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



shopping bonanza enjoyed by border-based stores this past Christmas could become a relic of the past, and food prices could potentially soar, in the event of a no-deal Brexit. Joining a mounting list, which also includes cross-border trade and availability of non-national labour, the concerns have been aired after the vote on Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal was postponed until the week of January 14. With a no-deal scenario increasingly likely, Bank of England Governor Mark Carney warned it could result in shopping bills rising by as much as 10% (see p6),

while a survey by accountancy firm RSM has highlighted the negative impact of any return to a hard border on crossborder shopping. Cross-border shopping is said to contribute an annual £40m to the Northern Ireland economy, led by grocery and alcohol sales and boosted by sterling’s devaluation after the Brexit referendum. Cathal Austin, manager at The Quays shopping centre in Newry, said crossborder trade represents between 25% and 30% of sales, with Sainsbury’s and Marks & Spencer two of the “big draws”. “On a flat week, 25% of Quays

shoppers are from the Republic; in the last quarter of the year it will grow to 45% from now until Christmas,” said Austin. Other border towns benefitting from cross-border shoppers include Enniskillen and Derry, with RSM’s survey suggesting shoppers from the Republic of Ireland cross the border for groceries, clothes and home and electric goods. Just under 60% of respondents to its survey said they would be less likely to do their shopping in Northern Ireland if there was a hard border, with the same number believing Brexit would have a negative impact on Northern Ireland’s economy.



ith the Brexit deal vote postponed from December to January, and prospects said to be increasing for a nodeal Brexit, here’s what industry had to say: Glyn Roberts, Retail NI: “While it was very clear that the Prime Minister would have lost the vote on the draft deal, its postponement and more negotiations with th EU causes ever more instability for the economy and the business community. The business community recognises that the draft deal was far from perfect but was far better than a disastrous no deal. There is no good Brexit deal and the best we can hope for is damage limitation for the economy.” Seamus Leheny, Freight Transport Association: “We can’t







take the risk of thinking everything is fine then crash out on no-deal without anyone having done any preparations. Here’s what we’re telling people - brace yourself. You need to do audits of your operations, your supply chains, your routes, and look not just at the Irish context of your cross-border operation, but also at your international operations.” Ivor Ferguson, Ulster Farmers’ Union: “A ‘no-deal’ Brexit is a very risky outcome and would have disastrous consequences for farming in Northern Ireland. Farmers would face up to 90% tariffs on exports and unfair competition in the UK market from lower standard food products imported from outside Europe.”






email: Volume 54, Number 1 JANUARY 2019 Editor: Alyson Magee E: Tel: 028 9026 4175 Contributors: Michele Shirlow, Donald C McFetridge Sales Manager: Chris Keenan E: Tel: 028 9026 4266 Art Editor: Helen Wright Production Manager: Irene Fitzsimmons Ulster Grocer c/o Independent News & Media Ltd, Belfast Telegraph House 33 Clarendon Road Clarendon Dock Belfast BT1 3BG @ulstergrocer Subscriptions: £27.50 per annum £37.50 per annum (outside UK) Designed & Produced by: Independent News & Media Ltd Tel: 028 9026 4000 Printed by: W&G Baird, Antrim Tel: 028 9446 3911 Latest ABC figures state that Ulster Grocer has an average net circulation of 5,846 per edition (1 July 2017 to 30 June 2018) Independent News & Media Ltd ©2017. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or stransmitted in any form, or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise without the prior permission of Independent News & Media Ltd.




etail NI enjoyed its most successful year yet in 2018. Our Independents’ Day campaign on July 4 was bigger and bolder than ever before, we co-hosted the largest ever Northern Ireland economy event at Westminster and our Regeneration NI conference at Queen’s was standing room only. We also stopped the proposed 10% business rate hike and the plans to dump the Small Business Rate Relief Scheme. Retail NI also successfully lobbied the UK government for £2m to help rejuvenate Belfast City Centre after the Primark fire and secured compensation for Retail NI members impacted by the store closure and the cordon. Despite Stormont being down, this hasn’t stopped us standing up for our members at every level of government. Our President Peter McBride met the Prime Minister in Fermanagh to discuss Brexit and the many other challenges facing our members. We have also met the Chancellor, Taoiseach, Secretary of State for NI and had meetings with over 100 ministers, MPs and members of the House of Lords. At our recent Regeneration NI conference, co hosted with QUB, the UK High Streets Minister, Jake Berry MP, launched our comprehensive plan to create 21st century high streets. Our plan also sets out how our members can get a fair deal on business rates, car parking and infrastructure. Retail NI’s top priority remains fixing our broken and antiquated system of business rates. The Rethinking Business Rates

proposals presented by the last Finance Minister, which were based on ideas put forward by Retail NI and Hospitality Ulster, need to be a top priority. The recent UK Budget announced that English independent retailers would be receiving a rate reduction of one third, with our members in Northern Ireland receiving absolutely nothing. Retail NI members deserve the same as their English counterparts. 2019 will be a critical year for our members and the wider economy. The instability of both Brexit and not having a Stormont government in place is causing no end of difficulties for the business community in Northern Ireland. We need a Brexit deal and the beginning of meaningful talks to restore devolved government as urgent priorities. We cannot have a third year of no government. In 2019, we have local council elections. Retail NI will be using this as opportunity to push our Regeneration NI plan with candidates and political parties ensuring our town centres and high streets are top of their political agenda. The next rates revaluation will have moved into a critical phase and we will be working with our members and Land and Property Services to ensure the mistakes of the last process are avoided. With the invaluable support of our retail, wholesale and supplier members, Retail NI is committed to deliver even more for independent retailers in 2019. Watch this space.

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Happy New Year from all the team at Ulster Grocer. We hope you have enjoyed strong trading over the festive period, and 2019 is getting off to a good start. Welcome to our January Yearbook, the biggest and most comprehensive edition of the year. And I hope you’ll allow us the indulgence of again highlighting the 33% year-on-year boost to our circulation figures in the latest ABC figures to a monthly average of 5,846 controlled circulation copies going out to the trade; many of which are shared around offices boosting actual readership figures to a much higher level. These figures place us well ahead of any competitor title in the Northern Ireland grocery market, while we are also the only title with ‘controlled’ circulation; ie, the magazines go out to named individuals and businesses in the grocery industry who have requested a subscription. So, what will you find in the Yearbook? As well as our useful annual directory listings at the back end of the magazine, you will find it packed with news and profiles reflecting on the past year and offering projections and plans for 2019. As usual, we kick off with our Year in Pictures reviewing the key events

and developments in 2018, before moving onto an extensive portfolio of commentaries. Twenty-one grocery industry stakeholders from retail groups and food and drink producers and wholesalers to marketing and development agencies are featured, providing an expansive overview of the current state of play in the Northern Ireland grocery and agri-food sectors. Within the commentaries, you’ll find much in the way of investment, innovation and general excellence but, of course, one issue of overriding concern: yes, you guessed it… the dreaded ‘B’ word. Our farmers, producers, suppliers, retailers and ancillary service providers have made such amazing strides in recent years, investing in their products and sites and really elevating their offer in both domestic and export markets. And, as you’ll see from the commentaries, many are poised for further investment but with much trepidation as the likelihood of no-deal Brexit increases. The continued absence of Stormont, two years on, is of course another source of much frustration. As our news stories highlight, crossborder shopping and food prices are among many concerns swirling around Brexit and a no-deal scenario. And, just as the Yearbook is going to print before Christmas, the UK government’s publication of a White Paper setting out proposals for a postBrexit, skills-based immigration system has been ill-met by many in the business community. Home Secretary Sajid Javid said the proposals are aimed at maximising the benefits of immigration while ending the free movement of EU citizens and did highlight the UK government would make every effort to address Northern Ireland’s ‘special challenges’. However, as the Northern Ireland Food and Drink Association’s Michael Bell lays out in his commentary, the number of EU workers in Northern Ireland has fallen by 20% over the last 18 months and agrifood employs anywhere from 50% to

90% non-nationals in peak season. Those figures would definitely add up to some ‘special challenges’ around immigration. Ulster Farmers’ Union has also spoken out to highlight that any return to a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland would be ‘disastrous’ for Northern Ireland’s farmers. With no deal, border checks on movement of cattle, and food and drink, could potentially be implemented from the March 29 Brexit date, although the UK government has pledged this will not happen. The Irish government has released its own no-deal plan, identifying the agrifood sector as particularly at risk, with hundreds of thousands of livestock, and litres of milk, crossing the border annually amongst other food and drink products and associated services. Beyond Brexit, the retail sector is facing its own tumultuous circumstances, as analysed by retail expert Donald C McFetridge is his illuminating profile on p8, Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold. Things are falling apart for the retail sector, says McFetridge, and rationalisation of store portfolios will likely continue in 2019. McFetridge is talking largely about the major multiples, however, and our profiles of cover star the Henderson Group and a number of the symbol operators including Mace and Centra (Musgrave) and Today’s (Savage & Whitten) suggest greater stability, confidence and ongoing expansion among our home-grown grocery operators. Long may it continue. And elsewhere in the Yearbook, strong innovation is apparent in the food and drinks sector from award-winning artisans through to multi-nationals, and sustainability a big focus across the agrifood news pages. We can only go into 2019 hoping for the best, and prepared for the worst.





iscount supermarket retailer Lidl has continued its growth in the Northern Ireland market, with sales up 9% over the last year (pre-Christmas). Information service Kantar Worldpanel said shoppers at Lidl’s 38 stores in the province were also spending more in the supermarket, with an average spend of £15.38, up by over £2 on last year. It also revealed a surge of almost 5% in sales of confectionery in the province. Tesco, with around 50 stores in Northern Ireland - ranging from large Tesco Extra superstores to smaller local shops - held onto the number one spot. Its share went up by 0.1 of a percentage point to 35.3%. And its closest rival, Sainsbury’s, increased its share by 0.1%,

giving it 17.4% of the market. Sainsbury’s, which has 14 stores in Northern Ireland, also put more space between it and Asda, which now has 17% of the market and 17 stores. Asda and Sainsbury’s are planning a £12bn merger but have asked the Competition and Markets Authority for more time to respond to the watchdog’s queries about their potential deal. “The average shopper visited Tesco three times more often during the past year, generating an additional £54.1m for the retailer,” said Douglas Faughnan, consumer insight director at Kantar Worldpanel. “Sainsbury’s on the other hand was the only grocer to see a rise in overall shopper


numbers - 69% of Northern Irish households visited a Sainsbury’s in the most recent 12 months, up 5.3% on last year. In addition, both grocers benefited from shoppers paying a higher average price per pack.” Despite the growth of the big players, he said expansion in Lidl’s sales of 9% over the year left it as Northern Ireland’s fastestgrowing retailer and secured it market share of 5.8%. The research also showed growth of nearly 5% in sugar confectionery and 2.8% in chocolate. “Far from leaving a bitter taste in the mouth, savoury treats also performed well in the past 52 weeks, with sales of crisps growing by 2.6% and nuts by 3.2%,” said Faughnan.



hopping bills could surge by up to 10% if the UK crashed out of the EU, Bank of England boss Mark Carney has warned. Carney told MPs on the Treasury Select Committee that increased tariff prices, import costs and a sharp fall in the value of the pound would send food prices soaring “quite quickly”. In the most extreme no-deal scenario, he said shopping bills could rise by up to 10%, but even in an orderly no-deal withdrawal, with a transition period, he said grocery prices could rise by 6%. The warning came as he defended the Bank’s apocalyptic Brexit forecasts, saying some of the criticisms were “unfair”. Carney said there was “no exam crisis” with teams of experts at the Bank behind the Brexit impact analysis, which he stressed was only published at the Treasury Select Committee’s request. Carney’s comments follow the Bank’s stark warning on the havoc a no-deal Brexit could wreak, with the worst-case scenario sending Britain into a recession worse than the financial crisis. The Bank’s Brexit report said a cliff-edge Brexit could see growth fall by up to 8%, the pound crash, inflation soar, interest rates jump, unemployment skyrocket and send house prices down by nearly a third. 6

From left, Glenda Hanna, assistant manager, EUROSPAR Donegall Road; Brian Shanks, corporate partnership manager, Simon Community; David Miskimmin, area manager, Henderson Retail; and Michael Barr, store manager, EUROSPAR Wallace Village.


group of Lisburn retailers have come together to raise money for two local charities this Christmas. Both the Simon Community and Laurel Hill Day Centre are set to benefit from the retailers’ fundraising efforts with campaigns taking place in 12 stores in the Lagan Valley area throughout December. With the issue of homelessness becoming much more prevalent in towns across Northern Ireland, Louise Jennings, duty manager of EUROSPAR, Wallace Village, wanted to do something to tackle this growing epidemic and approached other SPAR and EUROSPAR stores in the area to see if they would be willing to lend their support. The stores collected everything from non-perishable food items to toiletries and small Christmas gifts which were presented to the Simon Community on December 14, giving them enough time to distribute to those in need before Christmas.



From left, James, Albert and Spencer Pau officially open the new Asia Supermarket.


elfast’s successful Asia Supermarket officially opened its new site on the Ormeau Embankment last month, creating 12 new jobs for the area. Brothers Albert and Spencer Pau, who opened the original Asia Supermarket 35 years ago, have made a multimillionpound investment into the new

22,693-square-foot warehouse and adjoining 25,705-square-foot retail outlet, spanning two floors. The new site, part of which was acquired from the Department for Communities, boasts increased capacity for the business’ successful retail, cash & carry and warehousing facility.

It also offers extended car parking facilities and a café. The brothers, whose children are also employed within the business, have worked with the developers, architects and contractors to ensure energy efficient technology and the most up-to-date equipment have been used to enhance the shopping experience on site. Both came from Hong Kong to Belfast in the 1970s, and described the upgrade as a symbol of the family’s ambition to create a unique space for shoppers and traders here. A joint statement by the brothers reads: ‘When we first opened the Asia Supermarket in 1983, it was designed to bring a taste of home by bringing the Chinese culture through Chinese cuisine to the local community in Belfast, and to provide authentic and tasty ingredients for the hospitality trade here. ‘We also provide Indian, Korean, Philippine, Thai & Middle Eastern food, and are always looking for opportunity to extend our range. ‘The business has grown steadily over the decades, and it has been our ambition to open this state-of-the art, bespoke retail and warehouse facility designed to meet both our business needs and those of our customers.’



hoppers at supermarkets which removed sweets and crisps from checkouts purchased almost a fifth less of the unhealthy products, a study has found. Researchers at British universities found that 17% fewer small packages of sugary confectionery, chocolate and crisps were bought and taken home from supermarkets after they introduced policies to limit unhealthy foods at the tills. A ‘dramatic reduction’ in the number of purchases of unhealthy food eaten ‘on the go’ was also revealed in the study, funded by the Department of Health and Social Care Policy Research Programme. Shoppers made 76% fewer purchases of sugary confectionery, chocolate

and crisps from supermarkets with the policies, it was observed. Six of the nine major supermarkets introduced checkout food policies between 2013 and 2017, according to the research, which anonymised the data. “It may seem obvious that removing unhealthy food options from the checkout would reduce the amount that people buy, but it is evidence such as this that helps build the case for government interventions to improve unhealthy behaviours,” said Dr Jean Adams, from the Centre for Diet and Activity Research at the University of Cambridge, who led the study. “One such intervention might be to introduce nutritional standards for checkout food as suggested in the

