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

MARCH 2020



MARCH 2020



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



new policy statement published by the UK government last month, setting out details of the UK’s points-based immigration system to take effect from January 2021, has raised concerns over future labour availability in the retail and agri-food sectors. Under the plans, a minimum salary threshold of £25,600 would apply to the new skilled worker visa, while it will not include an immigration route specifically for low-skilled workers to ‘shift the focus of the UK’s economy away from a reliance on cheap labour from Europe and instead concentrate on investment in technology and automation’. However, a Seasonal Workers Pilot scheme will be expanded from 2,500 to 10,000 places ‘recognising the significant reliance the agricultural sector has on low-skilled temporary workers’. “EU nationals make a significant and welcome contribution right across our supply chain, with production, wholesaling and retail,” said Glyn Roberts, chief executive, Retail NI. “The proposed salary threshold will have a hugely negative impact on all of these key industries. “Northern Ireland has a unique



position given the border and the UK government cannot simply adopt a ‘one size fits all’ approach. We would urge the Economy Minister to make immediate representation to the UK government to change these illthought-out plans.” David Brown, deputy president, UFU said: “Northern Ireland’s agri-food processing sector is already finding it difficult to maintain labour all year round and, in addition to this, securing access to temporary workers going forward may also be challenging. “There are a number of elements within the points-based immigration system that are not very clear, and we would also need further clarification on the specific matter of seasonal workers. “The agri-food industry in NI must be able to retain access to non-UK labour and, given the border with the Republic of Ireland, it should be treated differently to other parts of the UK. “In excess of 60–70% of those working in our agri-food processing sectors are EU citizens. “If free movement of workers is not allowed, it will undermine the position of our processors and our wider industry who will not be able to compete with their counterparts south of the border.”





delegation from Retail NI met with Economy Minister Diane Dodds on February 27 to discuss the high cost of doing business in Northern Ireland. “Independent retailers and small businesses are facing a ‘perfect storm’ of additional costs on 1st April with a combination of the Rates Reval hike, increases in the local and regional rates and the Living Wage,” said Glyn Roberts, chief executive, Retail NI. “While businesses in Northern Ireland continue to pay the highest rates in the UK, our economy will not reach its full potential and our high streets will continue to decline. “Small Businesses in England get a 50% rates discount with a NAV of up to £51,000 and our members get a paltry 20% discount on a NAV of £15,000. “In addition, Retail NI members are already paying expensive energy costs and struggling with an increasing burden of red tape and regulation. “At our meeting with Minister Dodds, we urged her and her Executive colleagues not to support any increase in the Regional Business Rate when it is set in the local budget. “We also requested that the Minister set up a working group to jointly examine ways to reduce high costs on business and a renewed Better regulation strategy.” The Retail NI delegation also included vice chairs Paddy Doody and Pat Leneghan.






email: info@ulstergrocer.com Volume 55, Number 3 MARCH 2020

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 Latest ABC figures state that Ulster Grocer has an average net circulation of 5,444 per edition (1 July 2018 to 30 June 2019 – 11 editions per year). Independent News & Media Ltd ©2019. 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.





elcome to the March edition of Ulster Grocer. In this month’s edition, you’ll find coverage of our launch event for the Ulster Grocer Marketing Awards 2020. Please note, entry for our 32nd annual awards closes on Friday, March 6 and is online-only this year for the first time. We are excited to find out who will be in the mix for this year’s awards, and our independent judging panel is primed and ready to review the competition. Shortlisted entries will be featured in the April edition, with winners and the highly commended named at the Grocers’ Ball on May 22 and subsequently showcased in the Summer edition. Many thanks to all our award sponsors attending the launch event, including Aqua Twist, Carn Coldstore, Electric Ireland, Food NI, Forest Feast, HFM, Hunky Dorys, Invest NI, Mash Direct, MBNI Truck & Van and mxb. Your support is much appreciated. And thanks also to 2019 winners in attendance from the Henderson Group, Hovis, Mackle Petfoods, Musgrave NI and Thompson’s Tea. Particular gratitude is extended to those enduring the rather fresh and breezy outdoor conditions to capture the main image from the launch event, and to our designer Helen for using her photoshop skills to deal with a small issue associated with the wind… Our awards are held during the Grocers’ Ball, the main purpose of which is to raise funds for the fantastic GroceryAid charity, which offers wide ranging services to those working or having worked in the wider grocery trade. On p16, the GroceryAid NI Committee’s fundraising success is covered, alongside details of its events for 2020, how to get involved and how to get help from GroceryAid, which extended its assistance

to 54 local people in 2019. Also in this month’s edition, you’ll find a preview supplement for the forthcoming IFEX exhibition (March 24-26, TEC Belfast) covering the retail, foodservice and hospitality sectors. Our features include Focus on Technology and Energy & Environment, with the big industry-wide push for sustainability continuing to gain momentum. Our Q&As this month, meanwhile, span the sausage sector from the fledgling Hellbent (In the Hot Seat) to the more established Finnebrogue Artisan (My Life in the Grocery Trade). And our store focus features Indie Füde in Comber which, in addition to its extensive array of local produce on sale, is diversifying into supper clubs and food tours. Having had the pleasure of attending one of the Bushmills super clubs, matching its whiskeys with resident chef Will Brown’s cooking, I can highly recommend the experience. In last month’s editorial, I opined on the ongoing confusion around Brexit with regards to GB/NI trade which, as our news story on p7 illustrates, is mounting. However, on top of concerns about potential checks and their impact on the agri-food chain, a more immediate concern has emerged with the rapid global spread of coronavirus. At time of writing, a suspected case has emerged in Belfast and - while the impact on the food chain has been relatively minor to date - as the virus continues to spread, major trade/ movement restrictions could potentially be introduced. Not quite what anyone expected to be among the challenges of 2020. Let’s hope the individual is ok and there is no further spread of the virus.

Alyson Magee

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HUNDREDS OF SMALL BUSINESSES MIS-SOLD PLASMA SCREENS O ver 200 independent retailers and small businesses which believe they were mis-sold plasma screens attended a meeting demanding a solution last month. The meeting was organised by Retail NI, which is assisting members in finding a solution. Political representatives from the five main parties also attended the meeting at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. “Hundreds of local independent retailers have been impacted by what they believe to be a business scam involving the installation of plasma screen televisions at their stores via a company called Viewble Media,” said Alan Collingwood, a Retail NI member and operator of a business impacted by the alleged scam.

“Retailers signed up to this scheme on the understanding that the money they would be paying out each month under the terms of a finance agreement for the televisions would be reimbursed to them from Viewble Media, which would sell advertising on these screens. “However Viewable Media has gone into administration, which in effect means that the retailers are paying a substantial amount each month to the finance company, Grenke, but are now not receiving any income from Viewble Media. “Many of our retailers have over two years left of their finance agreement and are understandably very frustrated and believe they were mis-sold this product.” Glyn Roberts, chief executive of Retail


Glyn Roberts, chief executive of Retail NI, addresses the crowd.

NI, said: “This is a huge problem for a big section of our membership who are already struggling with high business costs such as rates and energy. We have been in contact with the Financial Ombudsman and would urge our MLAs to support our members in finding a solution.”




he Food Warehouse has created 30 new jobs for the local grocery retail sector at a store in Co Antrim. The opening is a first for the brand in Northern Ireland, which is part of the Iceland Foods Group, and has seen it invest close to £1m in a flagship store for the area. The supermarket is based at Longwood Retail Park, Newtownabbey and the new roles are in addition to just under 3,000 employees across the UK. The 9,500-square-foot site is the 121st store opened in The Food Warehouse’s six-year history, making it the fastest-growing supermarket chain launched in the UK this century. The Newtownabbey store will be continuing the brand’s mission to offer shoppers all the great value of a wholesale store without the need for membership, in an open plan, easy-to-

shop environment. “Since the first door opened back in 2014, The Food Warehouse has grown from strength to strength, exceeding our expectations,” said Richard Walker, managing director at The Food Warehouse. “Moving into Northern Ireland is a huge landmark for the business, as it continues to perform extremely well. We’re proud to work with local suppliers in Northern Ireland across our fresh, frozen and grocery products.” Fresh, frozen and ambient food deals are available to customers across more than 3,000 product lines in each store, as well as exclusive When it’s Gone, it’s Gone deals and homeware items. The bulk offering is intended to offer consumers great value and small businesses easy-to-access, low-cost supplies.

taff at Allied Bakeries in Belfast have voted to accept an increased pay offer from the company and end their strike action. Workers voted with a 90% majority to accept the “significantly” improved pay offer made by the company. Trade union Unite’s Regional Coordinator Susan Fitzgerald said the new offer would mean staff would “now enjoy a real-terms pay increase”. “This outcome was hard won and was only achieved through the strength and militancy of the workers themselves,” she said. “This is the second recent win for our members in Northern Ireland Bakeries – both of which came on the back of strong votes for industrial action after below-inflation pay increases were rejected by workers.” In a statement Allied Bakeries confirmed it had reached an agreement with union officials at the East Belfast bakery. Around 200 people are employed at the plant on Castlereagh Road.






round 100 bakery staff in 34 Tesco stores across Northern Ireland are facing redundancy as part of group-wide cuts. The grocery giant is cutting around 1,800 roles as part of changes to bakeries in Tesco’s large supermarkets. The company confirmed two to three staff per large store will be affected in the cuts from May. Tesco said it would convert 58 of its bakeries to be able to finish off pre-baked products in-store, and 201 sites will only bake some of its most popular items from scratch. It said the move, which will not affect bakeries at another 257 sites, means it

will need fewer staff members. It has 55 stores in Northern Ireland. “We need to adapt to changing customer demand and tastes for bakery products, so that we continue to offer customers a market-leading bakery range in store,” said Jason Tarry, chief executive, Tesco UK and Republic of Ireland. “We know this will be very difficult for colleagues who are impacted, and our priority is to support them through this process. We hope that many will choose to stay with us in alternative roles.” Tesco said it would look to find other jobs for the staff, with “thousands of store vacancies” expected to be available between now and May.

A spokesman for Tesco said the firm was at the start of the consultation process. Retail NI Chief Executive Glyn Roberts said bakery habits are changing for consumers and retailers and bakeries need to continue to evolve, whether they are small independent operators or part of larger retailers. “There are members of ours who are bakeries and are very busy,” he said. “We have a seen a trend for many local butchers and bakers making a comeback over the last few years. We had dominance of larger supermarkets for 20 years; now people are seeking out alternatives.”

NFRN CALLS FOR IMMEDIATE ACTION OVER SHOCKING CRIME STATISTICS T he Federation of Independent Retailers (NFRN) is calling for immediate action over new statistics highlighting a significant rise in shop thefts and a fall in police action. NFRN National President Stuart Reddish is urging the government to take further action as, although incidents of retail crime have increased, there has been a considerable decrease in the total number of related prosecutions and cautions. The statistics were revealed following a written parliamentary question by Laurence Robertson MP, asking the Ministry of Justice to disclose the number of people who have been

imprisoned for shop theft in each year since 2010. Though Home Office figures show that incidents of retail theft have increased from 305,896 in 2010 to 382,100 in 2018, there has been a reduction in individuals which have been ‘proceeded against’ from 72,608 to 44,795 and a reduction in cautions from 38,930 to 5,514. The statistics also show that the percentage of shop thefts dealt with by the justice system stands at 13%, down from 36%, at the same time as an increase in incidents of 19.9%. “The answers the Ministry of Justice has given to Mr Robertson’s question

shows that the Home Office does not have a grip on this issue,” said Reddish. “Even using their figures on the number of shoplifting offences that are taking place, this is a worryingly small number of perpetrators that are being punished. “If it’s a reality that the number of incidents reported only stands at 15% of the true value, this is completely shocking. Our members are working on a 3 or 4% margin and to have an incident of shop theft can mean a business can no longer afford to function. The government needs to recognise that retail theft needs to be seen as a priority.”

