn, the delicious, nutritious protein source and the UK’s No.1 meat free brand*1 has partnered with Ben Fogle and Jermain Defoe to launch a short film showcasing how eating less and better meat is better for the health of consumers and the planet. The film forms part of Plate Up, a three-part series, which sees Ben go on a journey to discover how relevant eating less meat is to modern-day living, as people take more interest in how their lifestyle choices, including diet, impact on the environment. The first in a series of celebrity partnerships kicks off with Premier League star Jermain Defoe, focusing on the role protein plays in sport and how eating less meat has had a positive impact on his sporting performance. “Plate Up comes at a time when people are giving much more thought to the benefit of eating healthier, more sustainable food,” says Peter Harrison, marketing director at Quorn. “This forms part of a bigger picture in which retailers, suppliers and shoppers are all more aware of how the choices we make today, including diet,

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will impact on future generations.” Annual meat production emits more Greenhouse Gases each year than all the vehicles on earth put together*2 and a meat-based diet generates a carbon footprint that is 50% bigger than a plant based diet*3 but not everyone is aware of the impact our diets have on the environment. “When we say the word ‘environment’, we tend to think about car exhaust fumes and the ozone layer. We know that energy and transport are two causes of huge and damaging effects to our planet, but not everyone seems to realise the sheer impact of our diet choices too. We are eating far too much meat and with the population set to increase to 11bn by 2050, we need to reduce our meat consumption and eat more protein sources that have a low impact on the planet, now. “That is why we have partnered with Jermain, Ben and others. We want to help get the message out there that we all need to start considering the health of our planet as well as our own health, when it comes to the food we eat. It doesn’t require a radical shift in

our lifestyles at all. There are simple changes the whole family can make and by just eating less meat once a week, we can honestly start to make a big change. “We’re not asking everyone to give up meat entirely. But there are loads of tasty alternatives out there that can still give us the protein we need. If Jermain Defoe can go meat free and get picked for England, I reckon we can all afford a few more meat-free meals as part of our weekly dinners.” The activity forms part of Quorn’s £14m brand support package throughout 2018 and follows record sales growth of £19m in 2017.*1 *1 Kantar + IRI MAT Nov2017 *2 Chatham House, The Royal Institute of International Affairs, 2014; ‘Livestock – Climate Change’s Forgotten Sector: Global Public Opinion on Meat and Dairy Consumption’: *3 Peter Scarborough, ‘Dietary Greenhouse Gas Emissions of MeatEaters, Fish Eaters, Vegetarians and Vegans in the UK’; Climatic Change, DOI: 10.1007/s10584-014-1169-1


MINDFUL EATING

STRIKING A BALANCE BETWEEN HEALTH AND CONVENIENCE I

t’s been well reported that healthy eating is intrinsically linked to our overall mental health and well-being and having a good breakfast is an important part of being healthy. We’re told to eat more fibre and wholegrain foods, exercise more and cut down on heavily processed and sugary foods but, for many of us, time is all too often cited as a barrier to living and eating healthily. White’s has been milling porridge oats in Tandragee, Co Armagh since 1841 and so knows a thing or two about the mighty oat. Oats are a natural superfood, 100% wholegrain and an excellent source of soluble fibre, protein, vitamins and antioxidants. Naturally high in fibre with a low GI index, they keep us fuller for longer helping to avoid reaching for those sugary snacks. In response to evolving trends and changing consumer’s lifestyles, White’s has been actively developing its range of

porridge oats and oat based breakfast cereals. Its ActivOat High Protein and High Fibre Porridge is geared towards health conscious and active consumers who are seeking an extra boost of slow release energy from their breakfast. Both varieties are made from natural wholegrain oats, with no added sugar, are higher in fibre and lower in saturated fat than most cereal brands. Available in portion-controlled sachets, they can be cooked up in the microwave in two minutes. More recently White’s has launched two Organic Oat Mueslis- Four Seed Goodness and Fruit & Nut Goodness, targeted at those looking for a natural super boost to start their day. White’s sales of Organic Oats have grown 35% year on year* reflecting the growing shift in the market towards organic foods and the association between Organic and its health and natural credentials. Made

from over 30% of oats, the nutritional blend of wholegrain oats, fruit, seeds and nuts provide an energising balance of protein, natural sugars and healthy fats in every bowl. Both varieties are made with no added sugar, salt or anything artificial, are wheat free and suitable for vegans. ‘’Consumers are now choosing products which fit in with active and healthy lifestyles as they embrace the well-being trend, and that includes organic, wholegrain, and no added sugar foods, amongst others,” said Danielle Mc Bride, brand manager of White’s Oats. “Our range of porridge oats and oat cereals are focused on striking a balance between health and convenience and giving consumers trust so they can make well-informed nutritional choices’’. *Tesco NI sales of Organic Jumbo Oats, y/e Dec 2017

TIME AND CARE Time and care goes into creating the unique creamy taste of White’s Oats, which are naturally milled and 100% wholegrain

WWW.WHITESOATS.COM Whites UG 180mm x 130mm.indd 1

#TASTETHEJOURNEY 23/02/2018 16:58

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ADVERTORIAL

MAJORITY OF COCA-COLA HBC’S PORTFOLIO NOW CONSISTS OF LOW OR NO SUGAR DRINKS REFORMULATION PROGRAMME CONTINUES – RESPONDING TO THE CHANGING NEEDS OF CONSUMERS

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he Government’s new tax on sugar-sweetened soft drinks will come into effect on 6th April 2018, and thanks to Coca-Cola’s extensive reformulation of its drinks over the past two years, the majority of Coca-Cola HBC Ireland and Northern Ireland’s portfolio is exempt from the new tax. Across the island of Ireland, Coca-Cola HBC sells more low and no-sugar beverages than any other company. It also has the fastest growing non-sugar soft drinks portfolio in the market, driven by Coca-Cola Zero and Fanta Zero. This has been achieved through extensive reformulation of its portfolio to reduce sugar while retaining the same great taste. The company is also delivering against its commitment to increase availability and demand for its ‘zero’ sugar options. Since 2010, Coca-Cola has reduced sugar across its portfolio on the island of Ireland by approximately 13%, and currently more than 60% of the sales volume of its products contain less than 5g sugar/100ml. This work is part of ongoing efforts across the globe to respond to consumer needs and will also help to reduce the impact of the new government tax on sugar-sweetened drinks on retailers and consumers alike. Matthieu Seguin, general manager, Coca-Cola HBC Ireland and Northern Ireland, explains: “We know that our consumers want to manage their sugar intake and this has driven our approach to reformulation and new product development. We have consistently diversified our portfolio and reduced the sugar across our range, introducing great tasting zero sugar options. “The majority of the drinks we sell are now lower in sugar - except for the much-loved Coca-Cola Classic and some of our energy drinks and mixers, which remain unchanged. “In line with our ongoing ‘Hero Zero’ marketing strategy, we will also offer

greater value and choice across our ‘zero sugar’ options, which are exempt from the Government’s new tax on sugarsweetened soft drinks.” While the recipe for much-loved CocaCola Classic will remain unchanged and will be subject to the new tax, no sugar options in the Coca-Cola range, CocaCola Zero Sugar and Diet Coke, are not affected by the sugar-sweetened drinks tax. The no sugar colas currently make up more than 43% of all cola sales for the company. The company’s sparkling flavour range including Fanta and Sprite will also be tax exempt. Following initial reformulation of Fanta Orange in 2017, it will undergo further sugar reduction ahead of April 2018 to bring the sugar content below 5g per 100ml. Furthermore Sprite, which is already a mid-calorie drink, will move to zero sugar in Q1 2018. As the core Schweppes range continues to deliver growth in the category, all key variants will be reformulated to reduce sugar to less than 5g sugar per 100ml. The new lower sugar recipes for Tonic; Bitter Lemon; Elderflower; and Ginger Ale will ensure that they will be tax exempt, and affordable, across 1 litre (PET) bottles, 150ml cans and the new 4 x 200ml glass packs. Other changes include a move to fully zero sugar recipes for Coca-Cola Zero Cherry and Coca-Cola Zero Vanilla, and