Government’s recent childhood obesity plan. “Such a government-led policy might prove attractive to supermarkets as it would provide a level playing field across the sector.” A team of researchers at the Universities of Cambridge, Stirling and Newcastle analysed data from Kantar Worldpanel’s Consumer panel for food, beverages and household products. They looked at the purchases of more than 30,000 UK households during the 12 months before and after the supermarkets introduced checkout food policies. They also analysed data from 7,500 shoppers who bought on-the-go food from supermarkets with and without the policies between 2016 and 2017. 7




hen WB Yeats wrote his poem The Second Coming in 1919, I’m fairly certain that he was not thinking of the retail grocery sector when he penned the words: ‘Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold’. Yet, I can think of few better ways to describe the current state of play in the more general mixed retailing setting, or even in the retail grocery sector itself. Things are indeed falling apart for many retailers in the mixed retail sector, specifically the department store market. For example, during 2018, we saw House of Fraser being taken over by Mike Ashley, following news that both House of Fraser and Debenhams were set to close large numbers of stores in an effort to reduce costs. The age-old problem of too many stores in too many locations, costing too much to run, with not enough customers coming through the doors, yet again raised its ugly head. Things were starting to fall apart. The tide has definitely turned for many in the retail sector during the past year and, after the fire at Primark in Belfast City Centre, many independent retailers (both food and non-food operators) felt the pinch due to reduced footfall in the area. Yet another example of things falling apart – this time listed buildings. Institutional and structural changes have always been part and parcel of the retail world and that is not about to change. During 2018, we also learned of the proposed Sainsbury’s/Asda merger which, as I predicted in last year’s Summer edition of Ulster Grocer, has not been smooth sailing. Both retailers thought they would ride the crest of a wave and cruise to a safe destination. However, neither had fully given due consideration to the fact that the Competition and Markets Authority might have slightly different views on the matter. No doubt, during 2019 we will witness further developments in this particular retail saga as attempts are dutifully made to ensure that there is not unfair competition in the grocery sector, both 8

nationally and regionally. In the same article, I remember suggesting that, while the Sainsbury’s/ Asda merger progressed, others were not sitting back in the boathouse doing nothing. Therefore, it came as nothing of a shock to me to learn that Tesco had plans with Carrefour. It is, of course, arguable whether or not these plans had been progressing before the Sainsbury’s/Asda announcement but what one retailer does today, another does tomorrow – or something similar at least. One of the principal themes running through the retail world in 2018 was that of store rationalisation. That is, trimming store estates, sorting out store portfolios which had become too large and costly

“ONE OF THE PRINCIPAL THEMES RUNNING THROUGH THE RETAIL WORLD IN 2018 WAS THAT OF STORE RATIONALISATION. THAT IS, TRIMMING STORE ESTATES, SORTING OUT STORE PORTFOLIOS WHICH HAD BECOME TOO LARGE AND COSTLY TO RUN AND, AS A RESULT, CUTTING JOBS. THAT TREND WILL, UNFORTUNATELY, CONTINUE THROUGHOUT THIS YEAR AND IN THE YEARS WHICH FOLLOW.” to run and, as a result, cutting jobs. That trend will, unfortunately, continue throughout this year and in the years which follow. It strikes me that far too many seemingly sophisticated retailers have been so myopic about the future of the retail grocery sector. For decades, they have gone on expanding and growing market share which is all very well and good. But, surely somewhere along the line they have lost sight of the actual costs involved in running such leviathan

empires. Therefore, it is hardly surprising that things are starting to fall apart and that the centre cannot, and will not, hold. The whole shape and structure of the retail grocery sector is about to change. We will, during 2019 and beyond, witness the formation of more pan-European retail super groups. The mergers and acquisitions phase of structural change is far from over; in fact, it could be argued that it is still only in its infancy with much bigger developments due to unfold in the coming days. Towards the end of 2018, the Governor of the Bank of England warned consumers of possible increases in food prices of up to 10% as a result of Brexit; in 2019 we shall see if his predictions were correct, and I fear that they may very well be. The widely-respected retail scholar Russell Schiller wrote about the three waves of retail decentralisation and many others (myself included) liked his notion of waves. As you’ve read this short article, I’m sure that you’ve picked up on my theme of waves, the sea, tides, leviathans, et cetera. This is quite deliberate and leads me to my penultimate point: ‘The sea has many voices’ -TS Eliot. Whether or not you look forward to, welcome, discredit, fear or are becoming more and more concerned about the effects of Brexit, or No Brexit, one thing is certain: there is a massive sea-change ahead whether we like it or not. The tide has turned, and some former retail leviathans are sinking into the depths of the deep blue sea, never to be seen again. One hundred years ago, WB Yeats was unquestionably correct when he penned the words quoted at the beginning of this article. I wonder now what was on his mind as he closed that particular poem with the phrase: ‘Slouches towards Bethlehem’, or when he wrote another of his masterpieces, ‘Sailing to Byzantium’. Perhaps, even in 1919, he felt a portent that one day we would be ‘Slouching towards Brexit’ instead.



Third generation family business Arcadia Delicatessen celebrated 85 years of trading from the same retail unit on the Lisburn Road in Belfast.

Sponsors and past winners attended the launch of the 30th annual Ulster Grocer Marketing Awards at the Culloden Estate & Spa. Mark Glover (Ulster Grocer) and Trevor Magill (GroceryAid NI branch) are joined by, from left, sponsors Debra and David Henderson (Henderson Food Machinery), Brian Crawford (McGowans Print), Karen Carmichael (mxb shopper marketing agency) and Michael Hall and Ann Woods (Kestrel Foods), and last year’s winners Brenda Mulligan (Henderson Group), Michael McCrory (Musgrave), Jack Hamilton (Mash Direct) and Jill Crawford (Just Live a Little), alongside Chris Keenan (Ulster Grocer), second right.

LacPatrick unveiled its £30m investment in a new Dairy Technology Centre in Artigarvan. Pictured are Mark Canning from Danske Bank, which supported the investment, and Gabriel D’Arcy of LacPatrick. Later in the year, a merger was agreed between LacPatrick and Lakeland Dairies.

Team Ireland was named best in the world at the 2018 World Butchers’ Challenge, held during Meat@IFEX at the Titanic Exhibition Centre in Belfast alongside the biennial IFEX exhibition. Pictured are, front row from left, Pamela Ballantine, Sean Owens, Garret Landers, Rhonda Montgomery, Denis McMahon. Back row, from left, are Ian McKernaghan, Mark Williams, Liam Walsh, Eamon Etherson, Colly Donnelly, Stephen Cooke and Stephen Millar.

GM Marketing formed a new partnership with All About Food to distribute the Nando’s, Pizza Express/Milano’s, Wahaca, Cranks and Red’s brands. Gerard McAdorey of GM Marketing is pictured, centre, with Clair Horan and Matthew Davison of All About Food.

Michael McCormack, managing director, Musgrave (back, centre) and Desi Derby, marketing director, Musgrave (foreground), were joined by, from left, Colleen Lamont from Musgrave MarketPlace, Tara Kerstens from Centra, Holywood, Lydia Freeman from Mace, Ballywalter and Robert McAdams from SuperValu, Comber to announce a new TV ad celebrating 35 years of Musgrave in Northern Ireland was to premiere on April 14 during Britain’s Got Talent, and at the same time on SuperValu, Centra and Mace’s social media channels.



Comber-based Mash Direct celebrated 14 years in business with a new deal to supply Waitrose. Pictured are, from left, Lance, Martin, Tracy and Jack Hamilton.

Camille and Jamie Thompson visited India, where Thompson’s Tea sources leaves for its award-winning Punjana tea. In Great Taste 2018, Thompson’s Tea received another 20 gold stars, bringing its total to over 100 to date.

Rebranded Henderson Wholesale Fresh Innovation Awards were held at the 150th Balmoral Show in May. Pictured are Jo Scott, TV presenter and host, Brian Irwin, Irwin’s Bakery (overall Supplier of the Year) and Neal Kelly, Henderson Group.

Chris Kirke replaced Janet McColum as chief executive of Moy Park just months after its takeover by US company Pilgrim’s Pride. Moy Park is once again number one in the Ulster Grocer Top 30 Local Food & Drinks Companies.

Moy Park also celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2018, and marked the occasion with a relaunch of its branded breaded range. Pictured are Karen Kelso and Briege Finnegan.

Lidl awarded Dale Farm a lead contract to supply cheddar cheese to its stores across the UK, Europe and US. Pictured are Conor Boyle, Lidl Northern Ireland and Stephen Cameron, Dale Farm Group. Dale Farm reported Group operating profit up from £9.8m to £12.1m and turnover by 24% to £481m in the year ending March 2018.


2018 IN REVIEW Ormo teamed up with Mash Direct and Ballyrashane to produce Potato Farls, Champ Potato Farls and Buttermilk Wheaten Bread. Pictured are Lance Hamilton, Mash Direct; Trevor McCrum, Hovis Ireland; and Brendan Lappin, LacPatrick Dairies.

Food Force Ireland celebrated its 25th anniversary at its annual Direct Trade Supplier Day and Supplier of the Year Awards in the Culloden. Pictured are Debra Johnston and Henry Emerson, Food Force Ireland and Alan Crossen, Tayto (named Account Manager of the Year).

Retail NI joined other industry bodies in calling for a reboot of economic policy in Northern Ireland, launching a policy document, A New Deal for Northern Ireland, at an event in Westminster. Pictured are Colin Neill, Hospitality Ulster; Stephen Kelly, Manufacturing NI; NI Secretary of State Karen Bradley; and Glyn Roberts, Retail NI.

Cloughbane Farm expanded into convenience meals for the children’s market with a new Little Farm range. Pictured is Lorna Robinson, Cloughbane Farm, with her grandchildren.


PRM Group celebrated 30 years of supplying retailers with marketleading brands. Pictured are owners Philip and Lynne Morrow.

2018 IN REVIEW Rooney Fish is crowned Supreme Champion for its Millbay Oysters at Blas na hEireann. Pictured are Rosemary and John Rooney.

Energy drink Boost marked its 15th year in Northern Ireland with a We Love Local road trip, as well as a competition to design a Boost can, won by Belfast Met student Heather Peddle. Pictured are Gareth Hardy, Hardy Sales and Marketing, local distributor of Boost, and Simon Gray, founder and MD of Boost.

Co Down-based Prep House invested ÂŁ800,000 in a new factory to help fulfil new contracts. Pictured is Ian Moore, Danske Bank, which supported the investment, with Barry Fitzpatrick, Prep House.

Henderson Food Machinery announced plans to move to a new purpose-built site outside Crossgar in early 2019. Pictured are Rachael Casement, Julie Bell and Shauna Killen.

Tesco Taste Festival celebrated its 10th anniversary in Custom House Square, Belfast. Pictured are Peter Rodgers, Zara Lyttle, Peter Lavery and Joanne Beattie, Robert Roberts/Valeo.






he outstanding highlight of what was another important year for Food NI and the entire food and drink industry here was our success in winning the Best Food Destination title in the highly influential Travel and Tourism Awards in London. It was a wonderful surprise to come out on top in a competition which also attracted formidable entries from the likes of San Sebastian in Spain’s Basque Country, often referred to as ‘the world capital of food’, West Cork and a cider initiative in Catalonia. The prestigious award was presented at a gala event for global travel trade professionals and has since been publicised in international magazines. All great news for Northern Ireland…and especially for our exceptional food and drink. We’ve always known, of course, just how good our food and drink really is but weren’t sure how we rated globally. Now we know for sure. The global travel industry is backing us as the very best place for great food and drink. Achieving such recognition, moreover, was a key commitment in our Taste the Greatness strategic action plan. Outstanding success in major competitions such as UK Great Taste, Blas na hEireann, Food Manufacture Excellence and the UK Quality Awards has reinforced our conviction about the quality and originality of our food and drink. Food NI collected the award in recognition of our role in the hugely successful Year of Food & Drink in 2016, an initiative to promote local food and drink and to support the activities of Tourism NI and Tourism Ireland, Invest NI and DAERA to showcase Northern Ireland as a global food destination. Winning the World’s Best Food Destination award clearly shows that the endeavours of all those organisations, and individuals, to increase awareness, both here and abroad, of the quality, outstanding taste and innovation of our food and drink has been successful. And the retail grocery sector here was extremely supportive of the campaign throughout the year and since it ended. 14

Michele Shirlow, chief executive, Food NI

We’ll be seeking to build on this immensely important collaboration in the year ahead and help even more smaller companies to build relationships with retailers here that could lead to sales especially in Great Britain. Northern Ireland is now being recognised nationally and internationally as the best place to go to enjoy and to buy truly exceptional food and drink. The award was also a marvellous endorsement of the dedication of producers here, both large and small and across all categories, to superb food and drink that’s wholesome, tasty and safe. The award should be extremely important in efforts to accelerate the growth of our produce in the global marketplace. There’s a tremendous opportunity to use this international accolade to strengthen significantly sales to customers in the existing 70 markets which already buy our produce and to open up new regions. Food NI will continue to work

enthusiastically with Invest NI, which has helped a great many business win sales abroad, and Tourism Ireland to help in developing business for our companies in the global marketplace. We will certainly be stepping up our promotional activities in Northern Ireland and especially in Great Britain to persuade retailers in all categories to list our products. For instance, we’ll be building on the success local companies enjoyed, in 2018, at the iconic Borough Market in London by organising another promotion there in the year ahead. It’s a marvellous platform from which to reach many thousands of discerning shoppers seeking different food and drink products from dedicated and innovation-led producers. And it gives our companies opportunities to talk to and explain their products to shoppers and learn from their feedback. We now have a very positive relationship with the management team at Borough and will work with them to maximise opportunities for our smaller companies in particular. The opportunities in London and other parts of Britain are certainly substantial for our food and drink. A further presentation at Borough Market will be a central element in an exciting programme of promotional activities that we are working on to enable many more Northern Ireland companies either to start selling there or to strengthen their position in our single most important marketplace. Companies can count on being offered many more opportunities to showcase their products in Britain. And we’ll also be seeking opportunities for companies in the Republic of Ireland, our single biggest export market. We want everyone in Britain, the Republic and further afield, retailers, consumers and potential visitors, to be aware of our standing as the World’s Best Food Destination and to come here to experience our outstanding food and drink and hospitality for themselves. This all adds up to an exciting 12 months for food and drink companies and, of course, for Food NI in our role of promoting Northern Ireland’s excellent food and drink.