LONDON FORUM TO ADDRESS MEAT SUSTAINABILITY ON MARCH 17 B ritish Meat Processors Association, along with other partner organisations, is holding a one-day event, Rethink Forum, exploring the science behind livestock-related climate change. “If we want to make meaningful changes to how we live in order to help the planet, then we need to base our decisions on information that is accurate 6

and specific to our situation here in the UK,” said Nick Allen, CEO of BMPA. “We need to rethink what we know about meat and its contribution to climate change, because not everything we hear in the media and from the influential people we listen to is correct.” Rethink Forum is to be held in London at 30 Euston Square on March 17, and will bring journalists, influencers and

Government policy makers together with scientists and experts on both sides of the climate change debate. BBC journalist and Countryfile presenter Tom Heap will be chairing the event and ensuring a fair exchange of scientific opinions. For more information, see www.rethinkforums.org




usinesspeople have said they are aiming to ensure Northern Ireland’s interests are not overlooked as the UK sets its sights on trade agreements with the EU and US. It came after reports that the UK was seeking ways of getting around the NI protocol in the EU Withdrawal Agreement. Aodhan Connolly, director of the NI Retail Consortium, said he believed there was “a mixture of bluster and pokerplaying” from the UK government. “The uncertainty doesn’t help Northern Ireland business and it’s the opposite of what we need.” The Sunday Times reported that officials were seeking to evade Irish Sea checks on goods passing from Great Britain to Northern Ireland. In response, a UK government spokesman said the UK would comply with its obligations under the agreement. During a visit to Northern Ireland last month, Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis said: “We always said there will not be a border down the Irish Sea, there’ll be unfettered access for business.” Connolly said NI business need to continue to speak up as the UK’s focus

moves in due course to negotiating trade deals with the EU and US. “We in Northern Ireland are part of a bigger game,” he said. “The UK’s focus will now be on trading agreements with the EU and US. The job of the business community is to make sure needs are not forgotten, while the sooner we have government in (the Irish Republic) the better.” Seamus Leheny, regional manager of the Freight Transport Association in NI, said: “We can only deal in facts so when we read the Withdrawal Agreement, that is what we must work towards. “This means we have to prepare for new formalities. In some aspect it’s correct to say we won’t have checks on Great Britain to Northern Ireland trade because checks are only the result of whatever formalities are required, which will all be dependent on the type of trade agreement the UK and EU agree on. “Checks will only ever be required to enforce compliance, which we hope will not be necessary. “Rather than try and open up the negotiated Withdrawal Agreement, we would hope that the UK and EU agree a close free-trade agreement that means

we face minimum formalities and close alignment, thereby making the need for such checks and associated bureaucracy redundant.”



auliers are facing “an administrative nightmare” over post-Brexit trade in Northern Ireland, a House of Lords committee has been told. The EU Committee was in Belfast on February 25 to hear the concerns of local representatives from the freight sector, ports, ferry operators and Belfast International Airport. There was a unanimous demand for clarity from the Government over what is expected of firms once the Brexit transition period ends in December. The UK’s withdrawal agreement with the EU means checks and controls will be required for goods travelling from Great Britain to Northern Ireland. A tariff would also be imposed if the items are at risk of travelling on to the Irish Republic.

UFU ADDRESSES NI ASSEMBLY ON UK AGRI BILL U lster Farmers’ Union (UFU) has voiced its concerns over direct support for the agriculture industry post-Brexit, during a Northern Ireland Assembly AERA Committee meeting at Stormont last month. “I highlighted that ultimately the future format of support for the Northern Ireland agri industry will depend on the outcome of future trade deals with the EU and other countries. “If good deals are secured, farmers may not need more support than they receive at present although the delivery format of this support could change. “If trade deals are agreed that undermine the industry and the situation is created where NI farmers are undercut by food producers operating in other countries to lower production standards, they will need much more support to keep their businesses viable. I stressed that ‘resilience support’ will have to be an

integral part of possible future support measures.” Ferguson also raised the need for tracking agricultural support in the

UFU has also held its first official meeting with Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots to discuss immediate and strategic issues for the farming sector. Poots is pictured, centre, with Wesley Aston, chief executive, Ivor Ferguson, president, and Victor Chestnutt and David Brown, deputy presidents, UFU.

Republic of Ireland under the NI/RoI Protocol agreed by the UK and EU as part of the withdrawal agreement. A pledge has not been made within the Agriculture Bill to safeguard UK food production standards which is a major concern. “The agri-food industry supports every one in eight jobs and turns over £4.5bn annually, making the sector a substantial and vital contributor to the Northern Ireland economy. Future polices are being shaped and the UK unions are united in the belief that environmental, food and animal welfare standards must be maintained post-Brexit but that such a position must also apply to food imported from other countries. “Otherwise, our farmers will not be able to compete in the market, putting the future of their farm businesses at risk which will ultimately impact the entire NI agriculture industry.” 7



A PIONEERING INDEPENDENT DELICATESSEN AND GROCERY STORE IN COMBER, INDIE FÜDE, IS TAKING THE CONCEPT OF ‘TASTING’ TO A NEW LEVEL, AS BRIAN McCALDEN REPORTS in the deli, and plenty of guidance on the traceability, provenance and quality supplied by our local producers coupled with advice on how best to use these great products at home.”

Johnny McDowell & Laura Bradley.


ith the success of a series of events based around its increasingly diverse range of products, Indie Füde’s proprietors, Johnny McDowell and Laura Bradley, are certainly running a different kind of grocery store. The hands-on proprietors are now making the tourist market a target too, with the development of their day-long local food tours, taking in the very best of local produce. “Once a month we will run a taste-driven, producer-led, day-long foodie tour,” says Laura. Starting and finishing in the quirky, rustic surroundings of the back-of-shop 8

function room, the tour is a specially curated symphony of Strangford Lough’s finest food and drink. “It starts in store, with a bread-baking session, then takes to the road to Echlinville Distillery, home of Echlinville Gin and Dunville Whiskey for a distillery tour and tutored tasting,” she says. “We are still finalising the rest of the route, and I don’t want to spoil the surprise, but you can expect a range of excellent produce and stunning surroundings. “We return to Comber for a sumptuous spread including the best of local cheese, which is something we showcase daily

LONG HOURS That’s only part of the story of course, as the shop itself is open seven days a week, including a surprisingly busy noon to 4pm trade on Sundays. Johnny says grocery retailing remains the core of the business, while the many diverse taste events are becoming increasingly important. “We are once again a finalist in The Guild of Fine Foods Shop of the Year Awards, and are looking forward to the presentations in Harrogate,” he says. “The shop was nominated both in 2018, 2019 and most recently in 2020, which is a great honour.” Johnny, an accountant by trade, started the business just five years ago, with initially just an online presence. “I was working for the World Bank in the Pacific Region, helping developing nations and enjoyed a particular, ongoing affinity for Thailand, before illness forced a return home to Comber,” he says. “The experience of the local cuisine, which is dominated by the field-to-plate concept, where foodstuffs are sold direct by growers and producers in open-air stalls, or mamas’ markets was the catalyst. “Uniquely, the focus for what became Indie Füde was on locally produced products, with the same kind of levels of freshness and quality as in Thailand paramount, but instead using produce from the island of Ireland.” He said these specially selected ingredients led to enough interest in his online shop that, when the chance of a temporary pop-up shop came up, he couldn’t turn it down. “Laura joined soon after the original shop experience and became a partner just after Christmas 2017, and we moved into proper premises on our current site in central Comber,” says Johnny. The surroundings are rustic as well as being authentic, without too much in the way of glass-fronted chillers and other appliances such as in other grocery stores; being lined instead with row upon row of shelves packed with artisan products,

STORE FOCUS ranging across everything a food lover could imagine. ARTISAN Bespoke paintings and other artworks by local artists line some of the walls too, as part of both the overall atmosphere of the shop and a display as they are for sale too. A key element of the shop is the expansive cheese counter, showcasing up to 40 Irish cheeses at one time. There is also an ever-growing demand for novel celebration cheesecakes, used increasingly for local weddings in place of the traditional wedding cake. “Corporate gifts, artisan food hampers and a continuing online presence, about 20% of trade, have been developed and we now employ four part-time staff, covering parts of the retail operations, including our presence at local markets and necessities such as invoicing and finance,” he says. However, with around two dozen events a year, such as a recent Supper Club hosted by chef Will Brown and this month’s Indie Thailand Supper Club, there’s a lot going on beyond the core retailing operation. “Inspired by the Thailand freshness experience, local products are now getting a platform as never before and we are being recognised by food journalists and marketing companies, anxious to add a unique selling point to their corporate events. “A couple of months ago we hosted Bushmills Distillery for a series of bespoke food events, right here in our own shop function room,” says Johnny. However, the development of events, such as the day-long local food tour has

really grabbed the imagination, and is being supported by the local tourism industry, as food tourism is such a fastdeveloping niche in the market. “Not bad going for a company that was only registered in February 2014,” he says. 2020 – A NEW DECADE For the future, the core business of specialist food retailing is central to Johnny and Laura’s immediate plans,

but both their curation of hampers, corporate gifts and partnerships with top-quality local alcohol producers (with a gourmet hamper retailing at £300), and the food tasting events, are a stronger and stronger aspect of Indie Füde. As Laura says, in the preamble to their gifts’ catalogue, edible gifts are a sure-fire hit. Especially so as they show significant support for the 100-plus suppliers now on the books. “Around 1,000 products are now available, so there’s plenty of choice, which hopefully won’t be limited with the implementation of Brexit,” she says. “We can only hope it won’t impact too much, especially as a lot of our focus remains firmly on Northern Irish suppliers, keeping it as local as possible. However, with so many incredible producers in the Republic of Ireland, it’s important that we can continue to work with them.” Laura says marketing remains an important aspect, with social media and of course word of mouth to the fore. “Being a finalist in The Guild of Fine Foods Shop of the Year has helped a lot too, as has the support of many local companies and Food NI and both Tourism NI and Tourism Ireland. So, we can look forward to a decade of progression as an independent, innovative food retailer, deli and event space. “Our indigenous offering is very special indeed and, so far, very much appreciated by our growing customer base.” A sentiment echoed by Johnny, whose innovative idea became Indie Füde just five short years ago. “Long may it last,” he says. 9


CARRIAGE CHARGE INCREASES WILL COST LIVELIHOODS AND JOBS T he Federation of Independent Retailers (NFRN) has warned Menzies Distribution that its average carriage charge increase of 3.5% in the UK to compensate for increased labour costs caused by forthcoming National Living Wage rises will jeopardise livelihoods and could cost retail jobs. Menzies Distribution wrote to its customers last month, advising of the increases which take effect from April 4. In Northern Ireland, retailers will see their charges rise by an average 2%. In the Republic of Ireland, the increase is 2.5%. A letter from Menzies Managing Director Greg Michael states the company is ‘committed to the long-term sustainability of newstrade’, adding Menzies is working with retailers, distributors and publishers to implement

efficiency measures that drive out costs where possible with a view to enabling the company to ‘support the long-term health of our shared supply chain’. The letter continues: ‘Whilst we are able to control and partially mitigate some of the costs directly relating to the delivery and collection of newspapers and magazines, there are wider economic influences outside of our control.’ Michael said that the 6.2% increase in the National Living Wage from April 1 was the trigger for it reviewing its carriage charge template. Stuart Reddish, national president, NFRN, said: “These rises and the reasons behind them are deeply disappointing. Does Menzies not realise that news retailers are also facing rising labour bills from April 1? But unlike Menzies, our



ndustry charity GroceryAid has announced Dizzee Rascal, Becky Hill and Scott Mills will be joining Bastille in the final line up for Barcode Festival 2020. Following the success of last year, Barcode Festival will return to London on July 2 at new creative venue Magazine with over 3,500 grocery colleagues expected to attend. All proceeds from the event will go to industry charity GroceryAid to help those in need. A multi-platinum-selling, multipleaward winning pioneer, Dizzee Rascal is one of the UK’s most influential artists of modern times. Becky Hill, a show-stopping vocalist and hitmaking songwriter, will join Barcode Festival ahead of her highly anticipated UK and Ireland tour in Autumn/Winter 2020. Scott Mills is an award-winning 10

DJ and one of the most recognisable voices on the radio. The Skittle’s Stage, sponsored by Mars Wrigley Confectionary, will also host upcoming band The Strangers Club, as well as industry trade acts Ask the Young ‘Un, Groom Armada, The Ministry of Anthems and Matt Gouland. Further entertainment includes street food, a variety of bars to suit all tastes and extraordinary activations, and a target has been set of raising more than £600,000 towards supporting grocery colleagues in need with crisis payments, heating grants and emotional and practical support through welfare services. For more information, visit www.barcodefestival.co.uk

members do not have the opportunity to pass these onto their customers in the form of increased prices. “Mr Michael says he and his company are committed to the longterm survival of the news industry but these increases will cost jobs, will cost livelihoods and, most important of all, could deprive communities of their only shop. It seems that Menzies has no true understanding of the plight of independent retailers. “Three quarters of NFRN members served by Menzies will see their carriage charge bills rise come April yet there is no indication of any improvements to service levels or any new measures that will make it easier for the news wholesaler and retailer to do business together.”



amelot, operator of The National Lottery, is promising retail partners even more opportunities to boost their EuroMillions sales and commission, with new changes to the rolling jackpot game coming into effect last month. The new-look EuroMillions game will see more prize money going into the jackpot – plus a prize cap increase to €200m (up from €190m currently) resulting in a greater likelihood of bigger jackpots more often. This is in addition to more special promotional draws, which will be held an average of three times a year versus the current two, offering massive guaranteed jackpots of around £100m. With the jackpot growing faster and more big-money draws, National Lottery retail partners will have incredible opportunities to maximise sales and increase their bottom lines, says Camelot.




cBride’s SPAR on Gortin Road in Omagh recently held a Customer Appreciation Day, offering local shoppers a first look at the newly renovated SPAR store. The six-week project represents a £400,000 investment by owner Peter McBride, with the revamped supermarket offering a host of modern amenities and a wide range of new products and services. In addition to introducing a larger selection of dairy and fresh produce, the store now features an improved hot and cold deli bar offering customers a wide range of food-to-go options. New Barista Bar coffee stations have been fitted along with a Tango Ice Blast machine and a new Bakery range, serving freshly baked, loose bread daily. Technological advancements can be seen throughout the store with smarter lighting and refrigeration systems and the introduction of self-scan checkouts.

Peter McBride, owner of McBride’s SPAR Gortin Road greets long-valued customer Mrs Wilson at a Customer Appreciation Day held to mark the recent refurbishment of the store.