the Oasis range is now low in sugar and calories. In 2018, all flavour extensions for Coca-Cola, Fanta and Sprite will be zero sugar variants, continuing the drive to encourage more consumers to try our zero sugar variants, while having a great tasting range of drinks to choose from. The business’s energy portfolio has also changed to ensure continued growth in the expanding zero segment. Coca-Cola HBC is the leader in lights for the energy category, with Monster Ultra driving the growth of the ‘zero sugar energy’ category overall. This will continue into 2018 with an extension of the zero offerings across the Monster range. This focus on reformulation and growth of ‘zero’ offerings has contributed to an overall 5% sugar reduction across our portfolio in the last year alone across the island of Ireland. Drinks available in the grocery channel which will be subject to the new tax include Coca-Cola Classic, Monster Original, Monster Ripper, Monster Rossi (The Doctor Edition) and BPM. Ahead of the introduction of this new sugar tax, the company will introduce a new pack line-up for the Coca-Cola range to ensure that consumers continue to have clear and simple choices when it comes to choosing the drinks they want to buy. Coca-Cola Classic will be available in smaller, more convenient pack sizes, while greater value will be offered across the no sugar cola range which is tax exempt. The new recommended sale prices (RSP) will reflect the spirit of the Government’s sugar sweetened drinks tax, with the tax applied in line with the defined rates for drinks with greater than 5g sugar per 100ml, and drinks with more than 8g of sugar per 100ml. However, as always, the on-shelf price of our products is at the discretion of our retail and wholesale partners.

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2788_Ulste


Choose no sugar, Choose better value The Government’s tax on sugar-sweetened soft drinks will come into effect from 6th April in Northern Ireland. As a direct result of this tax, the price per litre of Coca-Cola Classic and some of our energy drinks will increase from that date. However, low/no sugar options are not affected by the sugar-sweetened drinks tax.

By April 2018, more than 60% of our sales volume will be of products containing less than 5g of sugar per 100g

TAX EXEMPT

TAX APPLICABLE

Contact your local Coca-Cola HBC Market Developer or Customer Services on 1-800-317-318 for further details.

2788_Ulster Grocer 307x220 NI_Ad.indd 1

KNOW THE FACTS ABOUT THE SOFT DRINKS TAX.

20/02/2018 17:14


Smoky BBQ Chicken Fajitas • TOTAL TIME 15 MINUTES • SPICE LEVEL MILD • SERVINGS 4 • INGREDIENTS 5

These smokey BBQ Mexican fajitas combines the best of traditional Mexican cuisine with the rich smokey taste of the deep south. Made with sweet and smokey BBQ chicken with crunchy peppers & onions, these chicken fajitas are a hearty Mexican favourite enjoyed best with family and close friends. So dig in and get your hands dirty with these delicious chicken fajitas.

recipe...

INGREDIENTS • 1 Old El Paso™ Original Smoky BBQ Fajita Dinner Kit • 500 g juicy chicken breast • 1 Red pepper • 1 Green pepper • 1 Onion METHOD 1. Slice tender chicken breast, crunchy peppers and onion into thin strips. 2. Add a splash of oil to a sizzling hot pan and stirfry the chicken until thoroughly cooked. 3. Throw in the onion, peppers and smoky BBQ Fajita Spice Mix. 4. Sizzle away, stirring or tossing until the chicken is browned keeping the veg crunchy. 5. Warm the tortillas by piercing the packaging and microwave on full power for 35-40 seconds (cooking time may vary depending on microwave). To heat in the oven, remove packaging, separate tortillas and wrap in foil. Crank the oven to 200°C (180°C for fan assisted ovens), gas mark 4 and slide in the tortillas for 10 minutes. Keep them covered and warm until ready to serve. 6. Round up your amigos and load up the warm, soft tortillas with the smoky chicken and plenty of green and red pepper and enjoy this Mexican feast

10 Flush Park, Lisburn BT28 2DX, United Kingdom Contact us on: 028 9267 3316 e:info@robt-roberts.co.uk

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DRINKS NEWS

ST. JAMES’S GATE LAUNCHES NEW LIGHT IRISH LAGER D iageo unveiled a new light Irish lager, Rockshore, last month and will support the launch with a heavyweight through-the-line marketing campaign encompassing TV, outdoor, digital, PR and experiential activity from April. “We are absolutely delighted to introduce Rockshore - a light, refreshing tasting lager inspired by the West Coast of Ireland from our brewers here at St James’s Gate,” said Niki Maccorquodale, head of Beer Innovation, Diageo Europe. “Undoubtedly, one of the most captivating parts of Ireland, the West Coast is home from home for many of us. From weekend trips with mates, to the salty spray of the Atlantic sea, when the people, playlists and pit stops matter

more than anything else in the world, at that moment in time. “People are increasingly looking for choice, particularly among beers and lagers offering a refreshing and light taste. Brewed using only four quality ingredients, Rockshore is the best light tasting lager our brewers have ever created and we can’t wait for people to try it.” With an ABV of 4% and 106 calories per bottle, Rockshore Irish lager is being rolled out nationally, and will be available in pubs, bars, restaurants, off-licences, supermarkets and convenience stores throughout the country over the coming weeks.

LOCAL PRODUCERS TO EXHIBIT AT ALLTECH 2018 C raft brewers, cider producers and a leading gin distiller from Northern Ireland will be showcasing their products at the forthcoming Alltech 2018 exhibition in Dublin. The show, held at the city’s Convention Centre over March 8-11, is regarded as one of the most important in the craft brewing and distilling sector in Ireland with some 400 products from Ireland, the UK and further afield featured at the annual event. The Northern Ireland participants are: Station Works Brewery in Newry, producer of Foxe’s Rock beers, which is owned by Alltech; Mac Ivor’s Cider, Portadown; Tempted Cider, Lisburn; and Jawbox, Belfast. This year’s Fair will be the first in its six years of operation to feature a Distillers Quarter, serving the best craft spirits and cocktails created by leading mixologists. The area will have a cosy cocktail

BEERS TO BE NAMED AFTER DERRY GIRLS Walled City Brewery, one of Derry’s leading craft brewers, has created small batch beers from different ingredients and invited followers to name the unique brews after characters in the hit TV show Derry Girls. “Derry Girls has proved such a resounding success and has become extremely popular with people in the city and from further afield,” said James Huey, the master brewer who established Walled City Brewery in 2015. “It’s all a bit of fun and a great way to engage with beer enthusiasts who love what has become the most popular TV series from Derry.”

THE QUIET MAN MAKES NOISE IN INDIA The Quiet Man Irish Whiskey has won its first business in India, and is now on sale in 26 international markets. The whiskey, which has its headquarters in Derry, has signed up with Mumbai-based distributor Flipsydee to market its whiskey, including its award-winning 8-year single malt, throughout India. Flipsydee is an importer of a wide range of wine, beer and spirits brands from around the world. It is marketing The Quite Man as the first Irish single malt in India. The company provides end-to-end services across marketing and sales platforms and develops business growth solutions.

LOCAL GINS SET TO PROSPER IN GLOBAL MARKETS

lounge feel and visitors will have the opportunity to sample a range of tasty new infusions and combinations, some of which will have been developed exclusively for the Fair. A highlight of the event is the sixth annual Dublin Craft Beer and Cider Cup competitions. The contests allow craft brewers and cider makers to showcase their brews and have them rated, tasted and analysed by an expert, international panel of judges. Previous winners of the Dublin Cup have included Hilden Brewery.

Northern Irish distilleries could share in the benefits of a projected significant growth in exports of Irish gin in 2018. The Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland says 2018 will be the year Irish gin goes global, with more than 30 Irish gin brands now available on the market. Northern Ireland has five established craft gins: Shortcross, based at Rademon Craft Distillery in Crossgar; Jawbox and Belfast 1912, both based in the city; Boatyard at Enniskillen; and Echlinville in Kircubbin.