FRESH THINKINING URGENTLY NEEDED AROUND BUSINESS RATES W riting an educated look ahead to the New Year has probably never been harder. At the time of writing, we have no Brexit deal; a situation that will simply be a disaster for Northern Ireland businesses and households. We already have half of the discretionary income of households in Great Britain as well as lower wages, so any future cost rises will be felt exponentially more by NI families than anywhere else in the UK. This does not bode well for 2019. Brexit is not the only reason that 2019 is shaping up to be a challenging year for the retail industry and consumers. Another year has passed with no changes to our antiquated business rates system. It is untenable for retail to be 12% of the economy but pay over 24% of business rates. Retail is undergoing a seismic shift and we have already seen the number of stores in Great Britain contract. That

will start happening here in Northern Ireland, so we need some much-needed fresh thinking and innovation in the business taxation arena in 2019. The reforms needed for business rates and for other mission critical issues such as the Apprenticeship Levy could happen very quickly, if we had our Assembly back up and running. Suffice to say 2019 will be a better place for NI business if we have an executive to take the bold decisions needed. For consumers, the Brexit uncertainty has already seen the value of the pound in their pocket shrink. On top of that, in the past few months, we have seen the first retail inflation in five years. Although retailers have done their best to absorb some of the rising costs, inflation will mean the price of the weekly shop growing and that is before we have any rises from a deal or no-deal scenario. This may not be an optimistic look

Aodhán Connolly, director, NIRC

ahead, but one thing is a constant in Northern Ireland and that is the resilience of our business and our shoppers. We have a long history of cutting our cloth to suit our circumstances and I have no doubt that we will do the same in 2019 no matter how hard it is.




eflecting on the past year, 2018 has been a busy time for the Livestock and Meat Commission for Northern Ireland (LMC). Over the past 12 months, Brexit has dominated much of the red meat industry conversation. Uncertainty around future trading relationships, labour availability, agricultural support arrangements and access to markets has made it very challenging for businesses to make forward plans and investment decisions. During the year, industry representatives from across the food and farming sectors united in the view that there must be an agreement on withdrawal terms and future trading relationships as the alternative no-deal scenario would be too damaging to be considered an acceptable outcome. Despite the uncertainty, industry continued to service its many customers in the UK, EU and worldwide with the high quality and trusted produce they

expect. One of the main priorities pre- and post-Brexit is accessing global market opportunities and, during the summer, the industry received welcome news on this front. After over 20 years, China lifted its BSE export ban on UK beef and a shipment of Northern Irish beef arrived in the Philippines for the first time since 1996. Securing access to new export markets is something LMC, along with other UK levy bodies, continues to prioritise. The Northern Ireland Beef and Lamb Farm Quality Assurance Scheme, owned and managed by LMC, also saw changes this year. After a comprehensive review, the scheme’s new Standards and Rules officially launched in March. The review led to enhancements in four of the key areas of focus namely: farm safety, animal health, responsible use of rodenticides and the use of agrochemicals and plant protection products. Our aim is to ensure

Ian Stevenson, CEO, LMC

that our scheme continues to operate to the high standard that everyone is accustomed to and continues to meet the needs of our customers. Looking ahead, LMC will continue to work on the development and promotion of the NI red meat industry. We’ve long since known that our beef and lamb is a premium product and whilst the UK and EU will remain key markets, we will continue to pursue export certification to a range of global markets. 15




Michael Bell, executive director, NIFDA

IFDA represents the agri-food industry, Northern Ireland’s biggest industrial sector. 2018 has certainly been an interesting year for us and our stakeholder colleagues, culminating with meeting the Prime Minister twice within seven days. The importance of food and drink to our economy cannot be overstated. Total employment across the very interdependent ‘eating ecosystem’ (feed, farming, processing, packaging and retailing) represents 100,000 jobs that’s a fifth of our entire private sector employment. The main sectors are chicken, beef and dairy. Turnover of the sector is £4.4bn, with multiple retailers the biggest customers. GB imports 50%

of its food, whereas Northern Ireland sells 75% of its food to external markets. Our position and extensive lobbying work around Brexit and the political impasse have been well documented this year. During this time, NIFDA has also continued with the ‘day job’ - the work of enhancing, promoting and developing our members’ business. To help drive innovation, we have supported the formation of Agri-Food Quest with funds of £5m, supported by Invest Northern Ireland. The project is proving to be a huge success with over 30 companies involved. We are also actively supporting our farming colleagues through AgriSearch. In recent years AgriSearch has been involved in



rexit remains an uncertain journey, but all in the food industry – farmers, processors and retailers – face challenging times. There is however one certainty. The consumers we all serve will continue to want food that comes with a guaranteed level of quality. This is about traceability, short supply chains, and above all provenance. This is a real point of difference and it is something local farmers help deliver. As farmers, we are rightfully proud of what we produce and of the countryside we shaped and maintain. We see retailers as a key ally in getting the importance of quality across to consumers. We welcome the many initiatives built around the quality of local food and what we do, as farmers, to ensure that is more than a marketing boast. As farmers, we have to hope that Brexit will ultimately deliver a better future for our industry. There are however no guarantees and we are aware we are facing big changes. We cannot control political decisions, but what we can continue to do is produce the best possible food. I hope Brexit will create new opportunities to highlight the quality of our food. For that to happen, we 16

need the continued support of retailers. We need to bring an excitement and seasonality back into food. This is not easy as part of a global food industry, but I am sure many of us look back with fond memories to the days where we had the first new season lamb, the first new potatoes and the the first strawberries from local suppliers. We can now have these every week of the year – but the excitement goes when food moves from local to global. One of the big threats with Brexit remains that the government may seek to buy trade deals by dismantling the tariffs that protect us from poor quality imported food. Politicians say they will not do so, but we are too wise and cynical to believe such assurances until we see them implemented. This would bring food produced under less rigorous standards in every area – from farming practices through the use of antibiotics to processing standards. This is a real threat to the integrity and quality of our food, and it is something the entire industry needs to resist. The lure of cheap food might sound attractive, but not when the price is a dismantling of the standards consumers have come to expect.

Ivor Ferguson, president, UFU


ON IMMIGRATION WHITE PAPER some £17m of research, aimed at helping farmers in the dairy, beef and sheep sectors become more competitive. Looking to the future, this is a time of change and there is an urgent need to invest in productivity improvement. Food companies in other UK nations can get capital support; however in Northern Ireland we cannot. NIFDA is pressing for an urgent solution - a Northern Ireland Processor Improvement Grant Scheme. The building and promotion of the brand attributes of integrity and environmental sustainability that our customers can capitalise on, and on getting ‘boots on the ground’ in our target export markets are all contained in a proposal developed by the Agri-

Food Strategy Board, originally a NIFDA endeavour. We continue to stress the urgent need for an industry marketing body to help the industry compete on a global playing field. Due to currency movement, a chill factor from Brexit, and surging home economies, labour is increasingly difficult to source. The number of EU workers in Northern Ireland has decreased by 20% in the last 18 months. Given that our sector employs 50% to 90% foreign nationals depending on seasonality, this is a worrying trend. The future prosperity of our food manufacturing and farming sectors very much depends on the outcome of the Government’s Immigration White Paper.

Whilst NIFDA may challenge our departments to deliver solutions rather than obstacles, the fact remains that what they can do is limited. Without a minister to give direction, our civil service cannot respond quickly or fully to the opportunities and threats that will rapidly crystallise. By its nature, the civil service is a master of process but not of execution. In 2019 we hope that politicians across the UK will focus less on political differences and more on creating the best conditions for growing our economy. Meanwhile, we will continue to champion our local agri-food sector, help our members to overcome challenges and look for opportunities for innovation and expansion.



orthern Ireland’s food and drink sector continues to grow and make a very sizeable and positive contribution to our economy. Pure Roast Coffee and Glens of Antrim Crisps are among the businesses working alongside us to grow and innovate, so that they are positioned to fully capitalise on new market opportunities outside Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland’s food and drink producers are dedicated to traceability and passionate about quality. We are an agricultural country with many familyowned farms that have been carefully tended in a sustainable way to produce the raw material that we turn into our food and drink. This sustainable farming and strong environmental ethos means that we protect the beauty of our natural environment, making it a great place to visit and eat. The quality and innovation underpinning this important industry have earned companies major awards in globally-recognised events during 2018, including the UK and Irish Food Quality Awards. Over 2,000 products were recognised in this year’s Great Taste awards while, at the Blas na h’Eireann Awards, Rooney Fish won the Supreme Champion award for its Millybay Oysters.

These prestigious competitions provide a valuable platform to profile the skill, products and services of our food and drink producers. Their consistent recognition each year demonstrates Northern Ireland’s enduring reputation for quality and innovation. I believe we have the pure, natural quality products that would sell anywhere in the world. We’ve got to make sure that we manufacture them to the highest standards that we can, to the best of our ability and sell where we get the maximum return. Market intelligence and consumer insight are key factors in driving the strategic direction of a business. We have seen our customers, including Heavenly Tasty, use good quality consumer insights information to position their products to secure value for both the retailer and themselves. This will continue to be a key element of our work in the future, as we seek to ensure that our companies know their end consumer. I am confident that, despite the significant challenges that our industry faces, the resilience, innovation and commitment of our business base will see them continue to thrive and rise up to meet any challenges that lie ahead.

John Hood, director of food & tourism at Invest NI.






Darcy Willson-Rymer, CEO, Costcutter Supermarkets Group

018 has been a pivotal year for Costcutter Supermarkets Group. In May, our new wholesale supply agreement with the Co-op went live, providing our retailers with an exceptional range, offer and delivery service. As part of the 13,000 lines available, we’ve also rolled out over 800 Co-op lines with circa 1,000 more set to be launched in Q1 of 2019. To coincide with our new supply deal going live, we’ve also introduced new, simplified commercial terms. Our retailers now benefit from the most transparent and easy to understand terms in the market, boosted by a rebate scheme that cannot be bettered. Last year also saw the number of retailers engaging with our unique Shopper First Programme steadily increase. Built around the most indepth study of shoppers available for independent retailers, Shopper First provides our retailers with the shopper insights they need to tailor their store




ow… what a year it’s been. 2018 has been a massive milestone for Boost as we celebrated 15 years in Northern Ireland. During this time, we’ve enjoyed phenomenal success which is reflected by the fact that Boost is now the number one, two and three top selling soft drink in the convenience sector* selling over an incredible 26 million units across our entire product range. Our year got off to a tremendous start with the announcement of a new distribution deal with Gareth Hardy and his team at Hardy Sales and Marketing, who have been instrumental to our success. This was followed by our successful spring trade promotion, in which retailers could win one of 50 branded fridges, and our Design A Can competition which gave local students an opportunity to redesign our Boost Sugar Free Energy can 18

to mark our major milestone. In summer we launched our Never Miss A Beat campaign, which included an on-pack promotion and a partnership with Cool FM, while speed painter Dave Sharp (Britain’s Got Talent), entertained over 300,000 consumers. We also introduced two new flavours - Punch Power and Cosmic Glow - which have been extremely well received. My personal highlight was our We Love Local Road Trip which gave us a brilliant opportunity to meet our retail partners, thank them for helping us to collectively grow the brand across the province and reward them for their loyalty. Northern Ireland is such an important market for us as we only sell to local independent retailers, not the big supermarket chains, and our We Love Local ethos is about supporting and championing these retailers who have helped make Boost the success it is today.

and attract new shoppers to spend more. Along with the new Costcutter store design, participating retailers have enjoyed significant double-digit uplift to their sales and incredibly positive feedback from both existing and new shoppers. In 2018 we also redoubled our efforts to engage with our retailers, culminating in the introduction of our new regional roadshows. Building our community of independent retailers will become a regular feature of our calendar in 2019. Looking forward, the big challenge for independent retailers is to stay relevant in order to thrive in an increasingly competitive market. For example, if as an independent retailer, you haven’t got fully behind one own brand in your store, then you are missing out on one of the most important growth categories for any convenience retailer. Recent research has revealed that half of all products in today’s shopping baskets are own brand, so it’s vital that this shopper need is fulfilled. Our new Co-op range means that our retailers are now better placed to respond to key shopper missions, offering a brand that shoppers know and love.

Simon Gray, founder and MD, Boost Drinks

Our consumer engagement figures are equally incredible with a total reach of over 14 million across all our PR and marketing activity throughout the year. And we have lots more planned for 2019, including a dedicated NI charity partnership, new range extensions and exciting trade and consumer promotions. My sincere thanks to everyone who has supported us, and we look forward to working with you all in 2019. * Source: IRI Marketplace Data Symbols and Independents 52 weeks unit sales to 12th August 2018





018 has been another excellent year for Savage & Whitten, the Newry-based, independent delivered wholesaler and symbol operator. Despite volatile consumer confidence across the high street and the uncertainty of Brexit, the company has experienced another year of double-digit sales growth. Recent investment in modern warehousing, additional chilled capacity and a state-of-the-art, voice directed warehouse management system have provided the foundations for growth and capacity across all sales categories. A reorganisation of the logistics process and new technologies have increased efficiencies, with the company now having future proofed expansion in forthcoming years. The team in Newry continue to enthusiastically develop the Today’s fascia, recently reaching the milestone of 100 stores in Northern Ireland. The no-contract, fully supported package continues to be very attractive to retailers

Dessie Boyce, MD of Savage & Whitten

across Ireland, with the functionality of the company’s Re-Scan point of sale system proving a key differentiator for new business. The company also have one of the most sophisticated and efficient ordering systems which provides the customer with the ability to interface with us 24 hours a day. Another high growth area for the company is the chilled and fresh foods category. Although only introduced in 2015, this section of the business has grown to a significant scale and will




018 has been a busy year for Thompson’s Tea as we continue to promote and support our hero brand, Punjana, whilst redesigning and extending our range of teas under the Thompson’s banner. An entirely new Thompson’s design has taken almost one year to research and develop, and will feature as the core design element of our entire range. The first of these new designs to reach the shelves of NI supermarkets is Thompson’s Signature Blend, and this will be closely followed in the new year by Thompson’s Irish Breakfast and Thompson’s Decaf Tea. Earlier in the year we were thrilled to learn that we had been awarded a further 20 gold stars in the Guild of Fine Food’s Great Taste awards 2018. This of course acts as great encouragement to our tasting team, particularly as our entire range of black teas were award winning,

with Thompson’s Signature Blend securing three gold stars and Thompson’s Decaf Tea once again being the only decaf tea to win two gold stars. The fact that this year’s results brought our total tally of Great Taste awards to over 100 meant that there was great joy for all at Punjana’s Belfast factory – indeed, so much so that we declared an exceptional day’s holiday! Our Thompson’s Speciality range of teas continues to expand and now includes the most comprehensive offering of green teas, white teas, spectacular single estate teas from Darjeeling and Assam, and a host of indulgent fruit and herbal teas to satisfy every mood and occasion. Indeed, this range of teas was fully tested when we were tasked by Hastings Hotels to provide a unique and imaginative tea offering to celebrate the opening of their exclusive Observatory Bar on the 23rd floor of their stunning new

continue to grow, inspired by consumer trends towards health and wellness. We offer a full range of chilled and fresh products to both symbol and wholesale customers, and we see the further development of innovative products, in partnership with local suppliers, as key to our continued success in this area. In a year of major changes in the grocery landscape across the UK, Savage & Whitten’s wholesale buying group, Today’s, merged with Landmark wholesale to create Unitas, the largest buying group in the UK with £8.2bn of combined buying power. This is an excellent development for members affording them the opportunity to buy competitively and, in turn, create value for their customers. The infrastructure foundations, established by the company over the last few years, have ensured that we are in an enviable position to continue to grow significantly whilst maintaining the excellent service levels our customers have become accustomed to. We look forward to economic and political stability over the next few months which will guarantee our ambitious growth plans for the year ahead. Ross Thompson, joint MD, Thompson’s Tea

Grand Central Hotel. While the trend for tea consumers to experiment with different types of tea continues, the preference for black tea is still overwhelming, with over 75% of tea drinkers making the choice for a more full-bodied, flavoury alternative… and typically with a dash of milk. We are obviously delighted that Punjana is still the leading brand in this all-important sector and our determination to prove that real tea quality can be found in a tea bag, and at an affordable price, remains a priority for us. 19




Steve Barnes, chief executive, GroceryAid


s the grocery industry goes through a once-in-a-generation restructure, with consolidation and job losses grabbing headlines on a daily basis,

it’s no surprise that the trade charity is experiencing a sustained increase in applications from colleagues needing support. The charity spent £4.7m last year on making life better for grocery people who found themselves in difficulties. Applications rose by 22% and, of the 14,600 people helped, 62% were of working age, clearly reflecting the impact that the industry’s tough trading times are having on our current colleagues. Our Northern Ireland Branch, under the stewardship of Trevor Magill, continues to excel in its fundraising contributions to the charity. With an established calendar of activities and great support from the industry community, the Branch serves as a role model for others and continues to punch above its weight. We are extremely thankful to our community of timepressed volunteers who contribute such valuable expertise and of course to all the companies and individuals that support events. Centrally we have been hard at work transforming our event calendar. Highlights being the launch of our



018 has been a busy year for Kestrel Foods as we continue to seek new and innovative product development opportunities and advance into new markets. We currently export to over 30 countries worldwide, including Russia, Hong Kong, Norway and the United Arab Emirates, and we are constantly pursuing new export prospects. Our attendance at global trade shows such as SIAL Paris, ISM in Cologne and Gulf Food Dubai, provide fantastic exposure and generate great levels of interest in our private label products and individual brands. In terms of forward-thinking and business growth, we recently invested £2m in an industry-leading chocolate and yogurt coating manufacturing plant, specifically designed for coating dried fruit & nuts. This investment has been used to facilitate new product development and increases in production levels. 20

With a focus on new product and flavour development and an acute awareness of consumer snacking trends such as a growing demand for proteinrich snacks, we added four exciting new products to the popular £1 Pick me up range, which now includes over 20 mixes designed to meet the varying tastes of consumers and their respective nutrient needs. Meanwhile, our team has grown to 105 and we have just appointed a marketing director who will help us deliver some exciting NPD and brand plans for 2019. 2018 also saw us deliver a number of engaging campaigns to help bring our products to life. An on-pack promotion with the £1 ‘Pick me up’ range was launched as part of our AquaSprint Junior Swimming League sponsorship to encourage swimming at grass roots level by offering the chance to win free swimming lessons. More recently,

Barcode Festival in June 2018, an inclusive event designed for all in our industry which moved the goalposts in terms of fundraising and driving awareness. With 2019 set to be our biggest year yet, head to for our full calendar. Our #notbuyingit marketing campaign also grew in 2018 with the introduction of new products ‘Crisis’ and ‘Mental Health’ as we highlighted the areas where we are supporting those in need. Awareness in Northern Ireland has been a key focus of the charity over the past year and it is encouraging to see that this year we have made progress with a 15% increase in the number of colleagues that we have helped. We are fortunate to have such generous support from Ulster Grocer who details our confidential Helpline (08088 021 122) information in every edition. However, we remain convinced there are more colleagues in Northern Ireland that should be receiving our support and will continue to work hard to reach out to those in need.