The card-only checkout has been installed to give shoppers a speedier service, making a trip to McBride’s even more convenient. “We set out to create a more modern, more convenient shopping experience for our customers and, with the works carried out to such a high standard, I am confident we have achieved this,” said


From left, Steven Kennedy, fresh trading manager at the Henderson Group, and Louis Ludik, one half of Hellbent.


ellbent, a business formed by rugby stars Louis Ludik and Schalk Van der Merwe, has won its first major retail listing, which will see their locally made beef products on the shelves of 27 SPAR stores and EUROSPAR supermarkets at the end of the month. The three products – Boerewors coiled beef sausages, burgers and meatballs – are made at Carnbrooke Meats in Lisburn, with beef sourced from local

farmers, combining the best NI beef with distinctively rich seasonings and cooking techniques from their South African homeland. The deal comes just months after Henderson Group announced their commitment to local artisanal food producers, which saw 13 smaller producers from across NI supply their products to EUROSPAR community supermarkets here. “Whilst we strive to offer everyday essentials when it comes to fresh food, we are always looking for ways to set ourselves apart from other symbol groups in the industry,” said Neal Kelly, fresh foods director at the Henderson Group. “Working with unique producers like Hellbent not only opens our shoppers up to new, fresh flavours, but elevates our status as a foodie destination.” Louis Ludik is featured In the Hot Seat on p50.

McBride. McBride’s SPAR, Gortin Road is one of 12 stores across Tyrone, Fermanagh and Armagh owned by the McBride Retail Group.



h So Lean, a Northern Ireland producer of premium lowfat and low-salt Sean Morgan, founder foods, has and MD, Oh So Lean. won business with Ireland’s top forecourt retailer Applegreen. The family-owned and managed food business, based at Kilkeel in Co Down, has begun supplying its range of healthy convenience meals such as steak mince, roast chicken and steak casserole to an initial three Northern Ireland outlets strategically located on the region’s two main motorways. “It is the outcome of approaches we made to Applegreen a couple of years ago and to samples subsequently provided,” said Sean Morgan, managing director and founder, Oh So Lean. “We are delighted to be supplying our low-fat and low-salt convenience meals and to have an opportunity to work with managers to ensure the success of our premium products in its outlets.” 11


HEAVENLY TASTY WINS NEW BUSINESS WITH DUNNES STORES H eavenly Tasty Organics, a Northern Ireland producer of award-winning natural foods for babies and toddlers, has been listed by Dunnes for its stores in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. The company is now supplying six products to Dunnes, Ireland’s largest retailer with more than 100 stores across the island of Ireland. Heavenly Tasty, which is headquartered in Augher, Co Tyrone, has a listing for two flavours each of its Veggie Waffles, Breadsticks and Yummy Wafer Wisps in a deal involving Dublin-based food distributor Total Brand Solutions, a subsidiary of Europe’s Total Produce. “This is an immensely important contract for us because it offers access to the biggest food retailer on the island and one with a strong reputation for quality food,” said Shauna Blair, founder and managing director of Heavenly Tasty. “Ireland has proved a very good market to date for

Shauna Blair, founder and managing director of Heavenly Tasty.


the Heavenly brand and the addition of Dunnes strengthens our brand presence and offering for the Irish consumer. “We appreciate the tremendous assistance provided by Total Brand Solutions in enabling us to achieve this very significant listing offering great potential for us, especially in a market


From left, JP Lyttle, commercial director at Genesis, and Emma Swan, Asda buying manager for NI Local at the Genesis bakery.


agherafelt-based bakery Genesis has secured two new product listings for its Iced and Coconut Fingers at Asda stores across Northern Ireland. The deal builds upon Asda and Genesis’ existing relationship, which has seen the bakery supply products to the retailer since 2010. “The Iced Fingers 4pk and Coconut Fingers 4pk, whilst still the much-loved traditional products they have always been – have been updated following market research, which showed a moister bread with a softer texture was what 12

which we have targeted for faster growth in sales. “The listing enables families shopping in Dunnes to buy our range of organic, natural, nutritious and outstandingly tasty foods for babies and young children. Glenn Troy, of Total Brand Solutions, said: “The brand adds to our portfolio of great brands and allows us to offer our customers a healthy range of snacking for babies and children and we will be aiming to roll the Heavenly products out nationwide in 2020.”

most consumers wanted,” said JP Lyttle, commercial director for Genesis. “The redeveloped Genesis iced finger has an improved recipe which creates a softer baked finger, compared against the current UK market offering. We are delighted to continue our relationship with Asda with the arrival of these two new products. “Our lines are still produced by hand, which sets them apart from many similar products on bakery shelves – and our iced and coconut fingers are no different, with each one dipped and finished by one of our skilled bakers. “We redeveloped these products last year and these new listings with Asda give us the perfect opportunity to showcase our innovation to shoppers across Northern Ireland.” Emma Swan, Asda buying manager for NI Local, said: “We are delighted to add to our Genesis range with the two new product lines of much-loved Coconut Fingers and Iced Fingers – as well as supporting a local supplier that has been in business since 1968. We hope our customers enjoy these new and improved traditional Northern Irish treats.”


lcohol education charity Drinkaware has partnered with Asda for a fourth year to promote responsible drinking to the retail giant’s customers. A recent one-day event saw Drinkaware stalls set up in 47 Asda stores across the UK, with trained Drinkaware ambassadors advising and engaging with customers. This year’s activity included a focus on Drink Free Days, Drinkaware’s flagship campaign to help midlife drinkers – aged 45-64 - reduce their alcohol consumption by taking more drink-free days every week. Ambassadors also handed out alcohol assessment scratch cards to encourage customers to reflect on their drinking habits, Drinkaware alcohol unit measure cups, and ‘talking to your kids about alcohol’ leaflets. They were also able to discuss any concerns shoppers had about their own or a family member’s drinking. Around 3,300 customers visited a Drinkaware stand in-store and 150 people engaged with the campaign online in 10 stores where the Drinkaware ambassador was equipped with a tablet. Fourteen Members of Parliament visited their local Asda store and chatted to Drinkaware ambassadors and customers, including Carla Lockhart, Member of Parliament for Upper Bann; Mary Kelly, Member of the Legislative Assembly for Upper Bann; Órfhlaith Begley, Member of Parliament for the West Tyrone; and Maolíosa McHugh and Daniel McCrossans, both members of the Legislative Assembly for West Tyrone.




ast winners and sponsors attended an official launch event for the Ulster Grocer Marketing Awards 2020 at the Culloden Estate and Spa on February 20. The 32nd annual awards will see winners awarded across 11 categories during the Grocers’ Ball, held annually to raise funds for the GroceryAid charity, at the Culloden on May 22. Online-only entry closes on March 6 for the Awards, which offer an opportunity for companies operating in the Northern Ireland grocery sector to shine a light on their successes and achievements. As well as a new Leader in Marketing accolade, awards include Best Digital Marketing Campaign, Best Sustainability

Initiative and the Lorraine Hall Young Marketeer Award, recognising up and coming stars in memory of the cofounder of Forest Feast. Further categories include Best Marketing Campaign, Best Brand, Best In-Store Consumer Sales Promotion, Best New Product Launch/Relaunch, Best CSR Initiative/Charity Partnership, Best Artisan Campaign and Best Export Marketing. Sponsors on board for this year’s Awards include Aqua Twist, Carn Coldstore, Electric Ireland, Food NI, Forest Feast, Henderson Food Machinery, Hunky Dorys, Invest NI, Mash Direct, MBNI Truck & Van and mxb. “Despite a challenging past year for the grocery sector, particularly the uncertainty

around Brexit and its potential impact on the agri-food sector, local innovation and investment has remained strong and this year’s Awards look set to be as competitive as ever,” said Alyson Magee, editor of Ulster Grocer. Widely regarded as the highest marketing accolade Northern Ireland grocery stakeholders can achieve, the Ulster Grocer Marketing Awards are recognised as a mark of professionalism, raising awareness for companies shortlisted, highly commended and winning each category. Judging this year’s awards is an independent panel led by marketing experts Michael Maguire, Albert Titterington, Norman Maynes and Emma Cowan.

From left, Chris Keenan (Ulster Grocer), Gary Taylor (Aqua Twist), Bronagh Clarke (Forest Feast), Alan Cunningham (Electric Ireland), Debra Henderson (Henderson Food Machinery), Fiona Derry (Carn Coldstore), Alyson Magee (Ulster Grocer), Allie McAuley (mxb), Clare Forster (Mash Direct), Geoff Spence (Invest NI), Sean Clarke (MBNI Truck & Van) and Martin McClinton (Hunky Dorys).



ULSTER GROCER MARKETING AWARDS Launching the Ulster Grocer Marketing Awards 2020 are representatives from sponsors Aqua Twist, Carn Coldstore, Electric Ireland, Food NI, Forest Feast, HFM, Hunky Dorys, Invest NI, Mash Direct, MBNI Truck & Van and mxb; 2019 winners Henderson Group, Hovis, Mackle Petfoods, Musgrave NI and Thompson’s Tea; and Ulster Grocer.

Hunky Dorys is sponsoring the category of Best CSR Initiative/Charity Partnership. Pictured are Chris Keenan (Ulster Grocer) and Martin McClinton (Hunky Dorys).

MBNI Truck & Van is sponsoring the category of Best Digital Marketing Campaign. Pictured are Laura Cochrane and Sean Clarke (MBNI Truck & Van) and Alyson Magee (Ulster Grocer) .

Food NI is sponsoring the category of Best Artisan Campaign. Pictured are Alyson Magee (Ulster Grocer) and Michelle Shirlow (Food NI).

Henderson Food Machinery is sponsoring the category of Best Brand. Pictured are Chris Keenan (Ulster Grocer) and Debra and David Henderson (HFM).



Forest Feast is sponsoring the category of Lorraine Hall Young Marketeer. Pictured are Chris Keenan (Ulster Grocer) and Bronagh Clarke (Forest Feast).

Carn Coldstore is sponsoring the category of Best New Product Launch/Relaunch. Pictured are Chris Keenan (Ulster Grocer) and Fiona Derry (Carn Coldstore).

Aqua Twist is sponsoring the category of Best In-Store Consumer Sales Promotion. Pictured are Gary Taylor (Aqua Twist), Alyson Magee (Ulster Grocer) and John Hamilton (Aqua Twist).

Electric Ireland is sponsoring the category of Best Sustainability Initiative. Pictured are Alan Cunningham (Electric Ireland) and Alyson Magee (Ulster Grocer).

Mash Direct is sponsoring the category of Best Marketing Campaign. Pictured are Chris Keenan (Ulster Grocer) and Clare Forster (Mash Direct).

Invest NI is sponsoring the category of Best Export Marketing. Pictured are Chris Keenan (Ulster Grocer) and Geoff Spence (Invest NI).

mxb is sponsoring the category of Leader in Marketing. Pictured are Allie McAuley and Barry McCabe (mxb) and Alyson Magee (Ulster Grocer).




The GroceryAid NI Committee: from left, back row, Aidan Fisher, Jim McAlea, Alan McKeown and Mark Gowdy; and front row, Jonathan Mawhinney, Chris Keenan, Bronagh Luke, Trevor Magill and Bryan Sterling.


total of £106,360 was raised by the GroceryAid NI Committee, while help was extended to 54 local people who have worked or are working in the wider grocery trade, in 2019. GroceryAid is a national charity helping


people across the whole of the grocery industry from the largest factory through the supply chain to the smallest store. Among services provided by GroceryAid are financial help including with money, benefits and debt; emotional support

and advice; health and wellbeing advice; relationship support; workplace critical incident support; work and career advice; and support for carers and those with disability. The GroceryAid NI Committee raises funds through events held throughout the year including the Grocers’ Ball and a Golf Day, Summer BBQ and Sunday Lunch. For more information on how to support the GroceryAid NI Committee, contact info@groceryaid.org.uk For more information on how to receive support from GroceryAid, call the helpline on 08088 021122.
































lster Grocer/Independent News & Media has received a silver award from GroceryAid, reflecting its efforts to support the grocery industry charity in 2019, and representing an upgrade from its bronze award received in previous years. As well as extensive coverage and marketing of local and national GroceryAid events and initiatives across its print magazines, website and social media throughout the year, Ulster Grocer is proud to support the charity through its support of key events, in particular the Grocers’ Ball. In addition, Ulster Grocer Sales Manager Chris Keenan sits on the GroceryAid NI Committee alongside


representatives from across grocery trade, meeting monthly to plan and execute

fundraising events held in aid of the charity.