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ADVERTORIAL

A BREATH OF FRESH AIR FOR GREEN RETAILING Many retailers rely on compressed air solutions in their day-to-day operations, or further down their supply chain. With businesses under increasing pressure to boost their green credentials, these solutions are ideally placed to offer efficiency gains, says Gary Quinn, senior engineer at Team Air Power

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ompressed air solution providers have developed increasingly efficient equipment to address the challenges of global environmental issues. Yet these technologies can offer benefits beyond simply ‘going green’, improving performance and lifetime of the equipment and obviously cutting energy bills. Team Air Power and Energia make these technologies even more attractive to Northern Irish businesses by offering an exceptional ‘Cash for Kilowatts’ scheme. Grants vary between 20% to 50%, shortening the financial payback period of the initial investment. VARIABLE SPEED There are many technologies available to retailers looking to improve their compressor’s overall energy performance, such as variable speed drives. Now a common feature on many machines, this technology enables reduced energy costs by varying the capacity from between 30% to 100% to meet air demands. This variation is not possible with a fixed-speed compressor, which, if not suited to its application, can expend unnecessary energy and impact the operator’s bottom line. As well as being more energy-efficient, variable speed drives can offer a range of additional benefits, such as extended component life and accurate and repeatable pressure control, further improving a business’ sustainability credentials. ULTIMA AND ENERGY EFFICIENCY A good example of this technology’s benefits in action is Gardner Denver’s Ultima solution. A revolutionary, watercooled variable-speed compressor can offer up to 12% improved energy efficiency compared to conventional twostage machines. Ultima is 37% smaller 26

than standard screw compressors and is extremely quiet, which makes it easy to install at the point of use, eliminating the need for a compressor room. Ultima is also highly suited to food manufacturing environments. While it is possible to achieve high-quality air with oil-lubricated compressors, relying on filtration to protect products and equipment, Ultima’s oil-free design guarantees air purity and massively reduces contamination risks. ROBOX TECHNOLOGY Team Air Power can also offer the Robuschi Robox Energy screw blower, which combines an internal screw

“Team Air Power and Energia make these technologies even more attractive to Northern Irish businesses by offering an exceptional ‘Cash for Kilowatts’ scheme. Grants vary between 20-50%, shortening the financial payback period of the initial investment.”

compressor with a permanent magnet motor for further efficiency. This ‘Triple Impact’ design has three crucial benefits – 30% cost reduction through superior pump technology, 30% cost reduction through innovative control software, and a 30% reduction in space and footprint. Such design and efficiency were huge factors in the technology’s recent Environmental and Energy Efficiency award win at the Motion Control Industry Awards 2017. The award is given in recognition of a product which has made a significant contribution to environmental issues, such as energy savings, emissions control, noise reduction or life cycle costs. It’s worth to mention that Robox Energy is available in our ‘Try and Buy’ scheme! HEAT RECOVERY PROCESSES Cost-conscious operators should also consider heat recovery technology to ensure maximum energy performance. Indeed, with evidence proving that 94% of heat generated by a compressor can be recovered, it is clear that implementing heat recovery methods offers plenty of scope for businesses looking to improve energy efficiency and sustainability. Such methods include warm air recirculation from the compressor to a local area – more commonly known as space heating – or installing an energy recovery unit fitted to the oil circulation system. These units transfer heat from the system’s compressor to an incoming water supply, which can be utilised for other production site processes. These processes requiring hot water include hot water washing, central heating and steam systems, and can result in reduced energy loads and savings of up to 30% or more.

M s v r R

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REDUCE

+44 (0) 28 9448 8588


ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT

ENERGY EFFICIENCY AT HEART OF WILLOWBROOK’S NEW PRODUCTION FACILITY F

resh foods producer Willowbrook Foods has invested £700,000 in developing a state-of-the-art production facility in Newtownards, with the aim of doubling its production capacity of cooked, mashed and prepared vegetable products. Willowbrook has developed the site to enhance and increase its production capability, facilitate new product development and support its ambitious growth plans across Ireland and GB. The site, owned by Willowbrook for several years, has been completely modernised to incorporate blast chillers, steam boilers, floored drainage systems and technology to significantly boost efficiency and quality at production level. Through the new plant, the company seeks to more than double the output of its range of 20+ cooked vegetable products from 120 tonnes to 250 tonnes weekly. All production of Willowbrook’s cooked products has been moved to Newtownards from its existing Killinchy base, which remains the site of the company’s main offices, its Food Innovation Centre and production plant for salad and bagged continental lettuce

John McCann, MD of Willowbrook.

products. Willowbrook is exploring plans to redevelop its Killinchy site for further product innovation in the near future. “The new production facility in Newtownards marks a new chapter for the company,” said John McCann MBE, MD of Willowbrook Foods. “It will allow us to focus on product innovation and maximising growth opportunities in the retail, foodservice and food manufacturing sectors across the UK and Ireland. “Our prepared mashed vegetable products - potato, carrots, turnips, swede and parsnips, butternut squash and sweet potato – will be key during the year ahead, particularly within the foodservice

and catering sectors. “Willowbrook’s core priority is developing quality convenience projects which reflect trends in modern consumer eating habits. We have spent a lot of time fine-tuning a high-quality product which has been proving extremely popular with customers over the last 12 months and this continued growth has helped facilitate our recent reinvestment. “By sourcing the very best technology from across the globe, we are now well placed to offer tailored solutions for our various customer bases – from retailers to ready meal companies.” All production staff have moved from Willowbrook’s Killinchy base to the Newtownards site and a number of new employees are being recruited to bolster the production team. Willowbrook, which supplies prepared vegetables, bagged salads, salad bowls and meal accompaniments, recently secured €2.5m additional business in RoI for 2018 and is rolling out a targeted growth strategy, including the appointment of dedicated sales staff for Scotland, England and Ireland.

MAGHERAFELT FIRMS TO SHED LIGHT ON REDUCING ENERGY COSTS

Pictured are Michael Campbell, HSE Manager at Genesis Crafty; Charlene Jones, Group environmental & quality manager at Henry Brothers; Natasha Sayee, Senior lead public affairs specialist at SONI; and Christopher Morrow, head of Communications & Policy at NI Chamber.

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wo of Mid-Ulster’s top companies shed light on how they’ve reduced energy costs at an event organised by Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce (NI Chamber) and System Operator for 28

Northern Ireland (SONI) last month. Construction company Henry Brothers and artisan bakers Genesis Crafty, both based in Magherafelt, headlined the first Energy Forum of 2018 at the Glenavon

House Hotel in Cookstown, with a further three events set to take place before the end of the year. Charlene Jones, Group environmental & quality manager at Henry Brothers and Michael Campbell, HSE manager at Genesis Crafty, detailed how their respective companies have introduced innovative measures to reduce energy usage and therefore costs. With 2018 set to be a year of considerable change for Northern Ireland energy, attendees also heard from Richard Murphy, energy partner at Pinsent Masons and David Butler, head of engineering at SGN Natural Gas who provided an update on the Gas to the West Project – a major energy infrastructure project to extend the benefits of natural gas to thousands more homes and businesses in the west of Northern Ireland.