Michael Hall, MD Kestrel Foods

our quirky social-media-led Halloween campaign saw us report a 38.5% YOY increase in value. Within the industry, we were extremely proud to sponsor The Lorraine Hall Young Marketeer Award at this year’s Ulster Grocer Marketing Awards, which was designed to recognise the same passion and drive among the up-andcoming marketing stars of the future, that Lorraine showed throughout her exceptional career. As a business, our strength has always been our culture of innovation, creativity and speed to market, all of which is underpinned by excellent quality ingredients achieved through strong relationships with suppliers and growers world-wide. This is an approach we are very proud of and will continue to base our future business developments on.




Charlie Kerlin, head of Agri Food, Grant Thornton Belfast


f 2018 was a year marked by uncertainty and concerns around future trading arrangements, 2019 may bare very little difference for companies operating in the food and beverage sector. There is no question that Brexit will once again be the dominant issue for firms in the industry as the date at which the UK will leave the EU moves closer. It is a backdrop that will continue, potentially for some years, until the details of the future trading relationship between the UK and EU are finalised. However, our experience is that companies in the sector are resilient and will focus quickly on taking the necessary action to improve business outcomes. Our companies are focused on trying to ensure government remove the current uncertainty so that they can plan the necessary investments in their businesses. Brexit aside, we have in 2018 observed a continued appetite for consolidation, particularly in our largest subsectors

such as dairy and meat processing as companies seek to take cost out and strengthen for the future. In addition, we have seen acquisition investment by larger corporates looking to secure market share in the Ireland market. We expect those trends to continue throughout 2019, especially beyond the first quarter. Continuing fluctuation in currency will also play a major factor in the fortunes of agri-food firms, with the weakness of sterling providing a boost for exporters, albeit in the short term. We are however, seeing strong price pressure from customers including the multiples, which will ensure that not all exchange benefits will be bankable. In the latter half of 2018, there was a significant upsurge in our work with our food and beverage clients as we help them in their preparations for Brexit. Companies are now actively making contingency plans not least with their EU employees, but also in stock holding and

in relation to additional facilities across the border. For companies in the food and beverage sector, those that actively seek out new markets (albeit for some it is ‘near’ markets) and develop new consumer-led, innovative products, will be best placed to meet future challenges. It is imperative now that policy makers are ‘fleet of foot’ in ensuring that targeted financial and non-financial support is provided to facilitate the growth of our excellent indigenous businesses, amid another challenging year.


SIGNIFICANT GROWTH DRIVEN BY FOCUS ON INNOVATION AND PRODUCT IMPROVEMENT 2 types from across 018 was an incredibly Northern Ireland to win busy and successful up to £3,000 for their year for both the Hovis worthwhile cause. The and ORMO brands and campaign included radio, the wider Hovis Ireland outdoor, digital and in Business. Hovis Soft store activity. White bread was back on ORMO, one of mainstream TV in May Northern Ireland’s most with a new campaign iconic brands, has enjoyed and, together with our a hugely successful year investment in our product Trevor McCrum, commercial director, Hovis Ireland both in brand growth and quality, has helped our significant investment Hovis to the position of in product innovation. ORMO is a quality, Northern Ireland’s No1 bread brand.* local brand that’s an integral part of the During 2018, Hovis returned to the community in Northern Ireland and we Balmoral Show in the spring sunshine, never forget that we are custodian of bringing the Hovis and ORMO sampling these well-loved brands and products. unit to the show, providing consumers ORMO has enjoyed significant growth the opportunity to enjoy our bakery over the last 12 months driven by our products. Hovis Live Good was supported continuous focus on innovation and by an impactful, integrated campaign product improvement. In September, The Hovis Live Good – Local Challenge. demonstrating our commitment to This offered charity groups of all different

other local suppliers, ORMO launched a Buttermilk Wheaten, Original Potato Farls and Champ Potato Farls, partnering with Ballyrashane Creamery and Mash Direct. The new range has proved highly popular with NI consumers and is enhancing ORMO’s strong performance in what is already a highly competitive market. The bakery industry however is not without its challenges; a significant increase in commodity pricing, industry profitability and the overhang of Brexit are just some of the challenges we are having to contend with. Not withstanding the bakery challenges, we look forward to 2019 with optimism and confidence that we are investing in our products and brands to help grow the bakery sector in Northern Ireland. *Source : Nielsen NI up to November 2018 - Value MAT 21


 NISA



of Co-op, and working n May 2018, the Co-op as an organisation of completed its acquisition scale with the vision and of Nisa and I was delighted ambition to win. to join as CEO. With over Own label has reached £9bn buying power, I believe a new stage in evolution we have an opportunity to as consumers expect make a real difference in products to be on a par the sector. I have spent time with, or even surpass, the visiting and listening to our quality of national brands. retail partners in Ireland and Retailers are looking to from those conversations, I upgrade their own brand sense the obvious and real Ken Towle, CEO, Nisa ranges as shoppers shift concern around Brexit but from a purely low-price also an entrepreneurial spirit approach to weighing a brand’s of genuine excitement and enthusiasm overall value proposition. The Co-op for what the future holds in the longer own brand will not only satisfy the term, in a changing market place and a entry price point but will also fulfil the convenience sector that is expected to premium tier option ensuring our Nisa grow. retailers are the destination of choice We are focused on continuing to work for their customers and are meeting in the best interests of our partners and their changing needs. their customers and on leveraging the Our wholesale operation and support scale and capability of the Co-op model, structure provides an environment in combining the best of Nisa with the best

which independent retailers benefit from our low-cost, low-fees model. It brings enhanced buying capability, allowing partners to trade how they choose, backed by competitive prices, promotions and a deeper range; all of which bring benefits to their customers. Perhaps a bigger challenge to convenience is the rise of online and we continue to explore how we can help our partners to remain relevant to their customers by embracing technologies and offering services that allow them to either retail online themselves or to act as a delivery point for other online sales. I fully expect Nisa to grow. Co-op’s market-leading position in the UK convenience sector and award-winning own brand range is already helping to invigorate the Nisa wholesale proposition for the benefit of our partners throughout the UK and Ireland. Combined with their expertise and knowledge, we are well set for success.


RETAILERS MUST LEARN TO ADAPT AND OPENLY AND WILLINGLY ACCEPT CHANGE W ith the introduction of GDPR and the confirmation of the Making Tax Digital Mandate, it’s been a busy year of change for many businesses. We have been working with numerous retailers over the past year advising on these issues as well as many others. It’s been a busy, productive and positive year on the whole for retailers. Convenience retailing has continued to grow steadily, with more store openings. However, with this comes increased competition and rising customer expectations eg customers now expect gourmet coffee, freshly made sandwiches and hot food from deli counters. Throw in some key policy changes such as GDPR and the Making Tax Digital Mandate, and businesses can find themselves struggling to keep up. In line with this, we have been advising 22

an increasing number of retailers on various online accountancy packages including Xero and Sage. They say a change is as good as a rest, but when the change isn’t your choice, and it comes as a surprise, requiring a complete overhaul of how the business does things, ‘restful’ probably isn’t the word that springs to mind. However, change is inevitable and although it can be daunting at first, it’s more often than not, a good thing. It’s therefore crucial that retailers not only learn to adapt but to openly and willingly accept change. 2019 will bring more change as we expect to see further growth in the convenience store sector as owners seek new outlets and as the introduction of Making Tax Digital unfolds. Don’t ignore it, start preparing now and look forward to a more efficient 2019.

Stephen McConnell, partner at Baker Tilly Mooney Moore





018 was a year of considerable growth and development for all companies within the Henderson Group. Within the Retail operation, six new EUROSPAR supermarkets opened in the past 12 months, as well as major expansions for the SPAR brand, including the new SPAR Fortfield concept store in Carrickfergus which brings a whole new level of service to the area. Within the store, which stands at 7,000 square feet, there is a mix of food to go with extended product ranges. Exclusive to SPAR Fortfield will be the first ever Barista Bar Café, plus Burger King and Subway counters on site, and an enhanced Daily Deli food-to-go bar. Food to go is the key selling point of the store and has elevated our niche in this area in the market, combining our foodservice smarts with our fresh foods knowledge. We hosted a team of delegates from convenience stores and supermarkets in 2018, who toured several EUROSPARs to learn from our

retailers’ standard of food to go. Organised by the Retail Industry Awards, it was a chance for them to see how we were mastering this area differently to our colleagues in the rest of the UK, from the likes of Creighton’s EUROSPAR of Balmoral, EUROSPAR Donegall Road and Mulkern’s EUROSPAR in Newry. It is important to highlight our retailers’ successes as we continue to invest and nurture our retail network in this growing area. In further fresh food developments, our consumer offering expanded and diversified through the enjoy local and The Kitchen own-brands. Early indicators for sales show an increase thanks to our investment in the shopper experience through the ‘inSPARations’ communications, helping shoppers put together a value option for tonight’s tea. Technology is playing an increasingly significant role in our stores thanks to Henderson Technology harnessing improvements for the in-store experience,

Martin Agnew, managing director, Henderson Group

delivering a strong year for the company. Over 95% of stores in the Group now run our EDGEPoS scanning system, and the launch of Self-Checkouts has gained widespread industry interest. The team were also delighted that EdgePoS won Retailing Technology of the Year at the National Technology Awards. Overall, as we entered the final quarter last year, Group sales increased 12.7% on 2017 - a tremendous performance, with even further growth, development and acquisitions on the horizon for 2019.


NI FOOD RETAILING COMPANIES THE OFFLINE TO ONLINE TREND I n a time where there is a huge focus on convenience, food retailers are shifting towards an online approach when it comes to selling products. What was once a scene dominated by fast-fashion brands, has now seen the likes of Tesco and Sainsbury’s using eCommerce websites to showcase and deliver their products to customers. In fact, this is now the norm, and smaller brands are taking note. The food industry is constantly evolving in a bid to cater to changing consumer demands. With consumers now able to ask Amazon’s Alexa to place an order for delivery, it is clear that technology is enabling brands to forge more personalised connections with their customers – and digital tools hold the key to achieving this. With online the fastest-growth channel for the grocery market, and as consumers demand an increasingly

seamless shopping experience, food retailers are beginning to optimise their product images, titles and descriptions to provide a much more accessible shopping experience on mobile devices. This enables customers to remain loyal to the brand even whilst on the go. Creating specific online replenishment strategies and monitoring performance daily is already providing significant benefits to many food retailer brands. Ecommerce data analytics platforms provide access to real time data, allowing businesses to react instantly to any problems which may lead to loss of sales. Food retailers who want to grow with this latest consumer trend may need digital companies by their sides in order to keep up and maximise the online potential. Knowledge of how to automatically replenish products in stores, shopper subscription, artificial intelligence, voice technology and digital

Jeremy Biggerstaff, managing director, Flint Studios

assistants will be vital for businesses to compete. As time progresses, we will continue to see customer demand evolve. They will want their products faster than ever before and be less and less willing to go out of their way to get the product. This means the retailer has to come to the consumer. Digital is a trend that will continue to transform not only the food industry but the world we live in. With these changes becoming more and more evident, now is the time for retailers to enhance their online presence and offering to ensure they are where their customers are. 23




Lorna Robinson, managing director, Cloughbane Farm Foods

s 2018 dawned, we already had some significant plans in motion for Cloughbane Farm. The most significant and exciting of these was around the launch of our first range of children’s meals. Cloughbane Little Farm was inspired by three of my beautiful grandchildren, who often arrived into the office demanding food because they knew Granny loved cooking. This helped me realise that many busy parents and grandparents were under the same pressures as us, to provide delicious, healthy meals for their

little ones but being time poor, found it difficult. After an intensive development period, we worked with CAFRE on the sensory evaluation of five meal options. We are delighted the results show panellists preferred the taste, appearance and texture of our range in every instance. Cloughbane Little Farm launched in September and has already secured multiple major listings with retailers including Sainsbury’s and Aldi, as well as Henderson and Musgrave stores. We are focused on export growth and



Simon Layton, M&S head of Region, Northern Ireland


fter celebrating our 50th anniversary last year, 2018 has seen us demonstrate ongoing commitment to Northern Ireland, through our continuous investment and development programme and the opening of two new stores here. A relocation of our Newry store saw us unveil a new 30,000-square-foot store at The Quays Shopping Centre in the heart of Newry City. The opening created 23 new job opportunities in addition to the 110 M&S colleagues who relocated from our existing Newry store. After much anticipation, we also opened a brand new 7,000-square-foot 24

Foodhall at Marlborough Retail Park in Craigavon, creating 56 job opportunities. Over 400 customers queued to be the first to see the store and to be in with a chance of receiving one of our coveted Golden Tickets. The store has proved to be a phenomenal success with trading in the first two months far outweighing initial expectations. We’ve been supporting local charities throughout our 50-year history and with 21 stores across Northern Ireland and a footprint that touches every county, we’re committed to making a sustainable difference in our local communities.

At M&S, our goal is to create a positive impact in our neighbouring communities surrounding our stores. Throughout 2018, we encouraged our colleagues to volunteer through our Making Every Moment Special initiative, fundraising for local charity partners and helping to shape a nation of lifesavers by facilitating CPR training for our own colleagues as well as children in local schools. We also provided opportunities for local young people through our Make Your Mark programme in partnership with The Prince’s Trust. We’re delighted to have raised over £100,000 for stores’ self-selected local charities of the year, our heart charity partnerships and our local charity partner Action Cancer. So far, we’ve raised over £900,000 for Action Cancer alone throughout our nine-year partnership and hope to crack the £1m milestone in 2019. A central part of our corporate Plan A 2025 commitments is to transform 1,000 communities, starting with 10 pilot schemes. In Northern Ireland, the focus is on Derry~Londonderry where we are working with a number of local organisations, including Aware NI, to create programmes that aim to secure meaningful economic, social and environmental benefits in the community. In 2019, we will open a new store in Carrickfergus with plans to announce further openings in the not-too-distant future.

COMMENTARY 2018 has seen Cloughbane Farm make new international connections. In spring of this year, Mid Ulster Council invited us to welcome a delegation of buyers from Hong Kong. We have already made great inroads with supplying to the region and the visit provided us with an opportunity to grow our Chinese exports further. This was bolstered again in November, when my husband Sam and I made the trip to China. The visit allowed us to learn from the state-of-the-art food processing facilities there and provided lots of inspiration for our own premises. After a five-year application process, we have secured planning permission to build a new facility on a green field site. This is a huge project for us, which we plan to complete by 2023. However, like all

businesses in the province, Brexit and a lack of local functioning executive makes executing major investment projects like this difficult. Awards are a great opportunity for everyone in our business to celebrate milestones and we’re delighted to have added to our trophy cabinet again this year. We took home the Cap Ex Award at the Irish Food and Drink Awards in recognition of how effectively we have reinvested profits into premises, cooking facilities and energy efficiency schemes. We were also runners up in Supplier of the Year and the Tomorrow Matters categories at the Henderson Fresh Innovation Awards. Staff retention has been key to our success and we are proud to see so many

colleagues progress here. This year saw us bid farewell to our first retiree, Joel and celebrate the long service of two people who marked 10 years with us. We are committed to investing in the leadership capability of our staff and having recently embarked on a leadership programme with Invest NI, we hope to celebrate many more such milestones with loyal team members in the future. On reflection, 2018 has been a momentous year for Cloughbane Farm and one which has laid the foundations for continued growth. Our plans for the future are exciting and despite the political and economic uncertainty that lies ahead in 2019, we have every intention of doing our utmost to continue the growth trajectory.