From left, Chris Keenan (Ulster Grocer/GroceryAid NI Committee), Alyson Magee (Ulster Grocer) and Jonathan Mawhinney (Tesco/GroceryAid NI Committee).




e’ve recently helped launch another important initiative for smaller food and drink companies. It’s part of Invest NI’s Small Business Food Programme and it’s a significant development which could have positive benefits for all categories of retailers here. The initiative is aimed at making it easier for the participating companies to develop greater understanding of the business requirements and procedures of local retailers; both supermarkets and independents. The new programme, for smaller food and drink enterprises (especially those with SALSA accreditation) involves a series of workshops in many parts of Northern Ireland during 2020. The workshop series, shaped with Invest NI’s Food and Drink Division, is based on a recognition that younger food and drink companies often find it extremely challenging to spot opportunities, then negotiate with and close deals with retailers. I’ve heard of companies which have managed to set up meetings with key buyers and failed to ‘do the business’ for one reason or another. Often they fail from a lack of negotiation experience or skill. Not everyone is a born salesman. It’s possible, however, to learn essential skills that help ensure success in oneto-one negotiations with buyers in many grocery operations here and further afield. Retailers want products that will offer their customers something different, while producers seek a worthwhile profit

and the prospect of sustainable longterm business. This is an immensely important initiative, especially in the new post-Brexit business environment when competition in Great Britain is likely to escalate from any trade agreements with food and drink suppliers beyond the EU. The workshops are structured to equip these companies with essential marketing and business development skills. They are delivered by people who have been ‘in the field’ and who can share their knowledge and experience. We know that there are many smaller companies producing excellent food and drink products with immense potential, and which could also be successful in key markets such as Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland. Taking part in one of the expert workshops, I am sure, will give them the self assurance and skills to benefit from exploring opportunities abroad in both these easily accessible markets and then further afield. There are a number of role models of smaller companies which have used success with grocery retailers here and are now selling in other parts of Europe as well as Asia and the Middle East. The first workshop, which was held on the Loughry campus in Cookstown of the College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE) in January, proved to be an outstanding success and brought very positive feedback from all the participating companies. Participation in the workshops is free of charge to qualifying Invest NI-registered businesses. The workshops provide guidance from experts in areas such as how to set up and manage a supply chain effectively, the dynamics of today’s highly-competitive international markets, financing exports, packaging and marketing including social media techniques for ambitious food and drink processors. Participating companies will also be briefed about other Invest NI services including the benefits of innovation vouchers in vital business growth areas such as new product development, labelling and packaging and the latest insights about the requirements and trends among consumers. Experienced advisors are readily available at all the workshops, and will enable companies to hone marketing and business development skills. Among the schemes available to smaller companies is Invest NI’s tried and proved innovation vouchers. These offer interested companies around £6,000 to link up with third level institutions such as a university or further education college, to enhance their competitiveness through new product development or other essential requirements such as packaging and nutritional information required by customers and consumers. Among the most successful and longstanding providers under the scheme are CAFRE at Loughry and Ulster University. Invest NI and Food NI staff will also be on hand to outline our extensive networking opportunities and marketing expertise for member companies. To find out more about the workshops, email michele@nigoodfood.com 18


CONSUMER INSIGHT AND MARKET UPDATE BY JASON WINSTANLEY, HEAD OF RESEARCH AND INSIGHT, MOY PARK VEGANUARY: FAD, FLEETING TREND OR HERE TO STAY? The grocery calendar has traditionally had its annual markers: spring and autumn range re-sets, Easter, Valentine’s Day, Halloween (to an increasing degree in recent years) and, of course, the big one – Christmas. To that list, we can now add the new phenomenon of the last couple of years which has taken a firm root during January – Veganuary. Veganuary is the annual campaign which encourages consumers to go vegan for the month of January. The campaign has gained increasing traction in recent years, with the organisers claiming that 400,000 consumers signed up in 2020, an increase on the 250,000 doing so in 2019 and the 350,000 that they had targeted for this year1. Impressively, they claim that, although the campaign is mainly UK-focused, they also had sign ups from almost every country in the world, barring North Korea, Eswatini (formerly Swaziland) and North Korea1. The numbers participating are certainly rising year on year and retailers and food service operators have taken note and are now heavily engaged with the event, with plenty of point of sale material,

advertising and promotions evident in support of it in the days immediately after Christmas. We can now safely assume that Veganuary has assumed its place in the grocery calendar. But despite all the publicity, it remains a minority event. Moy Park research shows that one in 20 consumers engaged with Veganuary this year, half the number who pursued a Dry January (10%) and far fewer than the proportion of consumers who said that they generally tried to eat more healthily during January (30%)2. Incidentally, the numbers claiming to have participated in Veganuary are higher than those who officially signed up, because of the number who will have participated ‘unofficially’. Still, 5% of people tried Veganuary, with around three-quarters claiming to have completed it; not an insignificant number, but also not a great deal different to the proportion of UK consumers who currently claim to be vegan, which stands at 3.5%2. So, despite now claiming its place as an important event in its own right, it’s probably fair to say that the level of attention that Veganuary receives is disproportionate to the participation. However, as a flagship of the wider

movement around meat reduction, it’s not an event which can be ignored. But it is absolutely around the wider movement where we see most of the uptake into meat-free eating. Just over half of consumers now say that they are engaging in some form of meat reduction behaviour2 but, with 94% of UK households still consuming meat, fish or poultry on a weekly basis3, the vast majority of this behaviour is in people dropping a meal or two of meat from their repertoire during the week, rather than adopting a vegan lifestyle. And why are people doing this? The key drivers of meat reduction are health and sustainability4, two mega trends which are absolutely here to stay. In the years ahead, therefore, we can expect Veganuary to remain a fixture on the calendar, but more nuanced consumer behaviour around small switches to habits to benefit health and the environment will be of far greater long-term significance. [Source: 1 – Veganuary, 2020; 2- Moy Park Research, February 2020; 3 – Kantar Usage, 52 weeks to December 2019; 4 – Moy Park research, October 2019]


amily-owned meat processor Doherty’s Meats has launched two unique savoury sausage products, Pork, Apple and Black Pudding Sausages and Pork and Stout Sausages; both of which feature 80% pork content. The company, which is based in Derry, has a successful track record of providing traditional Irish pork sausages, as well as burgers and mince, to major retailers such as Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Asda, as well as Ocado, the on-line retailer in Britain. The company also has a successful range of gluten-free sausages. The Pork, Apple and Black Pudding Sausages were highly praised by top chef Ian Orr, patron and co-owner of the high-end Brown’s Restaurant in Derry and Ardtara Country House Hotel in Maghera, Co Derry, when he used them for his recent cookery demonstration at the Slow Food Festival in Derry. The Pork and Stout Sausage is a collaboration with James Huey, the owner of the award-winning Walled City Brewery and Restaurant in the city. “These highly original products reflect our commitment to innovation as a means of setting us apart in a very competitive market sector and gives us the opportunity to work with other local producers such as Walled City Brewery,” said Brian McQuaid, sales manager, Doherty’s. Doherty’s has BRC Grade A accreditation and operates from a modern HACCP approved processing plant in Pennyburn Industrial Estate in Derry. 19




enderson Wholesale has launched its 2020 Fresh Innovation Awards programme with winners set to be announced on May 15 at this year’s Balmoral Show. The awards, now in their eighth year, honour local farmers, growers and suppliers who work with Henderson Wholesale’s Fresh Team to further improve customer product ranges in SPAR and EUROSPAR supermarkets throughout Northern Ireland. The initiative features seven categories including Own Brand Supplier of the Year which rewards food companies who help improve and revamp the enjoy local and The Kitchen brands, the Product Innovation Award highlighting those who shake up how we use local ingredients to produce homemade and entirely local ranges and the CSR focused-Tomorrow Matters Award. New for 2020 is Fresh Produce Supplier of the Year, which seeks to recognise dynamic farmers, growers and wholesale suppliers who produce and/or distribute innovative and convenient great-tasting product ranges. Other retained categories are Excellence in Regional Delivery and Overall Supplier of the Year whilst criteria for the Young Food Innovator award has been tweaked to include talented individuals aged up to 35. Television news presenter and co-host of BBC’s Home Ground programme, Jo Scott, is MC of the awards breakfast at Balmoral and awards programme judges

From left, Neal Kelly, fresh food director, Henderson Group and Gordon McAtamney from butchery company K&G McAtamney, who picked up Overall Supplier of the Year at last year’s Fresh Innovation Awards.

are food writer Sam Butler; Irish News Business Editor Gary McDonald; DAERA Head of Future Food Policy Joy Alexander; Food NI’s Michele Shirlow; and Ulster University’s Dr Lynsey Hollywood. Chair of the panel is Henderson Wholesale’s Fresh Food Trading Controller Nigel Dugan. “Our local suppliers are essential to the growth of our wholesale business and the Fresh Innovation Awards recognise and honour the pioneering work they undertake to push the boundaries in fresh food production and how they wow our customers with new and superb quality product ranges,” said Neal Kelly, fresh food director, Henderson Group.




rwin’s Bakery has announced a new promotional partnership with Northern Ireland’s leading outdoor adventure centre, Todd’s Leap. By purchasing Irwin’s Muffins, consumers will be in with the chance of winning free activities at Todd’s Leap throughout 2020 – as well as a 10% discount on online bookings. Suitable for all ages, groups and families, prizes included in the promotion at the Ballygawley-based outdoor activity destination include stay and play for a family of four, a paintball party for up to

SPAR Northern Ireland, owned by the Henderson Group, will once again support the Balmoral Show as a Platinum sponsor, offering visitors an extensive programme of family fun with taste testing from local suppliers alongside performances and entertainment in the SPAR Arena. Patrick Doody, sales & marketing director, Henderson Group, said: “We’re thrilled to once again be part of the largest show in the agri-calendar and are looking forward to showcasing our brand and our passion for local produce.” Local suppliers to Henderson Group can enter the Fresh Innovation Awards via www.freshinnovationawards.com 10 children and 50 pairs of Open Park day passes. “We are delighted to offer consumers the chance to win some fun and action-packed prizes with Todd’s Leap,” said Ruth Farrell, Irwin’s Bakery. “As a family-owned business, we recognise the importance of ensuring children and young people get outdoors as part of a healthy lifestyle and promoting the benefits of a balanced diet. “With the partnership running until June, we are hoping the on-pack promotion will attract new consumers, but also give our loyal shoppers a chance to win a fun prize and enjoy a fantastic family day out.”




rinks company Boost is reporting a record year in Northern Ireland, with an increase in sales of almost 6% in 2019. Boost, the number one-selling soft drink in the local convenience sector*, maintained its market-leading position with an incredible 1.74 million cases sold across the entire product range during the year. One key area of growth has been the continued popularity of Boost Energy Red Berry (250ml) which experienced an increase in sales of more than 8% in 2019. As a result, a larger 500ml bottle format was launched exclusively in Northern Ireland, achieving 130,601 cases since its launch in March. Air Ambulance Northern Ireland, Boost’s 2019 charity partner, benefited from a percentage of bottle sales, with a total of £25,605 raised for the service through a variety of events and initiatives such as the Three Peaks Challenge. Other sales drivers during the year included Boost Sport, the biggest selling sports drink in NI which enjoyed a yearon-year increase of 7% compared to

From left, Simon Gray, founder and MD, Boost Energy, and Gareth Hardy, MD, Hardy Sales and Marketing.

2018, and the introduction in NI only of new Boost Energy Cola in September. “2019 was an outstanding year for Boost and we continue to be amazed at the fantastic response we receive from

consumers here in Northern Ireland,” said Adrian Hipkiss, marketing director, Boost. “NI is such an important market for us as we continue our We Love Local ethos, building strong relationships with the independent sector and supporting and championing the retailers who have helped make Boost a success over the years. “Now the challenge is to build on our success in 2020 and we have lots of exciting trade and consumer projects and initiatives planned to make this happen, so watch this space.” Gareth Hardy, MD of Hardy Sales & Marketing NI, said: “We’ve been the distributors of Boost since the brand first entered the NI market and to see the products grow so successfully year on year has been incredibly exciting. “The feedback I receive from retailers and consumers is always extremely positive so it’s no surprise to see demand for Boost drinks increase.” * Source: IRI Marketplace Data Symbols and Independents 52 weeks unit sales to 1st December 2019

DALE FARM FORMS A CHARITY PARTNERSHIP WITH CANCER FOCUS NI D ale Farm and Cancer Focus From left, Roisin Northern Ireland have joined Foster, chief of forces to raise £20,000 for the charity executive Cancer Focus NI, during 2020. and Nick Whelan, chief executive of The money raised will all stay in Dale Farm Group. Northern Ireland to help local cancer patients and their families at one of the most difficult times of their lives. Staff at Dale Farm will be holding coffee mornings, a sponsored cycle between the company’s seven Northern Ireland plants, raffles and quiz nights to help raise the muchneeded cash. Cancer Focus NI will visit staff to raise awareness of cancer, carry out health free checks on its Keeping Well vans, hold health promotion seminars including advice on care in the sun, stop-smoking clinics, quick fit sessions, and help out at events such as the Balmoral Show. CEO of Dale Farm Group. “We’re looking forward to supporting Roisin Foster, chief executive, Cancer Cancer Focus NI during 2020 as part of Focus NI, said: “We are delighted that our community partnership programmes Dale Farm has come on board with and I wish everyone success in their us and we are looking forward to a fundraising efforts,” said Nick Whelan, productive and fun year working in

partnership. Our mascots, Bella the cow and our own Genevieve the healthy goat, are already firm friends. “Both organisations are passionate about giving back to the community and encouraging a healthy lifestyle. With these shared aims, we hope to raise a substantial sum of money to help us continue our valuable work supporting local people affected by cancer and spreading important health messages about prevention.” Cancer Focus NI has been supporting local cancer patients and their families for over 50 years. It also funds pioneering research at Queen’s University Belfast, advocates for better health policy and works in schools, colleges, workplaces and community venues to help people lower their risk of cancer. Anyone who has any concerns about cancer can call the Cancer Focus NI free information and support Nurse Line on 0800 783 3339 and speak to a specialist cancer nurse. 21




hite’s Oats has launched a new advertising campaign under the umbrella of You Don’t Know Oats until You Know Ours. An established brand leader of porridge oats and oat cereals, including granolas and organic mueslis, White’s has an ambitious drive for growth extending its success in Northern Ireland and unlocking growth opportunities in Great Britain and further afield. With a longstanding tradition of provenance, quality and

innovation, White’s has been investing in its branded communications, building on its authenticity whilst bringing a more contemporary relevance to the brand. Its digital marketing campaign aims to communicate the unique taste of White’s Oats in a highly distinctive way, challenging perceptions that all oats are created equal. The You don’t know oats campaign is centred on three key messages: oat knowledge, farm biodiversity and White’s growers, brought 22

to life in a fun and engaging way using a series of oat facts and aligned to taste, in order to fully engage consumers with the quality of White’s Oats and give them a motivating reason to believe. The campaign has been designed to build on its previous campaign message; Taste the Journey which highlighted the time it took to produce quality porridge oats, championing White’s heritage, milling expertise and ‘heroing’ its british and irish farmers. Running from January until April, the medium weight campaign is currently being promoted through digital channels as well as social media and PR, using a series of six 20-second video ads. An illustrated oat kernel is brought to life through animation and acts as a common thread throughout the campaign while illustration and typography dial up cues of quality and heritage. The White’s brand features in both the opening and end frames of the video to drive awareness and enhance brand recall. Through geographical and interest targeting, the campaign will reach new and relevant audiences who align with White’s brand values, encouraging trial and conversion. The campaign is being supported through the line including press, sponsorship and local events, reinforcing those key messages which support White’s online activation and keeps the brand front of mind. White’s was recently crowned the UK‘s Best Breakfast Cereal at the UK Quality Food Awards helping to support its programme of brand building and brand recognition, and importantly, cement its profile as a producer of quality oat cereals.