EASTER CONFECTIONERY & BISCUITS

FINSBURY FOOD GROUP RE-LAUNCHES THORNTONS CELEBRATION CAKE RANGE

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insbury Food Group is relaunching its range of Thorntons celebrations cakes, introducing four new products to build upon its position as the leading producer of premium celebration cakes in the market. Bolstering its status as an innovative cake manufacturer, Finsbury Food Group has created four new products that contemporise the range in line with consumer trends and the wider Thorntons brand positioning. The new additions are in a range of sizes and feature new flavours and ingredients to ensure there’s a cake for every occasion. The refreshed range will include the first strawberry flavoured cake, recreating one of the most popular flavours in the Thorntons confectionery line in indulgent cake form. The range will also include an Ultimately Indulgent Chocolate and Toffee Layer Cake, visually

spectacular and made up of layers of rich chocolate and toffee sponges. Finsbury’s consumer research identified an ongoing trend amongst consumers to be given the option to put their own finish on a cake. The new additions to the Finsbury Thorntons cake range are Triple Layer Chocolate Celebration Cake, Toffee Cake, Ultimately Indulgent Chocolate and Toffee Layer Cake and Strawberry Dream Cake. The new range aligns Finsbury’s cake range with Ferrero’s wider ambitions for the Thorntons brand. The brand owner has spent £6m over the last 12 months to relaunch the Thorntons brand and is now embarking upon further activity with the aim of seeing it become the UK’s most loved confectionery brand. Finsbury Food Group has been a trusted partner of Thorntons for 18 years and has successfully extended the range to now include gift cakes and sharing tubs. The new Thorntons celebration cakes are available in supermarkets from the end of February.

FINSBURY INVESTS IN NEW LAUNCHES FOR EASTER BY DARYL NEWLANDS, MARKETING MANAGER AT FINSBURY FOOD GROUP

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aster is the first big occasion after Christmas, where people get together for a party or special occasion that will revolve around food. At Finsbury Food Group, we make a wide range of own label, licensed and branded cakes and at Easter see our Thorntons cake brand perform particularly strongly as consumers opt for the high quality and indulgent flavours that they know and trust. At Finsbury, we continue to see the celebration cake market grow, and this is particularly evident at Easter time as this format of cake is perfect for catering for larger groups. The Thorntons celebration cakes also prove popular at Easter as their hand-finished, high-quality look ensures they can act as a table centerpiece and additionally, they require no preparation and very little tidying up. As Easter is another occasion where chocolate and sweet treats play a big role, there are many consumers that want sweet treats but want to try and keep a good balance by opting for smaller portions. In 2017, Thorntons was the main driver behind the 21% YoY Easter cakes bites growth. Most of this growth was delivered through the addition of our Easter Caramel Shortcake bites, which performed well due to our innovative idea to take the much-loved Thorntons products and give them an Easter twist with seasonal decorations. This year were bringing back the popular Thorntons Chocolate Orange Cake bites. We are also producing an Easter edition of our best-selling Thorntons Caramel Shortcake that is decorated with a fun Easter-themed design – perfect for sharing or satisfying those looking for a smaller portion.

BETTYS LAUNCHES ITS NEW EASTER CATALOGUE B

ettys, which boldly claims to make the most beautiful eggs you can buy at Easter, has launched its new customer catalogue featuring eggs, cakes, biscuits, chocolates, novelties, giftboxes and hampers.

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EASTER CONFECTIONERY & BISCUITS

SPOTLIGHT ON CHOCOLATE CONFECTIONERY - 10 INNOVATIVE PRODUCTS FROM AROUND THE WORLD BRIAN O’CONNOR, SENIOR CONSUMER ANALYST AT MINTEL, TAKES A LOOK AT THE KEY CONSUMER TRENDS SHAPING THE CHOCOLATE CONFECTIONERY MARKET AND THE LATEST IN PRODUCT INNOVATION

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s Easter approaches, chocolate confectionery is once again in the spotlight. In Ireland, concerns over sugar are putting pressure on sales, as consumers limit their consumption of chocolate and switch to better-for-you (BFY) alternatives. However, with Irish consumers noting that the emotional benefits of chocolate are important to them, there is scope for brands to put a greater emphasis on smaller-portion formats, positioning chocolate as a treat that can be enjoyed in moderation and as part of a balanced diet. PERMISSIBLE INDULGENCE This describes the ways that consumers justify their decision to indulge in ‘not especially good for you’ products. Depending on the occasion, permissible indulgence can refer to the decision to eat a small portion of an indulgent product. But, at other times, consumers consider their consumption of a larger (regular) portion of a BFY product in the same category to be permissible. For example, a consumer may sometimes consider it permissible to indulge in a small portion of an extremely rich and decadent chocolate confectionery - hence the growth of bite and thin formats. But at other times, the consumer may opt instead to indulge in a regular serving of BFY chocolate such as a sugar and dairy-free bar or a supergrain-enriched chocolate tablet.

KEY CONSUMER TRENDS: ChokABlok, Titchy Jelly Bean Egg - UK: This thick Belgian milk chocolate egg with a puddle of lime flavour chocolate, crammed with tangy jelly beans and popping candy. As described in Mintel’s 2018 Global Food & Drink Trend ‘New Sensations’, the sound, feel and satisfaction that texture provides is becoming more important for food and drink companies and consumers alike. Fujiya Wine To Tanoshimu Look Carré, Rich Cheese Chocolate - Japan: Unexpected flavours provide new eating experiences. This Japanese chocolate contains cheddar cheese and freeze-dried cheese, and is suggested to be paired with white wine.

iChoc Expedition, Jungle Bites Organic Dark Chocolate - Finland: As consumers look for permissible indulgence, launches of chocolate products described as “bites” have grown 50% over the past five years, according to Mintel’s Global New Products Database. These vegan bites from Finland, sweetened with coconut blossom sugar, contain tiger nuts and cocoa nibs.

Ritter Sport, Lemon Wafer White Chocolate - Germany: Now available for the spring season of 2018, this white chocolate tablet is filled with skimmed milk yogurt lemon cream and wafer with a lemon cream filling. Seasonal, limited-edition launches can capture the attention of shoppers and tempt them to try new products. Tesco Finest, Gin and Elderflower Egg - UK: This product is described as a combination of intense dark chocolate and milk chocolate infused with aromatic gin and elderflower flavour. Six creamy truffles are also included in the box.

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EASTER CONFECTIONERY & BISCUITS

Magnum, Double Chocolate Bar Italy: Magnum is branching out from their signature ice cream to chocolate confectionery. The bar is made with layers of Magnum chocolate and an indulgent chocolate caramel filling, crispy wafers and butterscotch pieces.

Purdys Chocolatier, Toasted Buckwheat Bar - Canada: Grains have been receiving considerable attention globally as an ingredient in chocolate confectionery, but they are yet to make a major splash in terms of product innovation. This white chocolate bar with a mellow, creamy caramel taste, is studded with toasted buckwheat and Himalayan pink salt.

M&M’s, Triple Chocolate Candies USA: For chocoholics only, these new M&M’s launched for Valentine’s Day feature a milk chocolate centre surrounded by layers of white and dark chocolate. Bounty, Milk Chocolate Coconut Protein Bar - Germany: The high protein trend is proving to be much more than a fad, with new launches continuing unabated. Traditionally indulgent categories like chocolate are finding growth opportunities in high protein offerings, which add a layer of permissibility. Here a classic Bounty bar is enriched with protein and it contains 19g of it. Taza Chocolate, Dark Bark Pumpkin Seed Chocolate Snacking Thins - USA: This vegan chocolate is free from dairy, soy, gluten and GMO, and is organic and kosher certified. It’s made with crispy, protein-packed puffed quinoa and topped off with crunchy toasted pumpkin, making a healthy anytime treat.