 ASDA


018 marked a year of further growth and development for Asda, with our 17 stores continuing to trade successfully and our customers remaining as loyal as ever. The pinnacle was our success in being awarded the prestigious Gold Level CORE accreditation by Business in the Community; the first retailer in Northern Ireland to be recognised at this level. Much of our work throughout the year is evidence of how we achieved the Gold standard – from the launch of our Plastic Unwrapped programme, to our Fight Hunger Create Change initiative - a threeyear partnership with foodbank charity The Trussell Trust and food redistribution charity FareShare - to invest at least £20m to try and lift one million people in the UK out of food poverty. Wider partnerships such as that with Drink Wise Age Well, alongside banning the sale of high energy drinks to those under 16, highlight our ongoing commitment to responsibility. 2018 was also another year of positive output for the Asda Foundation, which helped hundreds of community groups and organisations located close to our stores. To date, Northern Ireland has benefited from over £1m in donations from the Foundation. At store level, this community engagement is delivered by our team of hard-working Community Champions.

George Rankin, senior director, Asda NI

The supply chain remains central to our business operation and throughout 2018 we continued to develop relationships with companies across NI’s thriving agri-food sector, creating business opportunities to supply their goods to our NI stores - and indeed across our UKwide store network. We consolidated this through our involvement in Open Farm Weekend, the Farm Safety Partnership, Love Lamb Week and the Balmoral Show – each providing excellent opportunities to highlight the part we play in the farm gate to plate journey. We marked the end of 2018 with

a focus on our stores, with Antrim, Coleraine, Westwood and Newtownards all benefiting from a combined £8.2m of investment, delivering expansions and improvements which were much appreciated by customers in the busy preChristmas season. 2019 promises to bring more good news in the form of community commitments, inclusion and investment and, despite the challenges faced by Brexit, we look forward to making it as positive and productive as possible for all who work, shop and deal with Asda in Northern Ireland. 25







ntry will shortly open for the Ulster Grocer Marketing Awards 2019, recognising and celebrating excellence across Northern Ireland’s grocery sector. Held as part of the annual Ulster Grocers’ Ball, the highlight of the industry’s social calendar and GroceryAid’s leading fundraiser, the Awards are always hard fought, highly prized and well publicised across our parent company INM’s many media outlets. In our next edition, and online at, we will invite entries from producers, suppliers, wholesalers and retailers of all sizes across the awards. While there are currently nine awards, a new judging panel has just been convened following the retirement of our esteemed panel chairman Michael Maguire, and new awards may potentially be added this year. We would like to take this opportunity to thank Michael for supporting the Ulster Grocer Marketing Awards over many years. His marketing expertise, ability to separate the wheat from the chaff and general erudition will be hard to replace. The Awards also afford high-profile sponsorship opportunities, offering companies targeting the Northern Ireland grocery sector the opportunity to place their brands or services centre stage. Read on for more information. 26

Claire McNally, Laura Rafferty and Sinead Cotter of Mackle Petfoods, winner of Best Marketing Campaign 2017 and Best Food Export Marketing.




ULSTER GROCER MARKETING AWARDS 2019 LORRAINE HALL YOUNG MARKETEER AWARD The Lorraine Hall Young Marketeer Award will seek to recognise passion and drive among the up-and-coming marketing stars of the future; those who show they have already, in their short careers, made significant contributions to the industry. The judges will look for evidence of a candidate’s success across a variety of marketing challenges, their on-going desire to learn and innovate, and their understanding of the ever-growing array of marketing tools and channels at their disposal. BEST MARKETING CAMPAIGN Best Marketing Campaign could potentially involve a corporate, brand or project campaign and food suppliers and grocery wholesalers and retailers are all eligible to enter. While the subject matter of the campaign may be any aspect of grocery retailing, the marketing campaign should include some or all of the following elements – press, TV, radio, outdoor, in-store PoS/ merchandising, PR, website, leaflet, digital and SMS activity. BEST BRAND Among the most prestigious and tightly-fought categories, Best Brand welcomes entries outlining marketing activity aimed at building a brand of any size in the Northern Ireland grocery market. The brand could be, but is not limited to, food and drink, and equally could be a retail brand from independent stores through to multiple and discount retailers. Judges will examine the effectiveness of any brand-building activity in relation to PR, advertising and marketing campaigns, brand visibility and customer loyalty, and take into account the results achieved in relation to the size of the business. BEST IN-STORE CONSUMER SALES PROMOTION Best In-Store Consumer Sales Promotion could be a standalone promotion by a retailer or supplier. Equally, it could potentially involve a joint promotion between two companies, for example, two manufacturers/brand owners running a cross-promotion on complementary products or a retail group and a manufacturer working together on a promotion. Entries are welcome involving both exclusive single-store promotions and activity running across a group of stores. BEST NEW PRODUCT LAUNCH/RELAUNCH For Best New Product Launch, entries are invited from brand owners outlining their marketing activity to launch any new grocery product (not limited to, but including, food and drink) into the marketplace. This may include any of the following: press, TV, radio, outdoor, in-store PoS/merchandising, PR, website, leaflet, digital and SMS activity. Pre-existing products which have been relaunched with new branding, and a complementary marketing strategy, are also eligible for entry. Please note: this category covers the marketing of new or relaunched products, rather than the new product development process. BEST CSR INITIATIVE/CHARITY PARTNERSHIP Best Corporate Social Responsibility or Charity Partnership is focused on the strength and commitment shown by retailers, producers, wholesalers and suppliers to CSR/charity initiatives and partnerships rather than the marketing of such activity. Open to any business operating in the retail grocery sector, from small producers and independent retailers through to large suppliers and multiple retailers, this category will also be judged on tangible results from the partnerships. GREEN RETAILER OF THE YEAR Green Retailer of the Year is one of only two categories in the Awards (alongside CSR/Charity) which are not judged exclusively on marketing activity. This category is open to retailers of any size from single shop traders to national groups operating in the Northern Ireland market. Entries should outline any environmentally-friendly activity undertaken in grocery retailing from local sourcing through to in-store green initiatives such as LED lighting, solar panels, green management systems and communicating green activity to customers. BEST ARTISAN FOOD PRODUCT CAMPAIGN Introduced to recognise an emergent category in the local grocery sector, Best Artisan Food Product Campaign recognises that small producers often have limited marketing resources at their disposal but can make clever use of them. This category is open to producers, manufacturers, wholesalers or retailers marketing artisan food, and entries should outline any press, TV, radio, outdoor, in-store POS/merchandising, PR, website, leaflet, digital and SMS activity. BEST FOOD EXPORT MARKETING Exports are a vital part of the business mix for Northern Ireland producers, and this award recognises efforts to successfully market, gain access and launch local products into international markets (from the Republic of Ireland and Great Britain to the other side of the world). Any local food, drink or other grocery product which has successfully gained access to new markets, secured new customers in existing markets or boosted existing export contracts are eligible for entry.

For an entry form, or further information about sponsorship opportunities for the Ulster Grocer Marketing Awards, please contact Chris Kennan at or on 028 9026 4267. 28







ust months after the latest addition to the Boyd family’s several Mace and Centra grocery outlets in Co Antrim - the Mace at Main Street, Toomebridge proprietor Frank Boyd reports success. He says that the convenience store and busy forecourt has gone from strength to strength. The trade generated by the instore deli and food to go facility, Munch & Co - complemented by premium Frank and Honest Coffee - has been phenomenal. “When we opened in April, following a £200,000 investment using local contractor, Frankie McFall of Brookevale Interiors, we actually created 30 new jobs for the area,” says Frank. “The former small independent has benefitted hugely from the new Mace ‘store of the future’ imagery which has also seen the premises increased in size from 800 to 3,500 square feet. “Our new, larger Mace store in Toome can compete for the over-1800-squarefoot category in the 2019 Store of the Year competition, and I’m targeting entry for that as a priority while ensuring that our original Toome facility, at Roguery 30

Road is just as successful.” The family business is no stranger to success. Toomebridge has been crowned Store of the Year in the less-than-1800square-foot category for the past three years. Its sister facility, Centra at Junction One, Antrim town, was also named Best Newcomer in the same awards, while the recently acquired Islandbawn Centra is also doing very well too. He explained that the new look fascia and striking imagery of Mace

Toomebridge ‘store of the future’ is a huge plus in building business at what is a very busy location, which is now even more so given the ongoing construction work on the M22 extension. “While we are probably split 50/50 between forecourt sales and food/grocery volume, it is amazing that since opening in April the food to go and small café/sit in trade has risen by over a third and is still growing as part of the non-forecourt business,” he says, but this is helped by several factors. CROSSROADS “Toomebridge is at a crossroads in more ways than one these days and, while regular traffic hold-ups are part and parcel of the multi-million-pound extension of the motorway towards the North West, ironically it brings us in extra business. “The sit in area is regularly packed by construction workers and while that is welcome, the ‘silver lining in the cloud’ because of regular traffic diversions actually funnels even more trade our way,” he says.


“Today, we are a substantial employer in a rural area with our four stores between them accounting for about 90 full- and part-time staff, as well as being full time work for me and my brothers Michael, Gerard and Tony.” Frank himself is very busy with his shop open from 6am (7am on Sundays) usually seeing a queue of hungry workers and commuters at Munch & Co and food doesn’t stop until well into the evenings, as people are heading home as well. “I have to say that we have completely transformed the local convenience market for people in Toomebridge and the surrounding areas. “We also use local produce and suppliers where possible, with Lough Neagh Fisheries as one prime example, both supplying retail fish and the adjacent fish and chip shop. “Indeed, our Main Street location is developing well already, with not only the chip shop beside us, but also a large Fishing Tackle and Outdoor Wear facility to help attract passing trade,” says Frank. NEW LOOK MACE itself is a draw; customers have noticed the bold changes to the look and feel of the store with new branding using the contemporary Mace colour palate, creating a striking, fresh and modern store frontage. “But now, it not only features the brighter, new look, but also the latest in energy-saving technology from environmentally-friendly fridges to stateof-the-art kitchen equipment,” says Frank. “In fact, we were one of the trailblazers, being about the earliest Mace stores to acquire the new imagery. Inside, the store showcases the latest thinking in retail with concepts including beverages, with Frank and Honest Coffee being one of the largest coffee brands on the island of Ireland. “Munch & Co is brilliant. It is a new

hot and cold deli, which features a tasty selection of sandwiches, wraps, baguettes and speciality focaccia bread options filled with fresh meats, cheeses and salad and we have a tempting array of sauces to give your lunchtime a lift. “As part of our commitment to healthier communities, we have an excellent range of salads and salad bowl options and a burrito bar that are also proving a hit with customers. “Our hot food offering is really varied with something for the busy tradesman who needs a hearty breakfast on the go, great variety for office workers looking for lunch or an evening meal solution, and all underpinned by a dedication to offering the best quality produce, prepared fresh. “Customers can also avail of a new café-style seating area which is perfect for catching up with friends. “We are not a family to rest on our laurels; we want to continue to ensure we provide the best experience for our customers. “The model for convenience retail is changing. Consumers are more discerning than ever; alongside their regular convenience shopping, they increasingly want a sociable experience, in comfortable, stylish surroundings with a focus on fresh, quality food offerings – our new store has all of this and more. Gerard says: “We have three chilled and two ambient deliveries weekly from Musgrave-Supervalu-Centra (MSVC) and it all works extremely well – as did the original fit-out. “MSVC is second to none,” adding that he wouldn’t franchise with any of the other wholesalers, naming local representative Clare McKindless as a particular plus. “Thanks to their advice, we have two coffee machines that are on the go

virtually non-stop and have identified a lucrative sub trade in cooked meals to go (or sit in) with hundreds of Sunday dinners flying out of the shop every week from the hot food bar, with festive dinners an especially lucrative trade in December,” says Frank. The shop also more prosaically offers coal, logs and heating oil to take away and the Pay Point and Lottery are draws too as well as the standards of newspapers and milk and bread and other necessities. Frank said there are no ‘trolley shoppers’ as yet, but he has proved that their niche is in the convenience market and more dramatically in the food to go sector. “People don’t want to have to find a parking space – as they would in supermarkets - navigate their way round sometimes crowded aisles,” he says. “They want to get in and out as quickly as possible, and with our three scanning tills, that is just what we deliver.” Of course, it is all a far cry from the first forecourt that Boyd’s opened, back in 1964. Frank’s grandfather, Cahal Boyd went from building chapels across Ireland as a clerk of works into the forecourt trade: “In those days, forecourts were just that – petrol and diesel and some accessories – with little or no groceries,” says Frank. “However, Cahal saw potential and took up the opportunity of the original site in Toome – now our other local MACE - when it came up and the rest is history.” It is certainly a long way from when he took the chance of moving from construction to retail trade back some 60 years ago, but it all developed from that single petrol pump-based business. Now a fresh chapter in the story is being written and the whole Boyd family is involved in making it an even greater success than it is already. 31



oost Energy drink embarked on a recent province-wide road trip to celebrate 15 years in Northern Ireland with local retailers. Since Boost first hit the shelves in 2003, it has enjoyed phenomenal success in the local market which is reflected by the fact that the brand now occupies the top three positions in the convenience sector’s soft drink sales charts*. To recognise the huge role that Northern Ireland’s independent retailers have played in this success, Boost founder and Managing Director Simon Gray and a team of staff hit the road for two days to pay a surprise visit to stores around the province. The We Love Local road trip took its name from the company’s ethos to deal only with the independent retail sector and not with the large multinational supermarket chains – and every store that

Siobhan O’Neill of SPAR, Craigyhill in Larne pictured getting all her Boost questions correct with Boost road trip MC Ande Gray.

received a visit was given the chance to win free stock – and a short break on the Causeway Coast - if they could answer some salient questions about the brand in Northern Ireland. “We are committed to supporting the local home-grown independent retailers



ational Lottery retailers across the UK were said to be in for a real treat this Christmas, with the promise of a bumper sales period thanks to special National Lottery draws and increased in-store festive activity. The first-ever Lotto Christmas Superdraw Must be Won took place on December 22, with a guaranteed £15m


Jackpot to be won – no matter what – with the recently-introduced Rolldown feature being activated if no one matches all six main numbers, ensuring the Jackpot prize money cascades down to lower prize tiers. The excitement didn’t stop at Christmas. Ringing in the New Year was the EuroMillions special 10 UK Millionaires draw on January 1, which will get 2019 off to the perfect start for the 10 lucky winners. New PoS was provided for the Lotto Christmas Superdraw to generate sales uplift for retailers, followed by the new EuroMillions 10 UK Millionaires PoS from December 27. Eligible retailers were invited to upload a photo of their Lotto Christmas Superdraw PlayStation PoS to earn an extra £10 in the AllStars Bonus Event. Elsewhere, five festive Scratchcards were created as a last-minute stocking filler, Secret Santa present or Christmas card insert. In addition, some topselling Scratchcard retailers were sent a special Christmas-themed light-up Scratchcard dispenser flash.

who have helped make Boost the huge success in Northern Ireland that it is today, which is why we headed out on the road to meet with as many retailers as we could,” said Gray. The convenience sector in Northern Ireland covers more than 1,100 independent retail stores, excluding the large multinational supermarket chains, and the top selling soft drink SKU by some distance is the original Boost Energy 250ml can which retails at 49p. In second and third positions respectively are the Boost Energy Red Berry 250ml can – a flavour that is exclusive to the Northern Ireland market – and the Boost Energy Sugar Free 250ml can. * Source: IRI Marketplace Data Symbols and Independents 52 weeks unit sales to 12th August 2018


etail NI welcomed the opening of a temporary walkway, reconnecting Royal Avenue to Donegall Place, outside Bank Buildings, ahead of Primark opening a store in Castle Street in December. “Reconnecting Royal Avenue and Donegall Street is a welcome development for city centre traders and shoppers,” said Glyn Roberts, chief executive of Retail NI. “While the tunnel is not a perfect solution, it does allow improved access for shoppers and for the opening of most of the businesses within the cordon. “Businesses in Belfast City Centre have suffered significantly due to the Primark fire, but we are confident things will improve due to the opening of the walkway and the excellent retail and hospitality on offer this Christmas. “Longer term, we need to see a wider rejuvenation plan for Belfast City Centre which sets out a broader vision of a 21st century city centre.”




uperValu and Centra have edged closer to a major fundraising milestone, expecting to raise £3m for Action Cancer by the end of 2019, having already raised £112,000 in 2018 ahead of the festive period. Every year, Centra and SuperValu retailers pull out all the stops to raise much-needed funds for the cancer charity. During SuperValu and Centra’s annual Fundraising Week initiative for 2018 (October 22-31), the companies pulled in an impressive £16,000 in just one week. In 2018, on top of their usual in-store endeavours, Centra and SuperValu stores went the extra mile by selling apple pies over the Halloween period for £2, with

David Kelly, owner of Kelly’s Centra, Trench Road, Derry~Londonderry and Brendan Gallen, head of marketing at Musgrave, are pictured with store employees Bridget (left) and Belinda (right).