IFEX IS BACK AND BURSTING WITH INSPIRATION THE INDUSTRY EVENT THAT WILL BE SERVING UP IDEAS AND INNOVATION nurturing and rediscovering skills at the 2020 show. Across the three days, visitors will have the opportunity to visit the skills hub where there will be a live demo hub showcasing the very many services and opportunities available across the sector including hotel reception and housekeeping, barista championships, mixology and bartending, larder and butchery skills, bakery and patisserie and restaurant service. Flashback to IFEX 2018 - Sean Owens, director of Salon Culinaire at IFEX, Jean Christophe Novelli and Edible Art judge David Close.


FEX, Northern Ireland’s most innovative foodservice, hospitality and retail event, returns to the TEC, Belfast from Tuesday 24th–Thursday 26th March 2020 and, with over 7,000 visitors expected to attend, it’s one of the most eagerlyanticipated industry events of the year. Free to attend, registration for the show is now open. Don’t miss out: www. IFEXexhibition.co.uk A biennial event, IFEX 2020 is the prime opportunity for visitors to meet with over 200 suppliers and manufacturers, watch hundreds of chefs, baristas and drink specialists in action, and network with thousands of industry colleagues. Celebrating its 25th anniversary, IFEX, supported by Flogas and Stephens Catering Equipment, has firmly cemented its reputation as the ultimate destination for the hospitality and foodservice industry. Commenting on the importance of show support, IFEX Event Manager Caroline McCusker comments: “IFEX 2020 promises to serve up three days packed full of ideas and innovation for your business. From inspiring competitions to expert masterclasses, and an abundance of ideas, IFEX is simply the number-one event for industry professionals in the foodservice, hospitality and retail sectors.” WHAT’S HAPPENING AT IFEX 2020… NEW: WORLD SKILLS NI HOSPITALITY SKILLS HUB Together with the NI Hospitality Education Skills Hub, IFEX will be celebrating, 24

NEW: DRINKS@IFEX As well as the array of exciting food and speciality products on offer, IFEX has partnered with Hospitality Ulster to launch Drinks@IFEX. Showcasing the newest drinks and freshest innovations, all aimed at revolutionising your offering, Drinks@IFEX will feature exciting drinks producers helping visitors uncover the next big thing from new distillers and brewers. GREAT TASTE MARKET IFEX have once again partnered with The Guild of Fine Food to bring a unique opportunity for visitors to see and taste Ireland’s award-winning products, all in one place at the Great Taste Market. This year, the Great Taste Market at IFEX includes a collection of fine food and drink stalls, ranging from bakery products, tea and coffee to gins and so much more. SERVING UP TALENT Central to IFEX is Salon Culinaire, the national centre for excellence in the industry, nurturing the talent of the future through world-class competitions and expert demonstrations. Housing almost 250 industry and student chefs, skills are high on the agenda and Salon Culinaire, which raises the bar in terms of culinary skills in Northern Ireland, includes the ChefSkills Theatre, Street Food International and Edible Art. Running over the three days, the ChefSkills Theatre sees an exciting series of back-to-back, live competitions, including the hotly-contended Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs-supported IFEX Northern

Ireland Chef of the Year and Northern Ireland Junior Chef of the Year accolades. Street Food International, supported by Department for the Economy, will feature teams from NI culinary colleges going head to head to serve covers daily in a ‘real time’ restaurant. For this team competition, preparation, service, timing and teamwork are every bit as important as the quality of cooking. The winning team will offer the ‘whole package’ of hospitality skills. Long-standing Salon Culinaire Director Sean Owens comments: “This year I’m confident that we’re going to discover some extraordinarily-talented young chefs, and to have uncovered and encouraged new talent to flourish at IFEX is what the event for the food, drink, retail and hospitality industries is all about.”

Caroline McCusker, IFEX event manager; Paul Cunningham, head chef, Brunel’s restaurant and IFEX Chef of the Year 2018; and Soraya Gadelrab, IFEX event director.

The Salon Culinaire is a major part of IFEX, due to its long-standing commitment to nurture talent within the industry and the cooking competitions will sit alongside a number of other exciting features at the event. These include over 200 exhibitors showcasing the very latest in new products and services, a cold display of Edible Art and the prestigious Product of the Show awards. IFEX 2020 is taking place from Tuesday 24th March to Thursday 26th March at the TEC, Belfast. The show opens daily at 10am and runs until 6pm on Tuesday and Wednesday, and to 4pm on Thursday. Registration is now open, and you can register for FREE at www.IFEXexhibition.co.uk




sda has launched Express Click & Collect in its stores in Northern Ireland as part of its drive to make shopping easier for customers. The move, which is a first for a UK supermarket, offers customers in 11 of Asda’s 16 NI stores the opportunity to place an order online and collect it within an hour. It is part of Asda’s drive to step up the convenience factor for those looking to pick up forgotten items from the big shop or last-minute essentials, without compromising on value or time. Customers are now able to shop Asda’s full range of products online and collect them quickly from their local store. Express Click & Collect was trialled in two stores at the end of 2019, with customers using the service for everything from a small weekly shop to picking up something for dinner that night.

Earlier this year, Asda also extended its Same Day Delivery service to 284 stores to fit in with busy modern lives and give customers even more ways to get the items they need - quickly and conveniently. The rollout of both services is in response to customer feedback, which showed there was a demand for speedier ways to shop. Same Day Delivery is available to

UK addresses seven days a week – excluding peak times - and joins the variety of shopping options available to customers, including same day Click & Collect, where an order can be placed for collection after just four hours. “As modern lives have become busier and busier, our customers have told us that they want even more convenient ways to shop,” said Simon Gregg, vice president online grocery. “We have been working around the clock to introduce new services that meet their needs without compromising on price or quality, which is why we’re pleased to be rolling this service out to customers in Northern Ireland. “We’re committed to innovating in areas where customers care, with the aim of increasing choice and making it even easier to shop our great range of products.”



orldline has been selected to provide state-of-the art payment solutions to Subway outlets across Europe. Worldline’s solution includes POS and E-Commerce acceptance as well as payment terminals operating with the new NEXO retailer protocol, setting the standard for easy interoperability with all NEXO-compliant cash registers. A rollout is planned across multiple markets, starting in 2020. Easy integration of payment devices into the sales process as part of a smooth and efficient customer journey is crucial for Subway, as a large franchise organisation with a huge base of franchise owners. Worldline is the only payment

technology provider in Europe able to offer Subway a fully future-proof payment infrastructure based on the YOMANI terminal. An entirely new level of flexibility is enabled by implementing the new NEXO retailer protocol that facilitates the connection between the card payment infrastructure and the retail POS system. Worldline has been awarded a threeyear contract including POS and online acceptance. Subway and its franchise owners will benefit from Worldline’s commitment to omnichannel solutions when it comes to management information; consolidated reporting of all payment flows, regardless of their origin, provides valuable insight and decision support at all levels.

Through its intuitive onboarding portal, Worldline enables franchise owners to have the payment functionality for their business up and running in no time. Additional features include the optional DCC (Dynamic Currency Conversion) in tourist or multi-currency locations as well as POS-advertising capabilities. “In order to support our franchise owners to live up to this ambition, we strive for a maximum ease of operations, also and in particular when it comes to payments,” said Justin Goes, regional director Europe Subway International. “Working with Worldline as our central payment technology provider ensures a right performance at check-out as well as maximum flexibility now and in the future.”



icro-fulfilment is rapidly gaining momentum as a feasible distribution strategy, according to market research company Interact Analysis, which produces reports on warehouse automation. Interact Analysis’s commentary follows news Amazon’s new grocery store to open in Woodland Hills, California will include an automated micro-fulfilment centre, taking up 21% of the store’s floorspace

and operating from 6am-2am. “Historically, US grocers invested very little in warehouse automation due to their razor-thin margins,” said Rueben Scriven, lead analyst on warehouse automation at Interact Analysis. “However, when Amazon acquired Whole Foods in 2017, the industry significantly increased its investments in warehouse automation to hedge against a potential disruption by

Amazon. “Micro-fulfilment is a fulfilment solution whereby traditional brick-andmortar retailers can leverage their existing store networks and essentially bring their fulfilment operations closer to the customer by housing mini automated fulfilment centres within existing stores which significantly increases the efficiency of the order fulfilment process. 29




n a first for convenience retailing in Northern Ireland, Henderson Technology, the award-winning Henderson Group company, has integrated shopping app specialist Ubamarket and its ‘scan, pay, go’ software into their EDGEPoS system. Doing so has provided the first scanas-you-shop facility for convenience shoppers, which went live in January and 30

is being trialled at SPAR Sunnyside Street in South Belfast and Mulkerns EUROSPAR, Newry. The Ubamarket software enables shoppers to create shopping lists on their phone, be guided around the store in the quickest way possible to get their items and scan them as they shop, then make quick and easy payment at any selfcheckout in the stores.

Darren Nickels, head of Henderson Technology, added: “As well as providing an easy-to-use shopper solution, the app will be fully integrated to enhance store efficiency, back office operations, stock control and multi-site management for store owners. The scan-as-you-shop app will also work alongside our new selfcheckout points which are available in a growing number of stores. “The retailer has the potential to gain bigger sales, increase shopper loyalty, reduce overheads and make promotional activity relevant and personal to customers.” Henderson Technology has been receiving praise for its roll out of consumer-friendly apps after it partnered with the team at Gander to help food stores clear significantly more of its reduced to clear, yellow labelled food produce. The company recently won Innovative Business of the Year at the Business Eye Awards, and Mobile App of the Year at the inaugural Belfast Telegraph IT Awards. Judges said that: “Henderson Technology’s growth from an in-house IT department into a successful exporting company and a clear innovator in the field of point of sale technology made the company a stand-out winner in a highly competitive category.”




ander, a world-first, awardwinning app created to reduce food waste, has transformed the spending habits of Northern Ireland shoppers with a significant soar in downloads and increased sales of yellowstickered foods for retailers.


Earmarking Northern Ireland as the initial launch pad for the app, over 41,000 downloads have taken place in the last four months, placing it in the top 15% of apps nationally. In addition, up to 45% more reduced-price food has sold, which means 45% more has been kept from going to waste. These improvements mean that stores on average are selling between 85-100% of their reduced product shown on Gander, with yellow-stickered items selling 40% quicker since the introduction of Gander; and often at higher prices as shoppers are interested in getting the reduction as soon as it appears. Gander integrates directly with a retailer’s POS, which enables retailers to automatically display to shoppers in real-time all reduced-to-clear food on the shelves within their local store. Furthermore, Gander does this automatically, meaning nothing changes in store at all and no additional staff training. The app allows the customer ultimate control over what reduced priced goodies they search for, whether it is by location, favourite stores, reduction, food type and even dietary. Speaking on the success, one of Gander’s founders, Ashley Osborne, says: “The traction and growth of Gander has been amazing. We had expected a decent level of interest, but never envisaged the degree of downloads - especially when only trialled in Northern Ireland initially. The level of positive buy-in demonstrated by customers and retailers alike has been phenomenal and testament that Gander’s proposition is a great fit for consumers out there. “Customer feedback has been

incredibly supportive and the interest in high-quality reduced food is impressive, now that they can actually see what is available whereas previously you would have to go to the store and hope to find something reduced. Plus, shoppers are feeling empowered thanks to Gander, aiding them to be more sustainable in their shopping choices. This supports the app’s endeavour to decrease and prevent food waste and create a more sustainable environment, and has also proved highly effective. Ashley adds: “All in all this has led to not only a substantial reduction in surplus and waste, but an increase in overall sales of reduced items, with up to an 800% return on investment for a retailer using Gander.” Gander launched initially by integrating with Henderson Technology’s awardwinning EDGEPos system to display all of the yellow stickered produce from their stores in real time. Gander went live in 310 participating SPAR, EUROSPAR, ViVO and ViVOxtra stores. Due to the successful launch of Gander, it has attracted a lot of interest from additional retailers, many of whom will be rolling out with Gander in the next few months across UK and RoI. If you are interested in joining as a retail partner, please sign up on the Gander website and a member of the Gander team will get in contact with you to discuss the quick onboarding procedure. The Gander app can be downloaded via the Apple or Android app stores.