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 how Mintel can help your business, contact Ciara Rafferty, director Mintel Ireland on 028 9024 1849 or crafferty@mintel.com. 31


IFEX 2018 PREVIEW

IFEX 2018 OPENS FOR BUSINESS James Richardson, DARD IFEX Chef of the Year 2016

IFEX 2018 OPENING HOURS

Tuesday, March 20: 10am–6pm Wednesday, March 21: 10am–6pm Thursday, March 22: 10am–4pm

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FEX, Northern Ireland’s premier food, drink, retail and hospitality event will open its doors on Tuesday, March 20 and the event will run until Thursday, March 22 at the Titanic Exhibition Centre, Belfast. As a biennial event, IFEX 2018 is the only chance within the next two years for buyers to meet with over 200 suppliers and manufacturers, watch hundreds of chefs compete, and network with thousands of industry colleagues, as the next IFEX isn’t until 2020! IS IFEX FOR YOU? “With an exciting mix of exhibitors, hundreds of talented chefs and live competitions, if you’re a stakeholder in the food, drink, retail and hospitality industries, IFEX is a show not to be missed,” said Caroline McCusker, IFEX event manager. “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 32

growing the show, and the addition of Meat@IFEX is really exciting for all those in the industry. “We’re set to welcome thousands of visitors over the three days, who will uncover new products and solutions that will help their business moving forward.” According to visitors, keeping up to date with changes in the industry and browsing for new ideas and products are the top reasons for visiting IFEX. At the 2018 show, there’s set to be a record number of new products and services from 200-plus exhibitors. Long-standing show exhibitors have continued to support the event as well as many companies exhibiting for the first time at IFEX. Show stalwarts, including Stephens Catering Equipment, Flogas, Lynas Foodservice and Bunzl McLaughlin, will have an unmissable presence. One of Ireland’s largest non-food catering suppliers to the hospitality and food industries, Stephens Catering

Equipment will be providing all the major catering equipment chefs will use during the ChefSkills Street Food International, and the World Butchers’ Challenge, as well as showcasing some of their latest products to hit the market. “IFEX is a tremendous show, and one which we’ve been supporting as a business for many years,” said Paul Caves, managing director of Stephen’s Catering Equipment. “It’s a melting pot for all of those within the food and hospitality industries and ChefSkills is where the future of our hospitality industry first takes to the stage. “At IFEX 2018, we’ll be exhibiting the latest labour and energy saving and most innovative pieces of equipment that are now available for retail and hospitality businesses. We’re looking forward to an extremely busy three days.” New names are a welcome addition to the show and attending for the first time are Musgrave MarketPlace and Uniformal. “We’re a company that’s continually innovating and at IFEX, we are very much looking forward to showcasing our range and expertise to the key stakeholders in the Northern Ireland hospitality industry,” said Desi Derby, marketing director, Musgrave MarketPlace. “We have three MarketPlace sites in Northern Ireland including Derry-Londonderry, Lurgan and our newly refurbished, Food Emporium in Duncrue, Belfast, so we’re looking forward to seeing some of our current customers and meeting many new ones at IFEX.” 10 REASONS TO VISIT IFEX IN 2018 1. Be inspired 2. Source new products 3. Find solutions for your business 4. Meet 100s of key suppliers 5. Network and create new business opportunities 6. Be amongst the first to witness the next culinary stars of the future 7. Sample thousands of products 8. Watch live cookery demonstrations 9. Visit the Great Taste Market 10. Check out the latest trends and exciting industry innovations Advance registration is free via the website: www.IFEXexhibition.co.uk. Follow IFEX on twitter @IFEX_NI or via Facebook.com/IfexBelfast or join the IFEX NI Group on LinkedIn.


IFEX 2018 PREVIEW

IRISH PRESIDENT MEETS TEAM IRELAND AHEAD OF WORLD BUTCHERS’ CHALLENGE IN BELFAST Pictured are Eamon Etherson of Etherson’s Family Butchers, Portrush; Team Ireland Captain Garrett Landers of Garrett’s Butchers in Limerick; Team Ireland Vice Captain Ian McKernaghan of Lisdergan Meats, Fintona; President Michael D. Higgins; Colly Donnelly of J. MacMahon’s Butchers, Cookstown; Stephen Millar of Millar Meats, Irvinestown; and Stephen Cooke, of Garrett’s Butchers in Limerick.

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rish President Michael D. Higgins has met with the top butchers representing Ireland at this year’s World Butchers’ Challenge - including four from Northern Ireland - ahead of the world-class competition taking place at the Titanic Exhibition Centre over March 20–21. Selected to be part of Team Ireland are Eamon Etherson of Etherson’s Family Butchers, Portrush; Ian McKernaghan of Lisdergan Meats, Fintona; Colly Donnelly of J. MacMahon’s Butchers, Cookstown; Stephen Millar of Millar Meats, Irvinestown; and Garrett Landers and Stephen Cooke, of Garrett’s Butchers in

Limerick. Headed up by Rhonda Montgomery from Ballygawley, CEO of Butchery Excellence International, Team Ireland was welcomed to a presidential reception attended by over 50 delegates including Team Ireland sponsors Kerry Group, McDonnells Queen Street and Spice O’Life. “It was a great honour to travel with Team Ireland to Áras an Uachtaráin and meet with the president of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins,” said Montgomery. “What an incredible opportunity for the whole team to step back from the

months of preparation and training, and to receive formal acknowledgement ahead of representing their country at the World Butchers’ Challenge 2018. “The competition taking place at Meat@IFEX will allow our butchers to demonstrate their extraordinary skills and knowledge, and indeed for Northern Ireland and Ireland, to showcase the quality of our produce on a World Stage. The competition will be tough with the international teams eager to showcase their own skills, but I am very confident in Team Ireland, as individually, each butcher brings a new skill to the table.” The World Butchers’ Challenge 2018 which will take place during Meat@ IFEX – an adjoining event to IFEX, Northern Ireland’s premier food, drink, retail and hospitality event - is set to be the biggest yet, with Team Ireland competing against squads from 11 other countries in the hopes of being named ‘Best Butchers in the World’. Visited by thousands of people from the foodservice and hospitality sectors, the show will be expanding its visitor base, with the World Butchers’ Challenge expected to attract over 250 butchers from around the globe. Meat@IFEX 2018 is taking place from March 20-22 at the Titanic Exhibition Centre, Belfast. Running alongside IFEX, next year’s show is set to be THE Industry event for 2018. To attend, register for a ticket at meatatIFEX.co.uk.

JOHNSONS COFFEE TO INTRODUCE NEW SINGLE ORIGIN COFFEE RANGE AT IFEX 2018

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ohnsons Coffee is inviting all customers, suppliers and friends to visit stand B12 in the Titanic Exhibition Centre, Belfast over March 20-22, where the supplier will be re-creating a famous Italian cafe, as well as introducing a superb new range of single origin coffees from around the world. The single origin coffees include Rwanda Rutonde Kinini Washed, Nicaraguan Finca Rancho Alegre Las Nubes, El Salvador Finca El Ingenio Urrutias and Mexico Terunu Nayarita SHG. There will also be an opportunity to try the new range, and other great coffee options, at the Cuppa Joe’s Espresso Bar. 33


AGRI-FOOD NEWS

LACPATRICK OPENS NEW £30M DAIRY TECHNOLOGY CENTRE

Pictured are, from left, Mark Canning, corporate acquisition manager at Danske Bank and Gabriel D’Arcy, chief executive of LacPatrick.

DAERA MUST BACK LIVE EXPORTS Ulster Farmers’ Union President Barclay Bell says DAERA must follow the lead of the Scottish government and publically back the live export trade. The comments were made following Scottish Rural Affairs Secretary Fergus Ewing’s statement that the Scottish government will defend the interests of Scottish agriculture by opposing proposals to ban live exports. In Northern Ireland, the farming industry is heavily reliant on the free movement of livestock both within the UK and also to other EU member states. Bell said, without this trade, farmers will undoubtedly be worse off.

NEW FARMERS’ MARKET SAFETY GUIDE PUBLISHED NFU Mutual has published a safety guide for any businesses thinking about selling at farmers’ markets. Those making their first forays into selling directly to customers have some important health and safety concerns to consider. Keeping staff and the public safe must be a priority, which is why carrying out a risk assessment, both before and reassessing during the market, is vital. The guide covers areas such as transport, fire hazards, manual handling, market stalls and food safety. NFU Mutual Risk Management Services’ in-house consultants can provide additional support.