£1 from each purchase donated to Action Cancer. Stores in the North West truly embraced the Halloween spirit, accounting for more than a third of the total apple pie sales. However, it was Kelly’s Centra store, located on the Trench Road in Derry~Londonderry, which excelled, selling over 800 apple pies in just one week. Funds raised support a range of projects, including the Health Action Programme for Children, supported by Centra and delivered by Action Cancer, which encourages children to take steps to prevent cancer in later life and the Big Bus mobile breast screening unit, supported by SuperValu since 2006.

SUPERVALU KING’S ROAD GETS £430,000 REVAMP S uperValu King’s Road, which first opened in 1996, has undergone a £430,000 revamp which has totally transformed the store and created eight new jobs. The major investment by Musgrave comprises a new hot and cold deli which serves up a mouth-watering selection of food, an upgraded butchery area with great value deals and gourmet coffee, Frank and Honest. “Along with an abundance of fresh, local produce, SuperValu King’s Road also showcases additional convenience store

From left, Raymond Barr, store manager, SuperValu King’s Road, and Trevor Magill, wholesale director, Musgrave.

concepts including a Post Office which is essential for some of our customers who don’t want the hassle of travelling into the city centre,” said Raymond Barr, store manager. “We also have a free-to-use ATM machine and a free home delivery service which is very popular. “I’ve spoken to as many customers as I can and the feedback about the changes we have made has been incredibly encouraging with one customer describing the store as phenomenal. We can’t wait to welcome even more customers, new and old, to our new-look store.”



usgrave ran a number of festive promotions last month, with the Centra brand bringing festive cheer to Christmas shoppers in Derry~Londonderry and Belfast with giveaways totalling £3,000 in cash prizes. Two special events were held at Guildhall Square and Belfast’s Victoria Square, as people turned out for their chance to win a top cash prize of £1,000. A live DJ provided a festive soundtrack to the afternoon, whilst Centra’s Little Helpers handed out festive Centra goodies, including food from the Centra Inspired range, and prizes. Hosted by Q Radio’s Stephen

a final three chosen to go head to head in a Christmas tree-decorating challenge. “With these two special events, we wanted to give something back to our customers and felt that there was no better time to do so than the first weekend of December, when both Belfast and Derry~Londonderry would be alive with Christmas shoppers,” said Jennifer Morton, Centra brand manager. From left, compere, Stephen Clements from Q Radio, Centra Live the And meanwhile, another Magic winner Kelly Chambers from Parkgate, Antrim; and Jennifer Morton, Centra brand manager. competition saw SuperValu and Centra join forces with Terra Travel Clements, shoppers got the chance to and Kellogg’s to offer two Northern try their hand at Centra’s exciting, Live Ireland families the opportunity to travel the Magic Cyclone competition, with to Lapland to visit Santa Claus. 33




raigavon has seen many successful developments since it was first conceived as a ‘new city’ by planners in the 1960s, foremost of which has been grocery retailing. This New Year, a further development is to enhance the offering at a longestablished business, the completion of a highly successful move to Centra by proprietor Tom Greene at his familyowned post office and busy grocery store at Legahory. Tom has already enjoyed significant benefits following his switch from Nisa to the Musgrave-owned Centra brand, not least of which has been the support and guidance from Musgrave staff. “Last year, I completed a green field site development, bringing significant investment to the area, with a new Centra store and Go Fuel forecourt opening at Lake Road, close to Rushmere shopping centre,” he says. “That has 34

been a huge success. It has resulted in staff increasing to almost 40 full and parttime workers across both sites. “Now, having already seen the impact of having the Centra fascia at Legahory and the range of services and products offered by Musgrave on my trade, we are about to complete the refit of that store as the next phase of our ongoing development.” The Greene family are well known in the area, having owned and operated convenience retail stores in Craigavon for almost as long as the conurbation has been in existence. “We have enjoyed almost 40 years of trading locally,” says Tom, adding: “We’re proud to work with Musgrave and Centra on what has been a highly-significant development for the local area.” FAMILY BUSINESS Tom’s dad, also Tom, established the

original business and while young Tom was at university, studying economics at Jordanstown, asked his son to take a year out and work alongside him. “I happily accepted,” says Tom, “but didn’t realise that I wouldn’t actually be going back to complete my studies at all. I really loved the varied and often complex nature of retailing and it’s fair to say that I caught the ‘bug’ from dad and haven’t looked back.” Tom puts in long hours himself, while Tom Snr. despite being in his 70s, often works seven days a week too. “Such is the nature of the business that when you enjoy it, as I do, that long hours come naturally, even to the extent of really enjoying all the ‘craic’ of opening the Legahory shop on Christmas Day; I wouldn’t miss that.” He said running the new site at Centra Lake Road helped considerably in planning the redevelopment of Legahory. “While there are two different sets of


customers, Lake Road actually showcases the additional convenience store concepts that Musgrave offers,” he says. “Not least is Frank and Honest Coffee (now the largest on-the-go coffee brand in Ireland), which has been phenomenally successful at Lake Road and has seen a considerable jump in business at Legahory now too. “With the imminent completion of the Centra rebranding at Legahory, I am confident that the future is good.” Lake Road is a busy forecourt-based operation, opening long hours and offering a hot and cold deli and a Mex-ago counter, which serves up a selection of burritos and Mexican-style food to go. “It has been very much about keeping the ever-busy commuter in mind, providing a range of fresh food and convenience options, alongside an extensive grocery range, and fuel, at very competitive prices,” says Tom. “But Legahory is a different market,” and a changing one too. “Our in-store post office, run by my brother Lorne, who is co-owner and postmaster, has always been the big draw for trade there. “Times are changing though, as the payment of pensions and benefits increasingly move to direct payments to people’s bank accounts, effectively cutting out the need for a weekly visit. “In that knowledge, it seemed to be a really good time to make a move away from Nisa and join what I feel is a brand that can make the crucial difference in appealing to changing consumer demands, Centra.” Legahory is already getting that essential difference, with the refit set to further enhance the business.

business will continue to change, our move to Centra and its much-enhanced service and branding, will more than make up for that. “As evidenced at Lake Road, we have created an unbelievably high tech and high-spec store of the highest standard, which we believe has greatly enhanced the area. “Legahory, once completed fully, will provide customers with convenient shopping solutions, by combining high quality products and exceptional value. “Full trolley shopping is an important element, despite all the nearby competition from multiples. While the shop will continue to be daytime trade, we are ensuring that customers get what they need.

“There are already ample parking spaces on site at Legahory, so customers can take home a full shop with ease and more than that, the increased size, better, brighter interior and frequent revision of our product layout is ongoing too. “Beyond that, I know Centra is committed to supporting independentlyowned stores, so together we can not only contribute to the local community, but also to enable shoppers to get the best of both worlds; traditional values

of outstanding customer service and good quality, fresh foods, paired with competitive pricing. “This helps us to respond to the changing needs of both our business and that of the busy consumer and provide a more social and relaxing environment.” Speaking on behalf of Musgrave, Nigel Maxwell, Centra sales director, said: “Centra Legahory is a great addition to the Centra store network in Northern Ireland, which is now 88 strong. “Tom and his team have a rich history in the area and vast experience of running successful stores, so we have no doubt their latest venture will be just as fruitful. Their continued investment in the Craigavon area has brought more jobs and made life easier for countless locals who enjoy great quality food and drink at competitive prices. We would like to wish Tom and all of his team the best of luck with the new store.” FUTURE Looking further ahead, Tom is also hoping that the retailing ‘bug’ will see his young daughters join the business too. “That’s a work in progress,” he says, but adding that the girls have already been trying out the business by ‘helping out’ at the tills; closely supervised of course. Tom also feels that retailing is a muchundervalued occupation, as it offers such challenges and variety. “We recently took on a young apprentice at Legahory, partly as a way of helping the overall community,” he says. “I am sure an apprenticeship in grocery retailing is a huge step towards a successful career. “After all, I have been enjoying my role since abandoning my degree and look forward to many years of success to come, in partnership with Musgrave and under the new Centra fascia.”

COMMUNITY “Legahory is much more about community,” says Tom. “We enjoy considerable levels of trolley shopping, thanks largely to the range and value on offer from Musgrave. “While we predict that Post Office 35



From left, George Rankin, senior director Asda NI; Councillor Tim Attwood, SDLP; Lord Mayor Councillor Deirdre Hargey; and Roger Croskery, general store manager Asda Westwood.


sda has completed investments totalling £6m at its Newtownards and Westwood stores, as part of a remodelling programme aimed at creating a more convenient shopping experience. At the Newtownards store, the investment includes redevelopment of Asda’s petrol station, which has been resited to a more accessible position in the

car park, and now includes pay-as-you-go pumps, offering 24/7 availability to all motorists. The in-store experience and flow of the store has also been significantly improved, thanks to a new layout and compete refit of all fixtures and fittings. In direct response to customer feedback, the ever-popular George clothing and Home sections have also been revamped to offer extended ranges and more seasonal products. Asda Westwood has, meanwhile, invested £3m in its popular west Belfast store which employs over 240 colleagues and has been an established part of the local community since 2005 when Asda first opened in Northern Ireland. The new look store has expanded into the adjacent retail unit, creating an additional 7,000 square feet of floor space to accommodate a new layout, wider aisles and additional display areas. The George clothing, home and leisure sections have also been extended and revamped to encompass more floor space and offer ease of access for shoppers. Throughout the store all fittings and fixtures have all been replaced, offering improved access and enhancing the overall flow of the store. Customer convenience has also been a key consideration with Click & Collect lockers

From left, George Rankin, senior director Asda NI; Councillor Deborah Girvan; Mayor of Ards and North Down Richard Smart; Kate Hamilton, general store manager, Asda Newtownards; and Stephen Dunlop, representing the Green Party.

now installed in the car park along with Scan & Go technology in store. “We’re delighted to deliver this bigger, new-look store offering an improved layout and better services to our customers, old and new, all in time for the busiest shopping period of the year,” said Roger Croskery, general store manager, Asda Westwood. “We look forward to offering an even better shopping experience for Christmas, throughout 2019 and beyond.”

IAA AWARD ROUNDS OFF A WINNING YEAR FOR MULKERNS Terry Mulkern, owner of Mulkerns EUROSPAR collecting his IAA category star award at the awards gala in London.


Co Down retailer has been awarded two category star titles at the Independent Achievers Academy (IAA) Gala Dinner, held recently in London. Terry Mulkerns, owner of Mulkerns EUROSPAR in the Forkhill area of Newry, took to the stage to collect his awards for Best In-store Display and a second for Staff Development, in recognition of the positive working environment he has created. He was the only Northern Ireland winner recognised on the night. Mulkerns has adopted a comprehensive approach to staff development, delivering a robust induction programme to all new colleagues, regardless of their previous experience. All staff are enrolled in a vigorous customer service course and receive one-to-one coaching from Mulkerns himself. Regular team meetings and a weekly staff newsletter help ensure all staff are fully aware of everything happening in the store. “I’m extremely proud to have been recognised by the Independent Achievers Academy and won two retail stars,” he said. “This is testament to the hard work that has been done 36

throughout our store by all our staff throughout the last year. “It’s particularly special to be recognised on a national stage and for me reinforces the message that our stores in Northern Ireland can compete on the very highest level and come out on top.” The IAA win rounds off an award-winning year for the store.




t has been a whirlwind 18 months for Co Down retailer Gary Luney. Over the past 18 months, Gary has seen his business interests grow from a single Post Office/CTN site in Ballywalter to now having three stores trading with Savage & Whitten under the Today’s brand. Gary explains that the past 18 months have been an exciting time for both himself and his wife Kezia, who is also heavily involved in keeping the new business growth plans on track. Although Gary has come from a background in the motor trade with a long and established career in cars sales, working with Charles Hurst for nearly 30 years, retailing has always been a passion and a family affair. Gary and Kezia have operated the Post Office/CTN business in Ballywalter, which is connected to the family home, since 2001. With living next door, the shop is always part of the daily family life of Gary, Kezia and their two children. Already dealing with Savage & Whitten in Ballywalter as a wholesale customer, Gary felt that the move to the Today’s Express model was the best option to take his business forward. It was this move that started the journey that Gary 38

is now on with Savage & Whitten and the Today’s brand. Not long after the Ballywalter site was rebranded to the Today’s Express model, Gary was offered the opportunity to take on another site in Glenard Newtownards. This site was currently operating under a different fascia, but with the support of the Today’s Business Development team at Savage & Whitten, the site was rebranded and transformed to Today’s Local. Gary explained that the Glenard site needed some major investment to get it back on its feet again. The store has gone through a full refit and relay, which seen the turnover more than double during the first three months of trading. The site now has Lottery, Paypoint, Hermes Parcel Services along with coffee, ice cream and hot snacks, which have all contributed the growth the site has shown to date. “The new look store has now enabled me to expand on my current product range, provide the extra services and along with the introduction of the new three-weekly promotional leaflet I am able to provide my customers with better value for money in store,” he says. “This has proved to be a major benefit to the store, and a great attraction for my local

customers.” As Gary explains his passion for his two existing retail sites, he has also just announced the recent opening of his third site, again working in partnership with Savage & Whitten. The third site on the Woodstock Road in Belfast is another major undertaking which has seen the site transformed for opening as a Today’s Local over a short period of time. Over the three sites, Gary employs 20 full- and part-time staff who all contribute in a massive way to the growth of the family business to make it what it is today. “The move to Today’s has been the correct fit for my business,” he says. “Their dedicated business development manager for the Belfast, Co Down area is always on site weekly, supporting me in maintaining standards, growing the profile of the three sites but more importantly, driving sales and profitability in each store. Support is always available when required.” It is exciting and busy times ahead for Gary and, who knows what the future holds, or how many more new retails sites he may have by this time next year.