ood and drink retailers face increased consumer pressure to provide sustainable packaging options, according to new research from Tetra Pak, which polled major retailers in the UK and Ireland on their attitudes and factors driving packaging choices. Almost nine in 10 retailers said climate change concerns are affecting the packages they’re choosing to put on their shelves and Tetra Pak’s statistics indicate this pressure is largely consumer driven. A total of 97% of respondents believe their customers are taking action to reduce their ecological impact, and the same number believe it is affecting purchasing decisions. Responsible packaging has consequently become a major issue for almost all retailers, with 97% also saying it is a chief consideration when choosing a supplier. Tetra Pak’s research sheds light on the driving factors behind retailers’ packaging priorities and decision-making. The most common concern for retailers is having a package that comes from low carbon sources, with 45% citing this as a primary consideration. This is closely followed by whether packaging comes from

renewable sources (41%) and contains less plastic (38%). However, the survey also highlights a lack of understanding on the part of retailers as to what constitutes ‘low carbon’ packaging. For example, 40% of retailers erroneously believe that aluminium is the material with the lowest environmental impact, when in reality, the metal’s carbon footprint is greater than that of many plant-based alternatives. Although 77% of respondents agreed they could be doing more to offer products with packaging that has a low environmental impact, Tetra Pak’s results suggest progress will continue to be made. Almost half of respondents plan to stock products with sustainable packaging in the next two years, 43% in the next 12 months. While there is general consensus that the Government is prioritising solutions to environmental issues, the research highlights particular pressure is being placed on food and drink packaging suppliers to drive more sustainable packaging choices. Almost a third of retailers believe this demographic to be most responsible for ensuring we

have more packaging with a low environmental impact. “Our research shows that awareness of environmentally responsible packaging has increased significantly amongst retailers,” said Johan Rabe, managing director of Tetra Pak North Europe. “However, there is clearly more to be done in practical terms to lower our carbon use and facilitate a global shift towards a circular economy. “We will continue to collaborate with the industry and work to find innovative packaging solutions that will help retailers offer more sustainable packaging choices to their customers. For example, by the end of 2020, Tetra Pak aims to launch the first tethered cap solution in Europe on a Tetra Rex Plant-based package as part of a broader programme to help address the issue of plastic waste. “Ultimately, climate change and waste reduction cannot be tackled in isolation. Equipped with the correct information, suppliers, retailers and consumers alike can complete the circular economy and cooperate towards building a more sustainable future.”

MÜLLER SECURES LONG-TERM PARTNERSHIP WITH BIFFA TO DRIVE DOWN PLASTIC USE M üller has secured a long-term partnership with Biffa, which allows the dairy company to meet increased demand for packaging made from recycled materials. With demand for food grade recycled High Density Polyethylene (rHDPE) currently outstripping supply, the agreement will see Biffa continue to supply the recycled material that is used to make the dairy company’s fresh milk bottles. Müller’s rHDPE fresh milk bottles are already 100% recyclable and, following substantial investment by the dairy company to enable it to manufacture its own fresh milk packaging, up to 40% of the plastic can be made from recycled material. Müller is continuing to drive down its use of plastic and in 2019,


following an innovative lightweighting exercise, managed to remove a further 840 tonnes of plastic per annum from its fresh milk packaging. The business recently became the first dairy company in the UK to offer fresh school milk with paper straws and has committed to removing all plastic straws

from its products in 2020. “We are more positive about the future because we’re turning our fresh milk business into a lean, agile and customer centric operation,” said Brendan Power, commercial director at Müller Milk & Ingredients. “Our customers have made commitments to use an average of 30% recycled content in their plastic packaging, and consumer demand for innovative solutions continues to grow. We’re listening and aligning to their needs. “Most of our packaging is made on site, not trucked in from elsewhere. So, with this long-term supply agreement, and our unique capability to pursue further inhouse innovation, we are able to offer our customers a leading plastics proposition.”




alor BioLPG outdoor cylinders are already proving a hit with customers and they are making a major impact on Northern Ireland’s carbon emissions too. Since they were launched in Summer 2019, Calor BioLPG cylinders have reduced carbon emissions by 555 tonnes*. It is just over six months since Calor launched the first renewable gas cylinders on the market across the island of Ireland. The new renewable gas cylinders were initially targeted at the outdoor leisure market, for patio heaters and barbecues. The cylinders are available through all Calor retailers. Calor first launched BioLPG in 2018. The certified renewable gas is made from a traceable blend of renewable vegetable oils wastes and residues. Initially the product was only available to Calor’s bulk domestic and business customers, but in June 2019, the first renewable gas cylinders came to market. The 555 tonnes of carbon saved so far by Calor cylinder users is equivalent to 3,100 passengers flying from Belfast to

Manchester or the annual mileage from 375 cars or the electricity to power 400 homes. This small change being made by Northern Ireland’s retailers and their customers is already making a difference.

*This carbon saving is based on the actual BioLPG International Sustainable Carbon Certification (ISCC) carbon values, in accordance with the EU Renewable Energy Directive.


BRIEFLY OUTLINE YOUR EMPLOYMENT HISTORY TO DATE As part of my Consumer Studies degree, I completed a one-year placement at M&S Head Office in London, working in product development. When I graduated, I moved to England to work in a product development and marketing role with Samworth Brothers, a large food manufacturing group. I then spent some time in food recruitment, specialising in roles across food retail, manufacturing and brands. WHEN DID YOU TAKE UP THIS POST? I first joined Finnebrogue in 2008 when it was a small company with a small team of people and a handful of products. We had just one production line and we were on our way from being famous for Oisin venison to challenging the way sausages were made forever. In 2009 we secured the deal to supply all of M&S top tier sausages and, from then on, we have continued to learn and grow. WHAT DOES YOUR ROLE INVOLVE? At Finnebrogue, we combine groundbreaking innovation, advanced highspeed production methods and artisanal values to produce fantastic food. I work as part of a busy NPD team to develop and launch exciting new food products for M&S. I work closely with the technical, commercial and operations

teams to deliver a wide range of products across various projects. We have a fantastic team of motivated, hardworking people all striving to make our products the best they can possibly be. BRIEFLY OUTLINE A TYPICAL DAY I could be in London presenting new products to M&S or on-site in Downpatrick working on recipes and tasting samples in the kitchen. My days often involve attending trials or launches in one of our factories, meetings to discuss projects or travelling to visit suppliers to find new ingredients or packaging. I often spend time searching for inspiration in restaurants, cafes, food markets and butchers. In the past year, I have been to Holland looking for the perfect green jalapeno, Germany to see new kit for the factory and I spent a few weeks eating my way around America tasting lots of burgers and hot dogs to get ideas for summer BBQ. WHAT HAS BEEN THE PROUDEST MOMENT OF YOUR CAREER TO DATE? There have been so many great moments at Finnebrogue, it’s hard to pick just one. Seeing our products on the shelves after months, sometimes years of work, always feels like a huge achievement. I will always remember the first time one of our products was featured in the

M&S Christmas TV advert – we were all over the moon! Last year we had fun launching The Love Sausage with M&S which caused a huge stir on social media and was featured on numerous TV programmes. It was also cooked by chef James Martin for Chris Evans who tasted it live on his radio breakfast show on Valentine’s Day and thankfully it was given a big thumbs up. I am delighted to see how far our brand The Good Little Company has come since we first launched, and it makes me very proud to see how many people we are helping with our charity partners; our donations are almost at the £1m mark. WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO TO UNWIND AWAY FROM WORK? I have two little boys and a crazy beagle that keep me busy at home. I love food both in and out of work, so I enjoy cooking, eating out and visiting new restaurants. I started running a couple of years ago and I am currently training for my second half marathon. TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT YOURSELF THAT NOT MANY PEOPLE MAY KNOW In 2017 I was on the BBC Supermarket Secrets TV programme with Gregg Wallace (Masterchef judge), showing how we make our M&S Skinny Sausages.



Ivor Ferguson, president of UFU, is pictured at the House of Commons.


lster Farmers’ Union (UFU) has welcomed a provision within the Agriculture Bill regarding the legal basis for continuation of support at UK and regional levels after the UK’s departure from the EU. The funding will remain in place until a new regional agricultural support policy for Northern Ireland is determined. UFU President Ivor Ferguson spoke at the House of Commons recently, voicing his concerns about the bill, which will determine the future of the agriculture industry post Brexit. “Speaking on behalf of the UFU at Westminster, I highlighted that ultimately the future format of support for the Northern Ireland agri industry will depend on the outcome of future trade deals with the EU or other countries,” he said. “If good deals are secured, farmers may not need more support than they receive at present although the delivery format of this support could change. “If trade deals are agreed that undermine the industry and the situation is created where NI farmers are undercut by food producers operating in other countries to lower production standards, they will need much more support to keep their businesses viable.

“SPEAKING ON BEHALF OF THE UFU AT WESTMINSTER, I HIGHLIGHTED THAT ULTIMATELY THE FUTURE FORMAT OF SUPPORT FOR THE NORTHERN IRELAND AGRI INDUSTRY WILL DEPEND ON THE OUTCOME OF FUTURE TRADE DEALS WITH THE EU OR OTHER COUNTRIES.” Ivor Ferguson, UFU president “I stressed that ‘resilience support’ will have to be an integral part of possible future support measures as well as the prospect of introducing fiscal incentives on land tenure to increase investment to improve land.” A pledge has not been made within the Agriculture Bill, however, to safeguard UK food production standards. “We have a world-class reputation for food production upholding the highest food safety, environmental and animal welfare standards and our farmers need the support of Government to continue producing quality food,” said Ferguson.




lster Farmers’ Union (UFU) says confirmation of Direct Payments for 2020 is good news for farmers giving them much-needed certainty. The comments were made following the announcement by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) that famers will share £293m in Direct Payments for the 2020 scheme year. Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots declared DAERA’s plans to make full payments from October 16. “The announcement of farm funding for 2020 will be well received by our farmers who have had to endure a lack of clarity on payments for some time now,” said Ivor Ferguson, president, UFU. “The news provides them with some much-needed certainty as direct payments are crucial for any farm business and helps to ensure the production of affordable highquality food consumers demand continues.”

“It is essential for provisions to be added that will prevent food produced to standards that would be illegal in the UK being imported. If we were to allow products produced to a lower standard into the UK market, it would be devastating for our beef farmers who are already struggling to make ends meet.” Ferguson also raised the need for tracking agricultural support in the Republic of Ireland under the NI/ROI Protocol agreed by the UK and EU as part of the withdrawal agreement.

CALL FOR PROTECTION OF UK FOOD STANDARDS O ver 60 groups, including the Ulster Farmers’ Union and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), have sent a letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, calling for UK food standards to be safeguarded in all future trade policies.

UFU and RSPB are united in the belief that environmental, food and animal welfare standards maintained post-Brexit must also apply to food imported from other countries. “As we leave the EU, it is vital that we

do not compromise our environmental standards, or sign trade deals that undermine our farmers much needed efforts to restore nature across the country,” said Joanne Sherwood, RSPB NI director.


FIRST POTATO ‘EARLIES’ OF 2020 LIFTED Wilson’s Country agronomist Stuart Meredith joins father-and-son-team Derek and Ethan Erwin, digging a crop of Cultra potatoes in fields near Dundonald in Co Down.


recent spell of good weather has encouraged potato growers in Northern Ireland to get on with completion of the 2019 harvest. It’s estimated that 10% of last year’s crop is still in the ground. A case in point is North Down grower Derek Erwin, who farms with his son Ethan. Last month saw the father-andson team attempt to harvest a crop in Cultra, on the outskirts of Dundonald, which they started into last October. “The potatoes should have been lifted before the end of October last,” said Derek Erwin. “But the constant rain at that time made the completion of the harvest just impossible. “The crop was planted out in perfect conditions during the second week of May. North Down is one of the driest

parts of Co Down. We have a rain gauge on the farm. Annual rainfall levels for this part of the world usually come in at around 30 inches. For 2019, that figure increased to 45 inches. That’s 50% more rain than we would normally receive. “The rain started in earnest around the second week of June. And it never stopped for long enough to allow us get on with the harvest at the back end.” Erwin expects crop yields in the fields now being harvested will be down between 15% and 20%. “This figure is made up by a combination of winter kills and potatoes that simply rotted in the wet conditions,” he said. “However, those potatoes that are making the boxes are of surprisingly good quality. Skin finish is excellent and tuber size is very even.”

FARMING UNION MEETS WITH NI DAIRY PROCESSORS U lster Farmers’ Union (UFU) policy committee has met with leading dairy companies Dale Farm, Glanbia Cheese and Lakeland, to discuss a range of issues facing the sector. “This was the first time that the dairy processors have come together to directly engage with and hear the views of the UFU’s dairy committee,” said Ivor Ferguson, president, UFU. “We believe that this was both constructive and

mutually beneficial. “Future trading arrangements were high on the agenda. The processors voiced cautious optimism regarding our departure from the EU but also recognised the many related challenges that still exist.” UFU recently conducted an interim dairy questionnaire at the Winter Fair, finding 78% of those interviewed were not happy with their milk price and 72% favour constituent pricing.