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acPatrick has unveiled a new Dairy Technology Centre in Artigarvan, following a £30m investment supported by Danske Bank which created over 20 new jobs. LacPatrick was formed in 2015 after a merger between Town of Monaghan CoOperative and Ballyrashane Co-Operative. The Artigarvan site currently employs 70 staff, with LacPatrick Dairies employing

over 300 staff across all of its sites. The new 30,000-square-foot centre will double the site’s capacity, making LacPatrick one of the biggest producers of dairy products in the UK. It represents one of the single biggest investments in the Northern Ireland dairy industry in recent years. “The new dairy technology centre at Artigarvan will provide security of capacity for local dairy farmers producing milk to the highest standards,” said Gabriel D’Arcy, chief executive of LacPatrick. “The plant provides long-term security to our supplier base and positions the business at the forefront of global dairy technologies. We are now able to produce two new lines of milk powder for international markets with the dairy technology centre able to process milk all year round. “The 20 new roles are in areas such as operations, quality, environmental and health & safety. As new product development continues to be a priority, we see excellent opportunities for ambitious food science graduates in the coming years.” As an exporter, LacPatrick will be closely monitoring the Brexit trading agreements being negotiated by the UK.

LOCAL AGRI-FOOD SECTOR ENCOURAGED TO TRACK TRENDS “T

hrough the use of consumer insight, agri-food companies in Northern Ireland can create great products but, unless they adhere to consumer concerns, those products will never become successful brands.” This was just one piece of advice given by Mintel’s Brian O’Connor to an audience of Northern Ireland’s leading food industry representatives at the Ulster University Dr Lynsey Hollywood from Ulster University is pictured Business School’s Agri-Food Business with Mintel’s Brian O’Connor. Development Centre’s first event of 2018. “There are five key areas of great importance to consumers which the food industry ignores at its peril,” said O’Connor, Mintel Ireland’s senior consumer analyst and research production manager. “Nutritional information, ingredients, claims, clean label and sustainability form the core attributes which brands must communicate to consumers in order to stay ahead of the game. “Mintel’s evidence-based research examines each of these areas highlighting what a ‘successful brand’ looks like with the aim of inspiring companies to innovate.” The Agri-Food Business Development Centre was set up by Ulster University Business School in May 2017 to offer specialist teaching on aspects of agri-food business and engage with industry and policy-makers to provide businesses with educational offerings and evidence informed research to help improve the competitive position of the NI agri-food industry. The Mintel-led event was the first of the series of bespoke agri-food information sessions planned for this year.


EXPORT NEWS

LOCAL ROASTER TO DEVELOP COFFEE SHOPS IN CHINA T

he first in a planned network of highend coffee shops in China supplied by Pure Roast Coffee in Lisburn has just opened in a major shopping mall in Shanghai. A second shop is scheduled to open its doors in Hangzhou within the next few months. The Pure Coffee-branded coffee shops are the outcome of a business partnership between Pure Roast Coffee and Shenzen-based China Resources, a Fortune 500 company and one of China’s biggest business groups. The state-owned enterprise, which owns Ole Supermarkets, has around 5,000 stores throughout China and Hong Kong. The business relationship has recently been extended by the Chinese company taking an equity holding in Pure Roast Coffee and the formation of an equity joint venture to develop the coffee business across China. Led by Managing Director Martin Symington, Pure Roast Coffee has flourished in partnership with some of the UK’s largest coffee operators and online retailers, while picking up AA accreditation with BRC and 14 Great

Pictured are, from left, Martin Symington, managing director of Pure Roast Coffee in Lisburn and William Wong of China Resources, Shenzen.

Taste awards. Pure Roast Coffee, which has its coffee roasting plant in Northern Ireland, is supplying premium coffee and also providing expert advice in the development of the coffee shops throughout China Resources’ network of Ole supermarkets specialising in the sale of western products. It employs 10 people in Lisburn, and a further 10 in an associated company in England.

CAVANAGH FREE RANGE EGGS TARGETS BRITAIN

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avanagh Free Range Eggs is stepping up its marketing activities in Britain, a key market for the farm-based enterprise. The company, based on a family farm near Newtownbutler, has just completed an expansion plan to grow its operation to 60,000 birds in six flocks. Owned and run by husband and wife team John and Eileen Hall, Cavanagh is implementing a new marketing strategy to grow existing business in particular

with major retailers and foodservice operations in Britain. “We’ve now completed our planned expansion of the flocks and are in position to follow up approaches we’ve had from interested customers especially in Great Britain,” said Eileen Hall. “We were reluctant to engage with these until we had expanded the flocks. “We’ll now be following up these approaches to turn the inquiries we’ve had into firm business. We are confident that we have outstandingly tasty freerange eggs that customers in Britain will enjoy.” Cavanagh Free Range Eggs was established in March 2012 by the couple, a decade after they first began producing free range eggs on the farm. The brand is found at high-end delis in Northern Ireland, shops along the border counties between Northern Ireland and the Republic and in Scotland.

GLASTRY WINS FIRST SALES IN MIDDLE EAST

Glastry Farm has won its first business in the Middle East, supplying its premium ice-cream to Pure UAE, an established and successful food business in Abu Dhabi, for distribution to retailers and foodservice outlets throughout the Emirates. The deal was announced at Gulfood in Dubai following a visit by Pure UAE to Northern Ireland organised by Invest NI, and represents the Kircubbin-based producer’s first export success in the Middle East. The company uses fresh milk from the farm’s award-winning Holstein/ Jersey herd in the production of more than 20 ice-cream flavours and low-fat sorbets.

LUXURY GRANOLA DESTINED FOR FRANCE

Just Live a Little has won business with French retail chain Auchan, among the world’s biggest retailers. The Portaferry-based company is supplying two of its artisan granola products, Whole Almond and Cranberry and Cashew, to 100 Auchan supermarkets across the country. Just Live a Little was established by husband and wife team David and Jill Crawford in 2011, and has since become one of Northern Ireland’s most innovative food businesses and a very successful exporter. It has developed a successful portfolio of breakfast granolas and snack bars for UK retailers and international supermarkets.

GRAHAM’S BAKERY WINS NEW EXPORT SALES Graham’s Bakery has won new business in the US, France and Spain for its traditional Irish biscuits. The new export customers secured by the bakery, based in Dromore, include Spain’s El Corte Ingles, Mariano’s in Chicago and Smart and Final in Los Angeles. The bakery’s Traditional Irish Oat Cookies and Irish Butter Shortbread products have become a major export success for the small business, and led to the bakery extending the range of oat-based cookies to include Cranberry & Yogurt and Dark Chocolate & Ginger flavours.

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MARKETING NEWS MORELLI’S LAUNCHES NEW RETAIL TUBS Italian ice cream brand Morelli’s has launched a new range of retail packaging to meet growing demand from consumers to enjoy its famous ice cream at home. The new and convenient 950ml tub range includes its award-winning Double Cream Vanilla, Honeycomb, Raspberry Ripple and Sea Salted Caramel flavours, with Tesco Northern Ireland 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.

FLAHAVAN’S LAUNCHES NEW TV AND RADIO CAMPAIGN Flahavan’s has returned to screens and airwaves with a new TV and radio campaign, including its first TV commercial to be filmed at the Flahavan’s Mill in Kilmacthomas, Co Waterford. The new campaign, Not Your Run of The Mill Oats, highlights the quality of Flahavan’s porridge and its distinctive rich creamy taste versus other oat products on the market. The commercial is delivered in a tonguein-cheek style to showcase what is different about Flahavan’s unique milling techniques, which have been continually refined and upgraded through seven generations of the Flahavan family.

DONNELLY GROUP SUPPORTS TOMMY BOWE DINNER Ulster Rugby legend Tommy Bowe will take centre stage at a Celebration of Sport Dinner organised by Dungannon RFC and Dungannon Swifts FC in Armagh City Hotel on May 26. The prestigious black-tie event, which is being supported by the Donnelly Group, will see Bowe joined by former British Lions, Irish and Ulster team mate Stephen Ferris along with Northern Ireland footballing greats Pat Jennings and Keith Gillespie for a Q&A facilitated by local TV pundit, Adrian Logan. The event marks the first time the two Dungannon sports clubs have collaborated to celebrate the sporting achievements of both.