ohn Agnew CBE, who adorns the cover of this Yearbook, is a stalwart of the industry as he stands at the helm of leading grocers and retailers, Henderson Group, owners of the SPAR, EUROSPAR, VIVO, VIVOXTRA and VIVO Essentials brands in Northern Ireland. He was pivotal in bringing the SPAR brand here to Northern Ireland in 1960 and, from there, the Group has flourished under his impeccable leadership, alongside his sons Martin and Geoffrey Agnew, who are chairmen and joint managing directors of the Group. At the end of last year, John Agnew was honoured with the Outstanding Achievement Award at the UK-wide retail Oscars, the Retail Industry Awards, for all he has contributed to the industry over the past seven decades. Under his and his sons’ guidance, the Group has grown to extraordinary breadths, and proudly holds the Henderson Retail, Wholesale, Foodservice and Property companies under the Group umbrella, and 2018 was a positive year for all businesses. Here, Ulster Grocer speaks to Martin Agnew, managing director of Henderson Group, reflecting on an ambitious year of growth last year and looks forward to another year of bringing innovation to the grocery and retail market in Northern Ireland. The past 12 months have experienced a boom of diversity in the grocery and retail sector. The competition in Northern Ireland has not gone unnoticed, and it has compelled those wholesalers and retailers to push their innovations through the roof. At Henderson Group, this rings true, as their innovations have brought extraordinary boosts to these industries in Northern Ireland. Within Henderson’s retail operation, 15 new company-owned and independent stores opened in 2018, providing a sales growth of 8% on 2017. Martin Agnew says: “Many of our new outlets, and retailers who have expanded, are setting a new precedent for our Community Supermarket promise, for example, EUROSPAR Wallace Village is the centre piece in a £10m development for Lisburn, while SPAR Fortfield, which opened at the end of the year, is a completely new concept for a SPAR store here in Northern Ireland.” Within this store’s 7,000-squarefoot space is a one-stop-shop for the community; the retail team have curated the store to completely enhance the shopping experience by bringing all the essentials under one roof. The 40

A YEAR OF OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENTS combination of fresh, everyday groceries alongside the country’s first ever Barista Bar Café feels like the team have taken an international slant to provide for local demands. Martin says that’s how they’ll continue to work throughout 2019: “As consumer demands and trends diversify, and behaviour changes ever more to little and often, instead of one big shop, our retail stores will be at the forefront of communities catering to these changes. We already have seven new stores in the pipeline this year. “Our wholesale teams which help fill the shelves of our retail outlets with wonderful local suppliers, develop our own-brand ranges and create unique, footfall-driving reasons to visit. In 2018, wholesale experienced a 12.5% rise in sales at the end of 2018 thanks to our continued investment. There is a neverending pedalling of innovation from these teams.” That investment, says Martin, will go

towards collaboration and innovation to further drive sales in 2019. Top priorities include price matching through their Community Supermarket brands, EUROSPAR and VIVOXTRA, and a further spotlight on our local food producers who Martin says are miles apart from their UK and European counterparts:“Our farmers, growers and producers here are working with us to create lines never seen in a community store before. This really is what is setting us apart and will continue to do so this year.” For the Group, fresh and food-fornow propositions are top of the list. At the end of last year, they announced the extension of their Daily Deli range of sandwiches and salads which will complement their hot food-to-go options. Stores are being invested in to expand and help them house these options for shoppers. In fact, food-to-go sales have risen by 22% in the past year. The in-store hot food-to-go services are facilitated by Henderson Foodservice,


John Agnew with his son Geoffrey (right) and Grandson Andrew (left) after his Outstanding Achievement Award win at the Retail Industry Awards.

2018 was a great year of retailer milestones with both Eamon McKillop and Peter McBride celebrating 30 years of their retailing careers.

which has implemented a long-term strategy that will set the company on a path to even more successes this year. “Foodservice is a part of our business working across the island of Ireland. Our long-term strategy under the Quality is Served mission is working towards objectives surrounding customers, infrastructure, market and people. This year will see further development of Foodservice’s new digital presence through content, recipes and supplier engagement.” This year, construction will also begin on the new multimillion-pound Henderson Foodservice ambient warehouse which will also house additional office space for the team. Martin adds: “We have been improving our distribution service through the rollout of evening deliveries which further complements the construction to support growth throughout ambient foodservice.” The aforementioned collaboration between Foodservice and Henderson’s Fresh Wholesale team will be evident as operations continue in 2019. “We have invested in the team charged with developing food-for-now sales, and they have trialled new in-store bakeries, selfservice chicken-bars and lunchtime carveries,” says Martin. “EUROSPAR Lagan Valley, which opened in the summer of 2018 is the first of our stores to introduce The Bakery. This is a SPAR International concept that offers a diverse range of over 50 products with a specially appointed in-store baker.” Nathan O’Doherty is the dedicated in-store baker in the Lagan Valley supermarket, baking fresh, assorted products throughout the day. These include ham & cheese swirls, Monterey Jack cheese twists and speciality

breads like Sourdough Boulots. “These are artisan products which you would expect to find in a boulangerie in France, and once again, raises the bar for in-store food-to-go options in Northern Ireland. This is an extremely competitive arena, but one in which we are excelling and will continue to do so.” Martin predicts that, by the end of 2019, Henderson Group will be an even more efficient operation: through investment in logistics with smoother deliveries and coordination; through sales thanks to shopper experience investments including the self-checkout innovation launched by Henderson Technology last year, and a diversification and accessibility of products; and through the entire network of almost 500 SPAR, EUROSPAR, VIVO, VIVOXTRA and VIVO Essentials stores and supermarkets here. “Technology is playing an increasingly crucial role throughout our entire operation, so we are harnessing new technologies to manage costs and improve customer experience with Henderson Technology. Over 95% of our network of stores and supermarkets run Henderson Technology’s EDGEPoS scanning system and their self-service

Henderson Wholesale’s own-brand ranges continue to go from strength to strength.

checkouts are gaining global industry recognition. IGD noted it as their global innovation of the week in August 2018, and EDGEPoS won Retailing Technology of the Year at the National Technology Awards.” Henderson Technology had a strong year outside of Northern Ireland too. In Australia, they installed more systems in 2018 than in the previous three years combined, and SPAR UK has also harnessed their industry-leading technology throughout stores in Great Britain. The accolades won in 2018 provide a glimpse into what we can expect from Henderson Group’s companies in 2019; Food-to-Go Retailer of the Year, Chilled Retailer of the Year, Community Retailer of the Year… the list goes on. “People, community, value, choice, provenance and quality are the pillars of our Group. This year, we will continue to invest and expand in every one of those areas which will enable us to bring even better services, options, products, outlets and opportunity for our growing network of retailers. Our retailers are some of the best in the world, and we are celebrating many long service awards throughout the network this year. Many of our Henderson Retail opened EUROSPAR independent retailers are setting Wallace Village and Lagan Valley in standards globally by choosing the summer of 2018. Henderson Group to collaborate with, allowing for expansion and developments in their local communities and beyond.” Nearing the end of 2018, Henderson Group posted a rise of 12.7% in sales year-onyear. This solidifies the promise made by the company that the horizon is full of ambition and opportunity, ready to be grasped by this business at the forefront of the industry. 41



Pictured at the Ulster Grocers’ Ball 2018 is the GroceryAid NI Committee: back row, from left, Alan McKeown, Bryan Sterling, Angus O’Neill, Aidan Fisher, Paddy Murney and Jim McAlea and, front row, from left, Colin Orr, Mark Glover, Bronagh Luke, Trevor Magill and Mark Gowdy.

GroceryAid hosted an event at the Houses of Parliament, inviting MPs from across the UK to learn more about the charity and its work. Pictured are Mandi Leonard from GroceryAid and Owen Paterson, MP for North Shropshire.

Around £15,000 was raised for GroceryAid at the Autumn Ball, held in the Culloden on October 5. Pictured are Donna Chesters, Peter Mulgrew, Andrea Whyte and Ian Wylie, Coca-Cola.


At the annual John Barrett Sunday Lunch, held in Deanes at Queens on November 18, over £3,000 is raised for GroceryAid. Pictured are Cliff Kells and Bernie Kells, with Sandra and Mark Gowdy and Stuart and Claire Best (White’s Oats).

Around £40,000 was raised for GroceryAid at the Ulster Grocers’ Ball held in the Culloden Estate & Spa on April 27. The lucky winner of the star prize at the Ulster Grocers’ Ball was Aidan Fisher of the PRM Group, pictured centre, with host Claire McCollum and Peter Henry, GM of Allied Bakeries, which donated the star prize – a trip to Abu Dhabi.


CLEAN UP WITH YOUR ACT WITH KÄRCHER LEADING KÄRCHER SUPPLIER CRAIGMORE IS STEADILY BUILDING BUSINESS IN THE FMCG AND GROCERY SECTORS, AND HAS AMBITIOUS PLANS TO EXPAND BEYOND ITS BELFAST AND PORTADOWN SITES, MANAGING DIRECTOR GEOFF BAIRD TELLS ALYSON MAGEE HOW HAVE YOU BEEN MARKETING KÄRCHER BELFAST? It’s new and will take time to get it fully established. We’re still at the stage of flying the flag, and introducing ourselves to the Belfast customer base. It’s the first Kärcher centre in the city, so it’s important to let people know we’re here and we offer the full range of sales, service and back up. We’ve been doing billboard advertising and mailshots to raise brand awareness. We’re in an age where it’s all about digital, but the best driver of footfall has been direct mail to homes and businesses.

WHEN DID YOU FIRST BECOME INVOLVED WITH THE KÄRCHER BRAND? I started out in 1990, selling cleaning equipment and cleaning products around car dealerships, haulage companies and the transport industry. After a few years of doing chemical products and tools, we were introduced to the Kärcher range, starting out with just the pressure washers. Now, 28 years later, we have two Kärcher centres in Northern Ireland and plan to keep expanding. Portadown would be our main branch with a Kärcher showroom but also multi-franchise tool distribution, while Belfast is specifically for the Kärcher brand. WHAT MADE YOU DECIDE TO OPEN KÄRCHER’S BIGGEST DISTRIBUTION HUB IN THE UK AND IRELAND ON THE BOUCHER ROAD IN BELFAST LAST YEAR? Belfast was the natural step. We looked at it for years, but it took us a while to establish a model and put a plan in place. We’d looked at the all-Ireland market and where people were travelling from, and discovered there was quite a substantial amount of traffic coming from south of the border but primarily coming to Belfast. The Boucher Road is one of those areas where people tend to stop in or call to. It’s high-end retail but there’s also an industrial environment here, and we are finding industrial customers are coming 44

in from Belfast and from south of the border. We also have a lot of Kärcher home and garden customers coming in for sales and service. Boucher Road is the first of a number of Kärcher centres we’re looking at for the island of Ireland. Two will be sufficient for Northern Ireland, while we think the Republic of Ireland will probably warrant three. KÄRCHER BELFAST IS A LUXURY EXPERIENCE FROM ITS COFFEE BAR AND LIVING WALL TO ITS SPACIOUS LAYOUT – IS IT TYPICAL OF KÄRCHER CENTRES? In conversations with Kärcher UK, we explained our thinking that its products are now high-end retail as well as industrial, and it was important to move that forward with a better customer experience in a bigger showroom. I don’t know anyone else in the cleaning equipment industry in Northern Ireland with a showroom like this. We want people to be able to see everything, have a good experience and be able to make an informed decision. We have also written an entire suite of software to be used by all the staff in Belfast, which allows them to interact with customers on the floor using live data on a handheld device. This is a first for Kärcher, and allows us to record the interaction and then follow up with customers.

TELL US ABOUT KÄRCHER When the haulage companies we were supplying began asking about equipment, the Kärcher brand seemed the obvious choice. There are a number of aspects that make it the biggest cleaning equipment manufacturer in the world. One of course is the German engineering and technology, but Kärcher is also very forward thinking. The average Kärcher product is less than five years old, so their R&D department is huge. For example, Kärcher has a new digital system on scrubber driers allowing you to access your machine remotely using any sort of handheld device, and view live data on where the machine is and what it is doing or track any faults. That’s a big move forward for the food industry, contract cleaning and facilities management. So, we ended up with Kärcher and were able to grow from small beginnings to the third largest dealer in the UK. WHAT DO YOU DO DIFFERENTLY THAT MAKES YOU SUCCESSFUL? Craigmore has built its business traditionally on customer service and that’s still the key; the ability to respond quickly to customer needs and match a product best suited to them. We have a team of Kärcher-trained engineers and can respond quickly if there is a breakdown. We continue our relationship with customers, speaking to them on a regular basis about changes in their needs, changes in the Kärcher range or to offer solutions for problems arising

COMPANY PROFILE within their businesses. We are a solutiondriven company, helping customers and delivering best service in the long term. We have the product knowledge that other organisations may not have. DO YOU OFFER ADDED VALUE SERVICES? We offer a range of solutions from outright purchase to a lease option or lease package with full maintenance. With the lease option, a lot of people would take a machine on a 36- or 48-month contract, and then they can stay with it long term or upgrade to a new model with new technology. If machines will have a number of users, we’re also happy to go in and train and certify the staff to the Kärcher standard so they know how to operate and maintain their own machines. We can also offer bespoke solutions to customers if needed. HOW HAS YOUR BUSINESS EVOLVED? Craigmore started as a small, singlevehicle operation in Scarva with just me, and then moved to larger industrial premises in Portadown in 1999. Twentyeight years later, we have 33 staff based between Belfast and Portadown. Business is good, and we see real opportunities on the island but we see also opportunities outside of the island. About three years ago, we started an ecommerce website which has grown dramatically, and we see the ability to trade online as a major opportunity. From our substantial warehouse in Portadown, we use a number of couriers to deliver across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Northern Ireland would still account for 70% of the business, the Republic of Ireland 15%, and the UK mainland and into Europe, another 15%. The Kärcher sales model would be 70% industrial and 30% home and garden, and already we are finding that trend here in Belfast. We see a big opportunity to develop online sales growth in export markets. WHO WOULD YOUR KEY CLIENTS BE IN NORTHERN IRELAND? Because our traditional base was transport, we probably deal with 70% of the haulage, coach and bus hire companies and car dealers. With the move into Belfast, we began to look more at manufacturing, facility management and the food industry. We are working

with Irwin’s Bakery, Moy Park, Old Bushmills Distillery and Wilson Country in the food sector and we’re also now introducing ourselves to the SPAR and Nisa networks; both of which have given “We have worked closely with Geoff Baird and his team for some years now, and we have been delighted every year with how they have helped us with our cleaning solutions. So much so that we have just renewed a contract for five years with Geoff and his team, whose product knowledge and aftercare service is second to none. I cannot recommend Geoff highly enough for anyone seeking to improve their cleaning solutions.” Eugene Hamilton, plant and hygiene manager at Irwin’s Bakery

us the opportunity to call with their members and introduce the Kärcher brand. Henderson Group has gone one step further, and actually recommends the Kärcher brand, so that’s opened up a whole new area of convenience retail and we’re seeing good opportunities coming. Kärcher also recently picked up the contract for Tesco and we won’t be directly involved in the sale, but we will be involved in the service and maintenance of those products in Northern Ireland on behalf of Kärcher UK. WHAT IS ON OFFER AT KÄRCHER BELFAST AND HOW CAN IT HELP THE FMCG AND GROCERY SECTORS? Our home and garden products range from £50 to £500, and industrial products can be anywhere from £100 to £50,000. It’s a vast range of products, and some businesses may only need one product while some have multiple machines within their factory for different individual needs. Kärcher really can cover all aspects of what a customer will need within their premises. Quite often someone comes in with £2,000 in their head and leaves with a £5,000 machine, not because we’ve oversold them, but because we know that machine will do the job quicker and more efficiently. Not many independent retail stores have a dedicated cleaner so generally a member of staff has to step into that role, and it’s important that person is trained to use the right equipment properly so they spend an

Kärcher Center Belfast, 1-2 Windsor Business Park, Boucher Place, Belfast, BT12 6HT. T: +44 28 90667 333 • E: W:

hour doing it instead of two hours and can get back to their normal role. WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR 2019? Our plans for 2019 would be to expand the customer base within Belfast and the greater Belfast area, driving footfall into the store for people to see and experience the entire Kärcher range. We will also go out and visit industrial and retail customers, introduce the product range and let them know what Kärcher can offer. The Kärcher Center in Belfast will become the UK and European centre of excellence, and we are hosting a major Kärcher Conference in Belfast in 2019. We expect senior Kärcher executives to be present, looking at how we have grown but also at other opportunities in Northern Ireland. We have been working closely with Belfast City Council and Invest NI to showcase Belfast as a city to invest in.