Stuart Meredith, agronomist at Wilson’s Country, said: “Potato crops still in the ground have wintered surprisingly well. But it remains a race against time to get them harvested. Several nights of hard frost could do serious damage to these crops. And that remains a possibility, given that we are still at the beginning of February.”



lster Farmers’ Union (UFU) says the Northern Ireland agriculture industry has taken a significant financial hit in the past year with virtually all farm commodities seeing a decrease on average regarding farm income. The comments were made following the release of the first (provisional) estimate for farm incomes in 2019 by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs. The provisional income figures show that Total Income from Farming in Northern Ireland fell from £386m in 2018 to £290m in 2019. “It is a clear indicator that the uncertainty farmers have been dealing with, combined with increasing machinery, feed and fertiliser prices over the last few years, is beginning to seriously impact their farming businesses,” said Ivor Ferguson, president, UFU. “Lowland and less favoured area livestock are in real trouble.”


GLENISK LAUNCHES SCRUM-PTIOUS DISHES TO SUPPORT #EATLIKETHEM CAMPAIGN Strained Protein Yogurt range; a staple component of the performance diet of the Irish senior men’s and women’s teams. The menu features both breakfast and lunch options, as well as a selection of delicious all-day protein snacks, developed by Glenisk in collaboration with the IRFU Performance Nutrition team. Dishes include Protein Pancakes, slow-cooked Marinated Irish Beef and Vegetarian Falafel. “As a former rugby player, I understand the importance and value of a healthy and high protein diet,” said Shane Horgan, former Irish International and Glenisk ambassador. “I can also appreciate the struggle to sometimes make meals that are both nutritious and tasty.

Shane Horgan, former Irish International and Glenisk ambassador


s part of its Eat Like Them campaign, Official Yogurt of Irish Rugby Glenisk has developed a menu of 15 scrumptious high-protein dishes using the Irish



ichmond Sausages, part of Kerry Foods, has launched a new advertising campaign aimed at highlighting the universal appeal of Richmond Sausages among UK shoppers and driving excitement for its growing range of products. The TV ad demonstrates the great taste Richmond fans know and love, showing the nation coming together at mealtimes to enjoy Pork, Chicken and Meat-Free Richmond Sausages. Throughout the creative, Richmond Sausages will hero its entire portfolio. Range innovation in recent years includes branching into Chicken Sausages in 2018 and entering the meat-free market for the first time last year. Richmond’s new advertising campaign launched on February 10 during The Chase and Love Island, helping to drive mass awareness of the brand’s versatile range, including its award-winning Meat-Free Sausages. The opening scene will focus on Richmond’s newest products, Chicken and Meat-Free Sausages. The visual dramatises the sausage as it descends into different frying pans and is cooked, glistening and bubbling. The ad ends boasting a tray of succulent sausages, as one is selected for its golden-brown colour before someone takes a bite out of it. The TV advert reaffirms Richmond as the Nation’s Favourite and builds on the trust placed in its core Pork range amongst the new, broader portfolio. “As we move into 2020, we are excited about the growth of the Richmond portfolio into healthier proteins and this is helping us to demonstrate to retailers and consumers why we’re the Nation’s Favourite Sausage Brand,” said Dawn Spencer, director at Kerry Foods.


“The recipes created by Glenisk using their strained protein yogurt tick both boxes, tasting delicious and providing the right amount of protein to keep players at the top of their game. I’m delighted to be working with Glenisk again on their #EatLikeThem campaign.” Vincent Cleary, managing director of Glenisk, said: “At Glenisk, we believe in food-first nutrition for a healthy lifestyle. Since becoming partners of the IRFU in 2016, both the male and female Irish rugby teams have incorporated our product into their daily diet, specifically our range of Irish Strained Protein Yogurts which contain 0% fat and are high protein.” For more information, visit www.glenisk.com.



ivestock and Meat Commission for Northern Ireland (LMC) Industry Development Manager Colin Smith has spoken out to highlight the importance of evidence-based decisions when it comes to beef and lamb. The comments come following recent policy decisions by cancer charities to launch a ‘meat-free March’ initiative which has been met with great frustration by the industry. LMC, along with other UK levy bodies, continue to fund initiatives that help to inform consumers and policy makers. One such initiative is Meat Matters, which gathers independent research from a Meat Advisory Panel about red meat and communicates its vital role as part of a healthy balanced diet, as well as the environmental importance of sustainable agricultural practices. The Meat Advisory Panel, comprised of scientists and healthcare professionals with a broad range of expertise, works to provide peer reviewed scientific evidence to address the rising wave of misinterpretation and ill-informed commentary surrounding red meat. “Recently, there has been a series of incorrect or misinformed messages being portrayed to the public,” said Smith. “Through initiatives like Meat Matters, as an industry we can continually examine media content for red meat references and are well placed to provide an independent voice when countering any misinformed negative press or to proactively distribute good news stories about red meat.”


MAC IVORS LAUNCHES NEW ALCOHOL-FREE, LOW-CALORIE CIDER A ward-winning local cider producer Mac Ivors has launched a new product for health-conscious consumers. The company, based at Portadown, has just introduced an alcohol-free cider that’s also gluten free, low in calories and vegan friendly. With only 76 calories per bottle, it has been created by experienced cider maker Greg MacNeice, the company’s managing director, to offer an authentic and delicious cider taste while also addressing health concerns. Introduction of the new medium dry cider coincides with a new distribution agreement in the Republic of Ireland between Mac Ivors, which has collected a host of cider industry awards as well

as UK Great Taste awards, and Noreast in Dundalk, a major supplier of premium drinks to hotels and bars throughout the Republic of Ireland. “Our new alcohol-free and other established ciders are now being distributed throughout the Republic of Ireland by Noreast as well as by Drinks Inc

DINERS IN TOKYO AND DUBAI TO TASTE BALLYLISK CHEESE Dean Wright, founder and managing director of Ballylisk.


iners in high-end restaurants in Tokyo and Dubai are now enjoying luxury cheese from Ballylisk of Armagh, following the small company’s participation in a food and drink showcase organised by Invest NI. Ballylisk, based on a family dairy farm

at Tandragee, near Portadown in Co Armagh, made contacts at the meet-thebuyer event at the start of December, which led directly to the company’s first sales in Asia and the United Arab Emirates. The new export clients are taking two of the company’s cheeses, Triple Crown, a rich and distinctively-flavoured triple cream, and a smoked variety. Both are produced from cream sourced from the farm’s pedigree, grass-fed dairy herd. “We were delighted to meet buyers from Asia, the Middle East and other

in Northern Ireland,” said MacNeice. “We’re also currently exploring opportunities in Canada, Britain and other parts of Europe for the new cider.” The new cider features labelling listing all the ingredients and nutritional facts, and reflecting the company’s strategic focus on transparency and integrity. MacNeice said the company, based on the family’s apple orchards in Co Armagh, has signed the distribution deal with Noreast as part of a strategy to drive growth in sales of its entire range in the Republic, its most important market beyond Northern Ireland. Mac Ivors is also selling its ciders to Germany, France, Russia and Scandinavia, as well as Great Britain. markets at the meet-the-buyer event organised by Invest NI with support from Food NI,” said Dean Wright, founder and managing director of Ballylisk. “It’s been our experience these events really do work for us, especially in terms of new international contacts and sales. The new contacts loved the quality and tastes of our cheese and placed orders.” The company, Ireland’s only producer of triple-cream cheese, has experienced a 30% growth in sales driven by the successes in exports. The increase includes substantial growth in business with existing and new customers in the Republic of Ireland. Ballylisk of Armagh currently receives 10% of orders online but is seeking to increase this to 50% this year.



overnment funding is to continue for a Post Brexit Planning and Compliance course provided by the Institute of Export & International Trade and available to all businesses in Northern Ireland. The Government grant support means that all businesses can send their team members for free. The funding is limited, and it is expected that the funds will be used up before the deadline of January 2021. Northern Ireland exported £5.4bn in goods to the EU in the year up to September 2019, compared to £4.8bn to non-EU markets. It is essential that

businesses in the region gain the skills needed to continue trade into Europe in 2021. Failure to comply with new rules and regulations risks delays at the border, goods being impounded, reputational damage, hefty fines, and in the worst cases imprisonment. The Government grants can be used for any IOE&IT training course offering essential skills which are needed for continued trade into Europe once the implementation period finishes at the end of 2021. The Institute’s new course is the latest addition to its suite of courses created to equip businesses with the knowledge

they need to stay on top of an everchanging regulatory landscape. Businesses need to be able to manage and reduce risks throughout their supply chains, with coronavirus, Australian bushfires, and the US-China trade war all impacting recently. The opportunity to gain export skills for free, through the grant funding, is therefore one that businesses should look to exploit. For more information, visit https://www. export.org.uk/page/customsgrants, email institute@export.org.uk or call 01733 404400.




Here at Kärcher Center Belfast, we tailor our products to your needs using our expertise from over 30 years of working in the industry, coupled with the high level of training all our staff receive. For example, our specialisation is floorcare. This can be tailored by differentiating the type of head that is on the scrubber dryer. There are two main methods disc heads and roller brush heads. There are advantages to each setup, and disc head machines rotate at a slower speed than roller brush setups; therefore, they are more

suited to smoother surfaces great for polishing. The type of head that is utilised will be dictated by the environment it is going into; this also includes tailored pad sizes and abrasiveness. Roller brush head machines are more suited to surfaces that are uneven and have pores within them. Like the disc machines, the length and abrasiveness of the brush heads can and will be tailored to best suit your needs, saving you time and money almost immediately.

PRODUCT OVERVIEW: KÄRCHER BR 35/12 C BP SCRUBBER DRYER: The Kärcher BR 35/12 C Bp Scrubber Dryer is highly manoeuvrable due to its 200-degree rotatable head. Using Kärcher’s Kart technology, this feature allows for user-friendly and easily maintained cleaning, making it a highly professional and efficient tool for cleaning narrow areas and cluttered surfaces. This product can also clean in reverse, making it ideal for small to medium-sized retail environments, it also features a new lithium-ion battery, with an onboard charger that takes a charge time of up to two hours. It is 35% lighter than any other device in its unit class, facilitating transport for everyone in the workplace and features a vacuum function to suck up small debris and all water residue. You can lease this product from just £1.77 per day over a four-year contract, and this price includes servicing for the duration of the lease.

PRODUCT OVERVIEW: KÄRCHER BD 50/50 C BP PACK CLASSIC: The Kärcher BD 50/50 C Bp Pack Classic walk-behind scrubber dryer is perfect for medium-sized retail environments with its long battery life, making it perfect for multiple shift rotation. This product was also designed with the user in mind with all controls located on the specially designed Kärcher EASY – control panel, and it also features the Kärcher two-tank system allowing the dirty water tank to be hygienically emptied by all members of staff. You can lease this product for just £2.10 per day over a four-year period, and this price includes servicing for the duration of the lease. 42

ADVERTORIAL PRODUCT OVERVIEW: KÄRCHER’S BD 50/70 R BP PACK CLASSIC: Kärcher’s battery-operated ride-on scrubber drier with disc brush technology is extremely easy to manoeuvre and transport, thanks to its slim, compact design - it boasts a tiny 1.6m turning circle and can easily negotiate lifts. Driven by powerful batteries, this affordable entrylevel model delivers a practical and price-competitive alternative to walk-behind machines. Its simple operation and control elements are as impressive as the many more sophisticated features typical of the non-classic range. You can lease this product from only £5.48 per day over a four-year period, and this price includes servicing for the duration of the lease. SERVICE, CONTRACT HIRE AND SITE DEMONSTRATIONS: All leasing prices listed above include a service package, which can be added to the outright purchase for an additional cost. It ensures that from the point of purchase, your new Kärcher machine is serviced once a year for three years by an approved Kärcher engineer. Site demonstrations are carried out for free at the time that suits our customers. Following this, if a purchase is made, a trained engineer will deliver and install the products for free. Also here at Kärcher Center Belfast as standard, we train your staff to use our products at no additional cost. If you have questions, do not hesitate to call 02890667333 or email stephen@karcher-center-craigmore.co.uk

TESTIMONIAL FROM ANDREW PORTER OF CREIGHTON’S HOW DID YOU FIND OUT ABOUT KÄRCHER BELFAST? We subscribe to the Ulster Grocer, and we had seen the work carried out with Andrew Davis another SPAR franchise owner, and the work with the Old Bushmills Distillery, which is why we approached Stephen Anderson at Kärcher Center Belfast. There has been only good feedback, and with them being so close to one of our three stores, it just made sense to change supplier. Also, their state-of-theart showroom on Boucher Crescent gave me great peace of mind that we are making the right decision to change as everything is of an extremely high standard. IN YOUR OWN WORDS, WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF USING KÄRCHER EQUIPMENT? The Kärcher name is massive. With it being a global brand, we knew they were high-quality products, but we didn’t think they were here in Belfast until we saw the Ulster Grocer. Floorcare was our primary concern, and Kärcher Center Belfast specialises in that area so immediately I knew we were in good hands. The BR 35/12 C Bp is an excellent floor scrubber that is highly manoeuvrable, making it perfect for all three sites because they are so busy. Furthermore, the fact that it has a lithium-ion battery means that there is no cable which will prevent trips or falls. The Br 45/22 C Bp is a bigger, slightly more efficient scrubber dryer compared to the Br 35/12 C Bp which is what made it perfect for the site at Balmoral, which is the largest of the three sites. The KM 70/20

push behind sweeper that we bought for the shopfront and forecourt areas is superb value for money, and it is extremely user friendly so all the staff can use it and does an excellent job. Overall, the Kärcher equipment is second to none, and the results I have seen from the free site demonstration had me convinced there and then. WHY WAS THE SERVICE PACKAGE APPEALING TO YOU? The service package was appealing to us because of the extra peace of mind that it offers. Across all three sites, we strive for excellence in everything that we do which has been a big ingredient in the success recipe that we have used so far. Having the service package means that we can maintain our new equipment as it includes three free services as standard on equipment that has been tried and tested in the industry, which in turn allows us to maintain the excellent standard of cleanliness and hygiene across all of the Creighton’s sites. WOULD YOU RECOMMEND KÄRCHER CENTER BELFAST TO OTHER RETAILERS? Yes, I most definitely would. My experience with Kärcher Center Belfast has been superb. Stephen and Neil have over 30 years of experience combined, working with the Kärcher equipment, and this wealth of knowledge and outstanding service is second to none. I am looking forward to a great partnership with the team, and I would urge anyone who is seeking to improve their cleaning solutions to give Stephen a call.