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FREE’IST INVESTS £250,000 IN GROWTH STRATEGY N orthern Ireland-based sugar free food company Free’ist has invested £250,000 in a complete rebrand and supporting growth strategy, aimed at doubling its business within the next two years. Based in Belfast, Free’ist launched its range of products in 2013 in response to growing demand for sugar free and no added sugar snacks. Since then, the company has expanded its range to include chocolate bars, cookies, popcorn and marshmallows, stocked in many of the major retailers and health food stores across Ireland and the UK. As part of the recent reinvestment, Free’ist has completely transformed its brand identity and packaging, developed innovative new product lines, launched a new e-commerce website and recruited additional sales resource to drive the business at retail level. “We have ambitious plans for Free’ist throughout 2018 and beyond,” said Gerard McAdorey, managing director, Free’ist. “Since launching four years

Pictured are Steve McDonagh, marketing co-ordinator, and Gerard McAdorey, managing director of Free’ist.

ago, the ‘free from’ market has grown significantly. Consumers are more aware of sugar content than ever and we continue to witness a rise in people seeking out sugar free snack options by way of choice, rather than other reasons such as an existing medical condition. “The demand for this type of product in a convenient format has also increased and as such we have introduced a 30g impulse chocolate bar range, which will be available within food-to-go outlets, vending machines and retail checkout points.” Free’ist currently exports its products to international markets including Spain and the UAE.

DALE FARM SPONSORS NI’S PREMIER HEALTH & FITNESS EVENT D ale Farm is sponsoring Northern Ireland’s new health, fitness and wellness event, the niFITNESS Show, which will feature a star-studded line-up of fitness experts including The Body Coach Joe Wicks and Results with Lucy’s Lucy Mecklenburgh at the Titanic Exhibition Centre over April 7-8. niFITNESS will bring together worldclass experts and brands in fitness, mental health and nutrition with live demos, all-day exercise classes and Q&A sessions, with a focus on food, body, lifestyle and mind. “Dale Farm is delighted to team-up with the niFITNESS Show as title sponsor

of its first ever exhibition in Northern Pictured are, from left, Ireland,” niFITNESS ambassadors Cool FM’s Paulo Ross said Caroline and Rebecca McKinney Martin, head alongside Laura Short, AJS Promotions and Carla of Marketing, Brogan from Dale Farm. Dale Farm. “As one of the UK’s leading dairy companies, we place a huge amount of importance on the wellbeing of our customers, colleagues and the communities we live and work in. “We are passionate about encouraging healthy living, which is why we are committed to playing an active role in both professional, and grassroots sports, as well as supporting great initiatives such as this. Like Dale Farm, the show caters for everyone in the family – from regular gym goers to those at the start of their fitness journey.”


BUSINESS NEWS

LOCAL RETAILER TALKS EMPLOYMENT LAW Gavan Wall

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rotection money payments, robberies and the inevitable theft of stock and money, and how to survive them, are just some of the topics discussed during a candid podcast interview with local retail entrepreneur Gavan Wall. Wall was taking part in a new Barry Phillips Meets… podcast series, in which the chairman of Antrim-based LegalIsland helps HR professionals understand employment law and

how it applies to their workplace. North Belfast-based Gavan Wall was a successful criminal defence barrister for many years but, in 2008, a 10-minute encounter with HMRC dramatically changed his career path and prompted him to become a retail entrepreneur. HMRC was poised to remove petrol pumps from a site owned by Wall as the tenant had been selling illegal fuel, and Wall made an instant decision to take over operation of the site himself. Now celebrating his first decade in business, he owns five SPAR stores, four Subway outlets and a YoggieBerrie store (coffee house and ice cream business) in North Belfast, employing over 150 employees. “I knew in my heart that I didn’t want to practice law for the rest of my life and was intrigued by the infinite opportunities that the business world could offer,” he said. “I made a quick decision that this was the business opportunity I’d been waiting for and advised I would terminate his lease and be trading the next day if they reinstalled the pumps.” To listen to his interview, visit www.NIpodcasts.com.

GROCERYAID TARGETS MPS WITH AWARENESS DRIVE

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roceryAid and industry supporters recently took residence at the Houses of Parliament, inviting MPs from across the UK to find out more about the industry charity and the support it can provide to those who are working or have worked in grocery. “In every parliamentary constituency, there are people in need whose connection to a food manufacturer, wholesaler or grocery store entitles them to the help and advice provided by GroceryAid,” said James Bielby, CEO of the Federation of Wholesale Distributors, which sponsored the event. Pictured are Mandi Leonard, GroceryAid welfare director, and Owen Paterson, “However, many potential beneficiaries may not MP for North Shropshire. be aware of the counselling and financial support available to them.”

Ruston Smith, chair of GroceryAid Trustees, highlighted the key ways GroceryAid can support those in need, including various modes of financial support and emotional assistance through the 24/7 confidential Helpline. Smith also shared insight on the increased strains on the industry and GroceryAid, with the charity “last year seeing an 85% rise in crisis grants, with 90% of working age” and a general “30% increase in applications year on year”. GroceryAid is encouraging supporters to continue the momentum by writing to their local MP to highlight the services offered by the charity. For more information, visit https://www.groceryaid.org. uk/news/groceryaid-take-parliament/.

BREXIT CHALLENGES HIGHLIGHTED BY IRISH MINISTER AT NI CHAMBER EVENT

Pictured are, from left, Mark Ennis, non-executive chairman at SSE; Heather Humphreys, Irish Business, Enterprise, and Innovation minister; Ellvena Graham, president of NI Chamber; and Ann McGregor, chief executive of NI Chamber.

H

eather Humphreys, Ireland’s minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, has met with representatives from a range of businesses in Northern

Ireland to discuss cross-border trade and Brexit, hosted by NI Chamber and SSE Belfast. Minister Humphreys has responsibility for enterprise policy, trade, investment and research & development, and is leading efforts to help Irish companies prepare for and address the challenges associated with the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. “Coming from the border area, and having worked in financial services in border towns, I understand how

important cross-border commerce really is,” she said. “It’s not only about our respective economies; it’s also about supporting families, sustaining communities and working together to promote the region as an attractive place to do business.” The Minister also highlighted the important contribution made by InterTradeIreland, a cross-border enterprise body co-funded by both jurisdictions, to improve the economies on both sides of the border. 37


APPOINTMENTS

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

FANE VALLEY CEO APPOINTED AS NEW CBI NI CHAIR

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Pictured are, from left, Trevor Lockhart, chair of CBI Northern Ireland; Angela McGowan, CBI director for Northern Ireland; Paul Drechsler, president of CBI; and Gareth Planck, partner at Eversheds.

BI President Paul Drechsler has visited Belfast to welcome Trevor Lockhart, chief executive of Fane Valley Cooperative, as the new chair of CBI Northern Ireland. Lockhart assumed his official duties as CBI NI chair at a dinner event held at the Culloden Hotel, replacing David Gavaghan, founder of Aurora Prime Real Estate, who served as chair since January 2016. “Trevor is a real leader both within the agri-food sector and across the NI business community,” said Drechsler. “He has extensive experience of working

with partners across the UK, Europe and the island of Ireland and I know that this expertise will be a huge asset to the organisation as we progress with crucial Brexit negotiations.” Lockhart said: “As chair of CBI Northern Ireland, I don’t just want to focus on Brexit ­we also need to address some of the fundamental challenges facing the Northern Irish economy. Access to skills, support for higher and further education, energy and waste policy, innovation and driving productivity ­these are all essential to laying the foundations for a prosperous Northern Ireland.”