TESTIMONIAL FROM ANDREW DAVIS, OWNER OF TITANIC SPAR AND 77 RETAIL “Once I heard that Kärcher had opened up in Belfast, I immediately thought they might have a floor care solution for myself and many other SPAR owners, who have made significant investments into flooring, not knowing the best solution to maintain the floor. At my Titanic Store, I have over 15,000 customers a week which means a lot of cleaning is required to maintain the floor, and the Kärcher BR 45/22 C Bp provided by Stephen Anderson has significantly improved the appearance of the store while also greatly decreasing the time needed to clean it. I would urge any SPAR owner to use Kärcher Belfast for their expertise and excellent after-sales service.”




arr Facilities Management has been named a trusted maintenance provider by Co-op across its food and funeralcare estate, covering sites across the North of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The partnership between Parr FM and Co-op will encompass facilities management works across a diverse range of disciplines including fabric, mechanical and electrical management services as well as specialist services where required. “Parr Facilities Management boasts a

wealth of experience providing electrical and mechanical management services to retail, healthcare and hospitality sectors throughout the UK and Ireland,” said Ivan Morley, facilities management director. “Winning another contract with one of the UK’s most trusted brands was certainly a highlight of 2019 and reinforces our continued growth across mainland UK. “We look forward to supporting the team at Co-op sites across the UK and Northern Ireland beginning this month to enable them to maintain their excellent



overnment research into apple production in the heart of the Orchard County has stopped due to budget pressures. The Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) has confirmed it’s stopped its apple production research work in Loughgall, the Co Armagh village at the centre of apple-growing in Northern Ireland. However, AFBI said it would continue to provide some services to apple growers. The proliferation of orchards in rural parts of Co Armagh has led to it being known as the Orchard County. Its Bramley apple has protected geographical indication (PGI) status from the EU. Growers range from small farmers to major companies like P McCann & Sons. AFBI said it had been winding down the apple research in Loughgall since 2015. Its decision to stop the work completely was first reported in the Ulster Gazette. UUP councillor Jim Speers told the newspaper that he would raise the matter with the area’s council. He added: “I certainly don’t want to see the apple 44

industry stand still.” AFBI said other work would continue in Loughall, including research on grass breeding, beef and sheep production, mushroom production and agro-forestry research. It said that, in 2015, budget pressures in the public sector affecting AFBI and its parent the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) meant that no further work was commissioned. In addition, no funded industry work was received. “However, AFBI remains in contact with the apple industry as AFBI has a number of areas of expertise and services which can support the industry including food research, entomology, plant health (including apple scab monitoring in conjunction with CAFRE), and biodiversity. “With regards to the future of the site, DAERA currently own the lands on which AFBI Loughgall is sited and represents the key funder of work at the site. “AFBI is working closely with DAERA on any future plans for the AFBI Loughgall site.”

standard of customer satisfaction and experience.” Parr Facilities management launched in Belfast in 2007 and chose Greater Manchester as the base for its UK-wide operation. It has invested in new offices in Bolton, and staff and infrastructure across the UK, with an estimated 60% increase in its workforce over the past year to support a number of big business wins within its FM division including contracts with Co-op, BUPA and Whitbread. These contracts have contributed to a quadrupled turnover within this period of growth. Parr Facilities Management currently employs over 100 members of staff across its Belfast and Manchester operational bases.



ormer Premier League footballer Andy Cole will be speaking at FTA’s annual Northern Ireland Andy Cole Logistics Lunch, to be held at the Merchant Hotel in Belfast on Friday, June 5. “We are thrilled to have secured Andy Cole as post-lunch entertainment at this annual event,” said Seamus Leheny, policy manager for Northern Ireland at FTA. “His illustrious career as a professional footballer, which has seen him go down in history as one of English football’s most talented players, will make for an insightful and inspirational talk for sports fans and non-sports fans alike. “The annual lunch is the perfect forum at which to recognise industry achievements, network with peers, enjoy a delicious three-course lunch and informally debate the key issues and opportunities facing logistics with logistics experts from across the province.” The event also serves as a fundraiser for PIPS Charity, a Belfast-based organisation providing suicide prevention and bereavement support services, counselling and therapies throughout Northern Ireland. For more information or to book a place, visit fta.co.uk/PRnillunch




lobal agri technology company Devenish has expanded its business operations in Central America within the Latin American region. Headquartered in Belfast, Devenish is recognised as a leading provider of environmental, animal and human health solutions and a key influencer in driving health and sustainability throughout the food chain in response to the growing consumer demand for safe, nutritious food. Established in 1952, Devenish has manufacturing sites across Ireland, the UK, USA, Turkey and Uganda, and employs more than 700 people worldwide. The company trades in over 50 countries, specialising in optimising nutrients across the food chain to proactively improve food quality, human health and the environment. As part of its global growth strategy, Devenish has recently strengthened

From left, Enrique Artiga, regional sales manager, Devenish; Ian Atterbury, managing director, Devenish International; and Dr Jorge Pena, regional manager, LATAM, Devenish.

its international presence with the appointment of Enrique Artiga as regional sales manager for Central America. He will support Dr Jorge Pena, regional manager for LATAM, in growing the business throughout Latin America. The company opened its first office in Chile last year and business has been growing steadily in the region since. “We’re pleased to welcome Enrique

to the team as we further expand our business throughout the Latin America region,” said Dr Jorge Pena, regional manager for Latin America. “With over 14 years’ experience, Enrique has a wealth of knowledge on animal nutrition and the local markets, so he is well placed to help further grow our business in the region. I would like to take this opportunity to wish him all the best in his new role.”

MÜLLER APPOINTS STRATEGY DIRECTOR M üller Yogurt & Desserts has appointed Michael Inpong as strategy director to help accelerate sustainable and profitable growth of the yogurt brand. The new role sits alongside his current responsibilities as chief marketing officer and begins with immediate effect. Müller manufacturers major brands including Müller Corner, Müllerlight and Müller Rice, produces chilled desserts under licence from Mondelez International and supplies the UK private label yogurt market from a dedicated state-of-the-art yogurt facility. The creation of the strategy director role follows the recent senior appointments of Jonathan Piper as commercial director,

Brand and David Hollins as commercial director, Private Label & Food Service. “Müller is the nation’s favourite yogurt brand and we are taking significant organisational steps to continue strengthening our core brands, develop Michael Inpong a leading private label proposition and innovating to target parts of the category where we have limited our no presence,” said Bergen Merey, chief executive officer at Müller Yogurt & Desserts. “We have already created our best ever Müller Corner and Müllerlight

recipes, launched our biggest ever marketing campaign, aligned our commercial organisation with the rapidly changing needs of the market we serve, and completed a substantial investment in Telford, which enables us to make an additional 500m pots of yogurt per annum. “Alongside making great tasting products that are made in Britain with milk from British farms, we will focus on developing and executing a number of strategic initiatives that are not only designed to add taste to life, but will deliver both medium and long term profitable and sustainable growth.”

SHELFLIFE To see your product featured in Shelf Life, contact Chris Keenan at c.keenan@independentmagazinesni.co.uk or Tel: 028 9026 4267


P Snacks, the UK’s second-largest branded snacks manufacturer[1], has launched its biggest ever crossbrand promotion. The campaign offers shoppers the chance to win a Next Level Lunch, with thousands of great taste experiences up for grabs including five fabulous prizes of lunch at a skyscraper in either New York, Dubai, Bangkok or Tokyo. Running until May 31, the promotion will run on more KP Snacks products than any previous promotion, featuring across £1 PMPs and Grab Bags of Nik Naks and Skips, and various Grab Bags, PMPs and multipacks of



lobal snacking company pladis is giving its £65.9m household-name brand, McVitie’s Jaffa Cakes, an ontrend makeover with the launch of McVitie’s Jaffa Cakes Pineapple. This fruity new flavour from one of the nation’s favourite sweet biscuit brands will offer shoppers a tasty take on the classic snack. McVitie’s Jaffa Cakes Pineapple will comprise the same light sponge, coated in delicious milk and dark chocolate, with a new, zingy pineapple centre for a tropical twist. By capitalising on the pineapple flavour trend, which has grown 26% in the last three years, McVitie’s Jaffa Cakes Pineapple will drive interest amongst younger shoppers seeking playful, contemporary flavours. “McVitie’s Jaffa Cakes Pineapple will offer consumers a trendy twist on the much-loved classic,” said Emma Stowers, brand director for McVitie’s at pladis UK&I. “We want to encourage even more shoppers to get behind the brand, and we’re confident that the launch of McVitie’s Jaffa Cakes Pineapple will help the brand appeal both to a new generation of consumers and existing Jaffa Cakes fans seeking something a little bit different.” McVitie’s Jaffa Cakes Pineapple will be available in a single pack format consisting of 10 Jaffa Cakes, across major grocery retailers from February 2020.

McCoy’s and Hula Hoops. The cross-brand promotion includes an instant win mechanic, with thousands of prizes available. Five money-can’t-buy experiences will allow winners to quite literally take their lunch to the next level. Winners choose from a bucket-list lunch at either One World Observatory, New York or Burj Khalifa in Dubai, a 345m high lunch at Tokyo Skytree, or the world’s highest alfresco lunch at the State Tower in Bangkok. The top prizes will include flights and accommodation. Thousands of £50 vouchers for popular UK restaurants are also available to win. Source: [1] Nielsen Scantrack –25.01.20



pplying a WKD twist to a trend which has had something of a transformational effect on modern drinking, brand owner SHS Drinks is to launch WKD Dark Fruit. Available in early spring, this permanent addition to the WKD range harnesses the power of the easily understood ‘dark fruit’ concept and delivers it to an RTD audience. The new variant will build on what was a hugely successful 2019 for WKD, with brand volumes in Northern Ireland growing throughout the year1 and achieving +19% in the final quarter2. Aligned to existing brand variants in terms of ABV, retail pricing, and bottle sizes (i.e. 4% ABV, 275ml and 700ml), WKD Dark Fruit will generate further momentum for Northern Ireland’s No.1 RTD3, growing the category and building incremental sales for stockists. The new flavour will also appear in a 4x275ml format and in £2.99 pricemarked 700ml, exclusively for independents. Rolling out across all trade channels, WKD Dark Fruit will be supported by a comprehensive, brand-wide package comprising in-outlet media, prominent off-shelf display, POS kits, social media engagement and digital advertising. All facets will embrace suitably WKD tongue-in-cheek messaging. Source: 1 Nielsen Total NI (incl. Musgraves) RTD category volume (L) growth MAT 28.12.19 vs 29.12.18; 2 Nielsen Total NI (incl. Musgraves) RTD category volume (L) growth 12 weeks to 28.12.19 vs 29.12.18; and 3 Nielsen Total NI (incl. Musgraves) RTD category volume (L) and value (£) MAT 28.12.19 vs 29.12.18.






Grocers’ Ball 2020 Featuring

22ND MAY 2020



Q&A TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF My name is Louis Ludik and I am a South African who has been playing professional rugby for Ulster over the past five and a half years. I am also the co-owner of Hellbent, which has developed South African Boerewors sausages and spicy burgers and meat balls. I’ve been playing professionally for 14 years.


Louis Ludik (left) with business partner Schalk van Der Merwe.

WHAT DOES A TYPICAL DAY INVOLVE? My day job is rugby of course, which starts with a gym session in the morning that includes strength and power training. We then have a couple of meetings where we review the game we played over the weekend and then preview the game that’s coming up. We have lunch together as a team. There’s another team meeting after lunch to discuss the plan and goals. I’ll usually have a meeting later in the afternoon about the development of Hellbent with my business partner Schalk van Der Merwe and deal with calls and emails about the business in the evening. WHAT HAS BEEN THE HIGHLIGHT OF YOUR CAREER TO DATE? Winning two Currie Cups in South Africa with the Sharks and being called up for the Springboks. In business, it’s the successful development and launch of Hellbent; especially being listed by the Henderson Group for EUROSPAR stores as well as winning business with local delis such as Arcadia. I am aiming to build a career with Hellbent after my rugby ends. WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT YOUR JOB? Being able to get paid for playing the sport I love and I’m very passionate about. WHAT IS YOUR MOST DIFFICULT TASK? To train when I am very sore and tired after a tough game. WHAT IS THE BEST ADVICE YOU HAVE EVER RECEIVED? You only have one name, protect it. WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST GRIPE? People not doing their job. WHAT TALENT WOULD YOU LIKE 50

TO HAVE? To be incredibly wise.


WHAT ARE YOUR FUTURE PLANS/ AMBITIONS? To build a very successful business and be a great dad and husband.



HOW DO YOU RELAX? Watching a movie and eating pizza with my wife.

Profile for Helen Wright

Ulster Grocer March 2020  

Ulster Grocer March 2020

Ulster Grocer March 2020  

Ulster Grocer March 2020