AA CATTLE SOCIETY NAMES NEW PRESIDENT AND CEO Angela McGregor

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ngela McGregor of Whiterashes in Aberdeen has stepped into the role of president at the Aberdeen-Angus Cattle Society, replacing outgoing President Alex Sanger of Rosemount Farms in Montrose. Having previously held the position of senior vice president, McGregor will hold the role of president for a 12-month tenure. Paul Jeenes of Grandon Manor Farm in Somerset will take up the role of senior vice president, with his former position of Junior Vice President being filled by Alan Cheney of Co Tyrone in Northern Ireland. Barrie Turner has, meanwhile, been appointed as chief executive of the Society, entering a role which has been vacant since the end of February 2017. Turner’s most recent role was international sales manager for the snacks division at Pasta Foods.

GROCERYAID WELCOMES NEW MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER

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roceryAid has appointed Helen Kershaw as marketing communications manager, to play a crucial role in the implementation of GroceryAid’s awareness strategy as the charity aims to extend its reach to those needing assistance while meeting increased fundraising demands. Kershaw is returning to the not-for-profit sector, an industry where she started her career at the Meat & Livestock Commission. Since then, she has fulfilled a number of marketing and communications roles, with extensive experience in the grocery industry including French cheese company Bongrain, low-calorie sweetener Candere and Fox’s Biscuits. “As our industry changes fast, the need to communicate with those in need of support is more crucial than ever,” said Steve Barnes, chief executive of GroceryAid. “The appointment of Helen is a key one for GroceryAid as we step change awareness throughout the industry.”

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

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Helen Kershaw


SHELFLIFE

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GLASTRY FARM ADDS A NEW LEMON MERINGUE FLAVOUR

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ocal luxury ice-cream maker Glastry Farm has added a lemon meringue flavour to its successful portfolio of ice cream and sorbets. “We’ve been working on the lemon meringue ice cream for many months,” said Will Taylor, managing director of Glastry Farm. “The first version of this product was created as a project of a Food Technology student at Loughry College Innovation Centre in Cookstown.

“The idea of a ‘Citrus Crunch’ flavour was introduced, incorporating lemon flavoured ice cream and homemade meringue pieces. The flavours delightfully complemented each other. There was, however, a scientific issue of the meringue dissolving into the ice cream when the product was frozen. The overall flavour was a resounding success with our focus group. “With such brilliant feedback about the taste and creamy texture of the product,

FRONERI CREATES THREE NEW FLAVOURS FOR GREEN & BLACK’S

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roneri, the UK’s second largest ice cream manufacturer, is further strengthening its wide-ranging and well-known portfolio of ice cream brands with the addition of Green & Black’s organic ice cream. Froneri will now produce all ice cream under the Green & Black’s brand and is celebrating the new partnership by bringing three new variations to the market, all focusing on premium, indulgent flavourings. The new additions to the range will seek to establish the brand as the leader in super premium ice cream and occupy a gap in the market for a premium brand whose organic credentials give it an even higher level of luxury. Super premium branded ice cream continues to contribute significant growth to the category, growing by 10.7% last year. The three new flavours will be available alongside the existing Vanilla, Vanilla Caramel Nut and Chocolate 500ml tubs, and are Salted Caramel, Chocolate & Ginger and Chocolate & Salted Caramel. Froneri will be supporting the launch throughout 2018 with a new marketing campaign, across print, digital, social media and in-store activation. Activity will be focused around key occasions for the brand including Easter.

we knew we were onto a winner with the flavour contrast. And so took on the task of enhancing the product and sourcing coated meringue pieces that would not dissolve in the ice cream, and would withstand the freezing element along with leaving a crunchy effect that adds texture to our signature smooth and creamy base ice cream.” To enhance the flavour even further, Glastry tasked Alice McIlhagger of Brambleberry Jams in Lisburn, to make a zesty Sicilian lemon and lime curd. The new lemon meringue ice cream is available for foodservice in five litre catering packs and retail in 500ml.

MCVITIE’S LAUNCHES NEW JAFFA CAKE POCKET PACKS

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ladis has launched Jaffa Cakes Pocket Packs, a new product format to cater for the demands of young adults eating on the go. Suitable for lunchboxes, the new format features three cakes in an easy-tocarry, convenient pocket and will be sold in a multipack of six Jaffa Cakes Pocket Packs. Available from mid-January, the launch is expected to reach £1.5m in its first year across grocery and convenience channels. Jaffa cakes are worth £52m RSV and a much-loved consumer favourite with 30% of households buying them every year. “We are extremely excited to be taking a muchloved brand such as Jaffa Cakes into the food-to-go arena,” said Kerry Owens, marketing director for Sweet Biscuits, McVities. “Jaffa Cakes Pocket Packs will give more variety to consumers who are looking for portion control and portability within the Sweet Biscuits category, as well as meeting the consumer need for a tea time snack or lunchtime treat.” Pladis is a global biscuit and confectionery company, which includes the Godiva, McVitie’s and Ulker brands.

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IN THE HOT SEAT TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF I was brought up in Belfast and have built my career here working for FMCG companies including C&C and Jacobs. I felt there was an opportunity to connect great brands with new routes to market and, in 2000, decided to combine my experience and connections to set up GM Marketing, distributing food, pharmacy and grocery products across the UK and Ireland. Noticing a gap in the market for quality, great tasting sugar-free foods, I then launched Free’ist in 2013. WHAT DOES A TYPICAL DAY INVOLVE? Whilst days are varied, one routine I try to stick to is an early morning run with a few pals around the tow path in Belfast. After that I’ll typically be in the office working alongside our 30+ team reviewing brand performance and assessing opportunities and priorities. I may have meetings with our commercial or marketing teams or be on the road meeting with existing or potential retail partners. We recently secured major listings for our new Free’ist jelly lines across Ireland and are in the midst of securing international listings for the range – so it’s a busy and exciting time for us. WHAT HAS BEEN THE HIGHLIGHT OF YOUR CAREER TO DATE? Building the Free’ist brand continues to be hugely rewarding as I have watched it grow from a concept through to an established brand, winning best Grocer brand launch and a gold Blas na Eireann to name a few accolades – and seeing it received positively by consumers and industry alike. Our recent rebrand exercise has given Free’ist even more impetus for growth. WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT YOUR JOB? Seeing our product innovation coming to life through positive consumer and trade feedback is hugely satisfying. And whilst we work hard, the company culture allows for fun along the way – I think that balance is important for businesses of all sizes and scales. WHAT IS YOUR MOST DIFFICULT TASK? Prioritising the never ending to do list whilst remaining flexible enough to deal with the unexpected. Adaptability is probably one of the most important attributes of a modern business. 42

IN THE HOT SEAT GERARD McADOREY, MANAGING DIRECTOR, FREE’IST

WHAT IS THE BEST ADVICE YOU HAVE EVER RECEIVED? Be yourself, everybody else is already taken. WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST GRIPE? There is no excuse for poor customer service – we should expect exceptional care when we pay for a product or service - and accept nothing less. WHAT TALENT WOULD YOU LIKE TO HAVE? My in-laws are very talented musicians and entertainers overall. I am going to surprise them soon and steal their thunder #watchthisspace. WHAT ARE YOUR FUTURE PLANS/ AMBITIONS? We are successfully growing the Free’ist brand across Ireland and are focused on making it a household name in the UK. Beyond this, we have ambitious plans to secure presence for Free’ist in international markets, having recently exhibited at ISM in Germany and Gulfood, Dubai.

WHOM DO YOU MOST ADMIRE? Elon Musk ~ If you live in Elon Musk’s world of endless possibilities and believe in something with all your heart, anything is possible. WHERE IS YOUR FAVOURITE PLACE? It is hard to beat Donegal. That part of the world is the perfect escape, at any time of year. WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE FOOD PRODUCT? Northern Ireland is home to worldclass food and fantastic local restaurants that are keen to showcase it. I am a big fan of Kettyle Irish Foods – their beef and lamb in particular. It was great to see them being enjoyed at Gulfood recently. HOW DO YOU RELAX? My wife and I have four children and I love nothing more than spending time with them – be that helping with homework or big family gatherings – that’s really what life is all about.


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Profile for Helen Wright

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