THE MAN BEHIND CRAIGMORE • In 1990, Geoff Baird got married, built a house and started Craigmore. • Two of his three children are working at Craigmore, while also studying Business Management at Queen’s Belfast, and a third, April is in teacher training at Stranmillis. • Jourdan Baird, 23, picked up a Young Business Person Award last year for driving Craigmore’s ecommerce sales, while Craig Baird, 20, was instrumental in developing the software for shop floor customer service and sales in the new Belfast centre. • Geoff enjoys gardening and cycling with his wife Joy; reading business books, crime thrillers and the Bible; and travelling for beach holidays or major sporting events (next up is the Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan). If you have any further enquiries, please call Stephen Anderson - 028 90667333.



Left to Right: Rachel Greenlees, Co-op, Lady Dufferin & Bryan Boggs, Clandeboye Estate, Simon Dryell, Co-op.


landeboye Estate in Northern Ireland, which produces a range of handcrafted yoghurt made with milk from its pedigree herds of Holstein and Jersey cows, has won the Small Producer of the Year Award for its Greek Style Yoghurt in the Quality Food Awards’ Dairy category. Clandeboye received the award,

presented in partnership with the Coop, at a glittering award ceremony in London’s Grosvenor House Hotel. Judges said they were impressed by the ‘passion, drive and love’ that went into the business, and the yoghurt’s ‘creamy smooth texture’, ‘indulgent feel’ and, overall ‘quality’.

“We are absolutely delighted, it is incredible recognition within the food industry, bringing our brand to a whole new audience and supporting our business development,” said Bryan Boggs, general manager at the Clandeboye Estate. “We use slow overnight incubation and hand straining to produce an authentically strained Greek-style yoghurt. For a small company like us who started up 10 years ago, quality is everything; we have always said we work up to a standard and not down to a price. Winning awards like this show that as we grow we are not compromising, but actually improving the quality of our products.” Simon Dryell, category trading manager at the Co-op, said: “This award showcases the inspiring mix of quality, history and innovation that goes into these products. Not to mention the love, care and detail which has gone into product development and creation. Connecting communities and bringing people together is at the heart of the Co-op, and providing locally-loved produce closer to where our members and customers want and care about it is something that our customers tell us is really important to them.”




orthern Irish chilled and frozen food producer TS Foods has picked up an award in the Frozen Party Food category at the Quality Food Awards in London. The Castlewellanbased company produces the Mini Corn-Dogs, featuring quality frankfurters in a tempura corn batter with an American mustard dip, for frozen retail giant Iceland. “We’re delighted that yet another one of our products has scooped a prestigious award for a valued customer,” said Joanne Molloy, managing director of TS Foods. “The Mini Corn-Dogs were a completely new product for us and we enjoyed working in partnership with Iceland in developing these. “As a business, we pride ourselves on being able to deliver top quality products for our many customers across Northern Ireland, Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland so this is a great coup for both Iceland and TS Foods.” The Mini Corn-Dogs come with 16 in each box and are available exclusively at Iceland.

LOCAL PRODUCERS SHOWCASED AT FIRST HILLSBOROUGH CHRISTMAS MARKET From left, Alderman Jim Dillon MBE; Mayor Uel Mackin; Alderman William Leathem; Alison Abernethy, Abernethy Butter; and Alderman Allan Ewart MBE.


ver 3,000 members of the public descended on Dark Walk at Hillsborough Fort on December 14 to support local food producers and craftspeople in the first Hillsborough Christmas Market, hosted by Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council. Food and crafts lovers from across Northern Ireland spent the evening enjoying the many seasonal foods and crafts on offer from some of the country’s finest artisan producers, including Abernethy Butter, Ke Nako Biltong, Bara Bakehouse, Harnett’s Oils, Deli Muru, Crumbs Vegan Bakery and The Hatch.




ntroduced to the Northern Irish market in May 2018, AdeZ, a dairyfree smoothie containing seeds, fruit juices and vitamins, continues to grow in popularity. With bases like almond, rice, soy and oats, plant-based drinks are increasingly popular around the world as people seek out healthy and nutritious choices. A desire for healthy on-the-go snacking, especially among urban Millennials, is a major driver of this trend. AdeZ taps into this fast-growing category with a nourishing range that blends seeds with fruit juices, vitamins and minerals for a rich, smooth and delicious taste. AdeZ is available in three scrumptious, on-the-go flavours: Amazing Almond, Awesome Oat and Courageous Coconut. 48

To fit all needs and desires, AdeZ is not only ideal for vegans and vegetarians, but for everyone interested in plant-based nutrition. AdeZ also is naturally lactosefree and contains no added sugar — only what is already in the natural ingredients. It is slightly sweetened with stevia (steviol glycoside), a non-caloric sweetener from a natural source. Martina Lovetinska, marketing manager, Coca-Cola HBC Ireland and Northern Ireland, said: “We understand that our consumers are increasingly conscious of their nutritional choices, and they are also leading busier and more complex lives. To respond, we’ve been evolving our product portfolio to provide simply nutritious and delicious drinks. “With this great new brand AdeZ, we have a drinks range that responds

to the global trend for healthy on-thego snacking. With our three great new recipes, we will help retailers cater to all tastes into 2019 and beyond.” The three-strong range is available in 250ml single serve bottles and represents a unique opportunity for retailers to build their on-the-go beverages and snacking offer in store. Throughout 2019, AdeZ will be supported with a fully-integrated marketing campaign, including consumer sampling, out of home advertising, digital and PR targeting Millennials. The AdeZ brand originates from Argentina, where it has been popular since it launched in 1988. In Mexico, Brazil and Argentina, it is the most popular drink in its segment. Coca-Cola acquired the brand in March 2017.




new report from the UK’s leading sustainability experts WRAP shows for the first time the scale of milk waste across the food chain, from processing to our homes, and highlights ways we can significantly reduce the 330,000 tonnes of total milk lost each year, worth more than £150m. Milk waste in the home is by far the largest contributor, accounting for nearly 90% of UK milk waste with 290,000 tonnes thrown out every year. This equates to more than 490 million pints of milk as a nation - or eighteen and a half pints per household. Furthermore, milk waste in the supply chain, through breakages and leaks during transportation and in retail outlets, represents 30,000 tonnes; with an additional 13,000 tonnes of waste identified during processing. WRAP’s report Opportunities to Reduce Waste along the Journey of Milk, from Dairy to Home identifies key actions that could help reduce this waste by an estimated 90,000 tonnes per year, offering a potential combined saving of upwards of £40m. Actions are required across the entire value chain, and WRAP’s work shows opportunities to reduce milk waste during processing, transportation, retail and ultimately how we can all cut milk waste in our homes. WRAP has begun work tackling the biggest trigger for waste in the home, refrigeration.

MILK WASTE IN THE HOME WRAP’s research shows that more than anything else, keeping milk at the right temperature is essential to stop it spoiling early, and the typical UK fridge at home is operating at 2°C warmer than the recommended Food Standards Agency guideline of between 0-5 degrees. Moreover, many people don’t know what temperature their fridge is running at or have any easy way of knowing how to set it to the right temperature. Under its Love Food Hate Waste campaign, WRAP is addressing the confusion people have with the variety of fridges settings with a new 54

interactive guide www. The resource helps anyone check that the temperature setting is correct for 24 of the county’s most popular fridges. WRAP estimates reducing the temperature of our fridges to below 5°C could stop more than 50,000 tonnes of milk waste every year, saving shoppers £25m. Another way to tackle the confusion around fridge temperatures could be the use of temperature sensitive labels on milk. These use thermochromic inks, which change colour above or below a certain temperature threshold (e.g. 5°C), and could therefore display messages indicating that the fridge (and milk) is too warm. As milk is a universal product in most people’s fridges, they could be a conduit to help improve awareness at a significant scale – with food waste prevention benefits across many other products. In terms of existing labelling, WRAP’s best practice guidance for the choice and application of date labels and storage guidance, produced with Defra and the Food Standards Agency last year, champions the use of the Little Blue Fridge icon with supporting messaging to ‘keep in the fridge below 5°C’ on the front of all milk bottles. The label and icon reflect the need for clearer storage instructions and WRAP is calling for the Little Blue Fridge to be more widely used on milk packaging. Another way to reduce milk waste at home is increased freezing, and WRAP is working with the dairy sector to assess how increased freezing could assist in reducing milk waste at home. Only a quarter of the population (26%) freeze milk compared with half who freeze meat (51%), and the number who freeze fish and seafood (37%) and bread (35%). WRAP estimates that increasing freezing levels for milk to match those of fish and bread could cut more than 10,000 tonnes of waste, saving £5m. However, there are a number of quality and handing issues associated with freezing

that have also been reported, such as the potential for bottles to split or leak. The dairy sector is working to make sure that it’s clear which milk products can be frozen, and that more packs can withstand freezing. WRAP also looked at the benefits that longer shelf lives could bring, and its research shows that increasing the average ‘use by’ life available to consumers by just one day could reduce waste by more than 20,000 tonnes, or £10m. Industry continues to take positive steps to increase milk shelf life, including processing innovations, site hygiene best practices, and reducing time in the supply chain. Smart labelling innovations that can adjust shelf life based on the condition of the milk might also offer a future opportunity to increase the life on-pack. WRAP also reiterates a series of recommendations made to white goods manufacturers, to ensure products like milk have optimum storage conditions. MILK WASTES IN THE SUPPLY CHAIN Turning attention further along the supply chain, the most significant waste identified during milk processing arises from the process of separating cream from milk, which produces a material known as ‘separator desludge’. This is usually sent straight to drain, but WRAP believes this is a potentially rich resource with high nutrient value proteins. Further processing into materials suitable for food, or animal feed applications could reduce waste by an estimated 10,000 tonnes and cut disposal costs by around £1m a year. WRAP also identifies practical interventions to avoid milk waste in depots and retail stores, which could save industry an estimated £1.5m. For example, reviewing bottle design and specifications to avoid breakages and leaks which are the major causes of waste at this stage of the product journey. WRAP will work with the sector through the Courtauld 2025 Dairy Working Group to help ensure the recommendations are implemented and plans to track improvements and innovations to pack design and labelling over time through its Retail Survey. Progress will also be reported as part of a new target within The Dairy Roadmap - to increase product and packaging design features that help prevent consumer food waste.



he annual Devenish Charity Ball welcomed over 400 guests to the historic setting of Dowth in Co Meath on the eve of the popular Dowth Point to Point and Country Fair. Hosted by agri technology company Devenish, the black-tie event took place in a bespoke, beautiful autumnal dressed marquee nestled on The Old Racecourse within the stunning Devenish Lands at Dowth. Devenish’s customers, partners and guests enjoyed a meal, using the finest seasonal produce from the Boyne Valley. Show-jumping reporter Brendan McArdle (The Irish Field) compered the evening whilst point to point commentator Richard Pugh led a hugely successful charity auction. Every cent raised from the event and auction will go towards Devenish’s charity partners Farm Africa and Irish Injured Jockeys. Guests from the farming, food, business and sports worlds were amongst the guestlist, including Irish rugby captain Rory Best and family, the British Ambassador to Ireland Robin Barnett, celebrated amateur jockey Jamie Codd, and Ireland’s top event rider Sarah Ennis who recently picked up a silver medal with the Irish eventing team at this year’s World Equestrian Games.

Owen Brennan and Alice Stanton.

Amy Taylor and Sara McGaughey.

Rory Best, Jodie Best, Pat Best and John Best.

Joe and Frances Lawson.

Kathryn Walls, Rachel Kelly and Danielle Watterson.

Simon Caughey, Rachael Minford and Kris Ferguson.

Justin Coleman and Annie Coleman.

Barbara Sweetman and Marie White.

Seamus and Sally Ann Kenny.

Schira Mullen and David Conway.




Pictured are Colin Jones, pastoral co-coordinator, Blackwater Integrated College (back left); Claire Hutchinson, corporate relations manager, Diageo Northern Ireland (back right); Collingwood Learning Team - Mary McGurk (front left), Dan Coulter (front middle), Aaron Hickland (front right); and Blackwater Integrated pupils Jaye Clydesdale and Conor Correia.


mashed, a global programme that is dedicated to preventing underage drinking around the world, has now been delivered to 20,000 school students across Northern Ireland. Led by Collingwood Learning and sponsored by Diageo Northern Ireland, Smashed is a theatre-based programme to educate young people on the dangers of underage drinking in a way that is creative, engaging and hard-hitting. The initiative looks to empower young people by equipping them with the information, awareness and confidence to make responsible choices around alcohol. The programme combines a live theatre production presented by professional actors accompanied by interactive workshops,

evaluation and teaching resources for schools, which have been endorsed by The Council for the Curriculum, Examinations, and Assessment in Northern Ireland. Smashed first came to Northern Ireland in February 2016 and since then has visited 150 schools across all education authority areas. The 20,000-student milestone was recently reached at Blackwater Integrated College in Downpatrick. “Diageo is committed to empowering young people to resist the peer pressure and culture associated with alcohol and underage drinking,” said Claire Hutchinson, corporate relations manager, Diageo Northern Ireland. “We believe that education is key in helping students to make informed decisions about alcohol consumption in the future – should they legally choose to drink - and in reducing alcohol related harm. “The Smashed initiative has been welcomed by schools here who have shown great support and we’re delighted to be able to say that 20,000 students have now been involved. We are proud to be playing a significant role in educating young people about the risks of alcohol and sincerely thank all of those schools and students who have participated to date. We look forward to continuing the delivery of Smashed in 2019.” The Smashed Project is now live in 20 countries and will reach over 100,000 young people around the world in 2018 alone. Since its launch in the UK 14 years ago, Smashed Live has engaged over half a million students with stunning evidence of impact and fantastic feedback from all stakeholders. Diageo is dedicated to preventing underage drinking around the world and has been a proud sponsor of ‘Smashed’ since its birth in 2005.


Helen Mulholland, Master Blender for Bushmills Irish Whiskey.

ushmills Irish Whiskey Master Blender Helen Mulholland has been inducted into the Whisky Magazine Hall of Fame; the first woman to receive the honour since its inception in 2004. The recognition is the highest honour awarded by Whisky Magazine, the world’s leading publication about whiskey, and is selected by an independent editorial panel. The award comes as Mulholland celebrates her 25th year at The Old Bushmills Distillery, the world’s oldest licensed whiskey distillery. She began her career in a small laboratory at The Old Bushmills Distillery and is now Master Blender, crafting both Bushmills Irish Whiskey premium blends and aged single malts. Known for her passion for innovation, Mulholland has overseen a number of


new product launches during her time at The Distillery, including The Steamship Collection, the brand’s first global travel retail exclusive range, and the new Bushmills Distillery Exclusive, a limiteedition single malt whiskey aged in acacia wood. “I’m honoured to be among so many titans in our industry,” she said. “I have truly enjoyed my 25 years at The Old Bushmills Distillery, and I look forward to many more. I often say I have one of the best jobs in the world and it is an honour to see my work recognised in this way. “Since I started at The Distillery, my passion has been to develop new whiskeys and experiment with different casks and flavours. There’s nothing better than introducing a new Irish whiskey to the market as it’s such an exciting time for the Irish whiskey category.

Demand continues to soar, especially for premium malts, so we will continue to innovate and create new expressions for whiskey drinkers around the world.” The award was presented to Helen at the 2019 Whisky Magazine Awards Ireland at a ceremony in Dublin on November 22.



upscale, ‘speed scratch’ solutions and restaurant-quality, ready-toconsume products. As meal kits and foodservice-inspired beverages lead the way, there will also be more opportunities for brands to develop healthy, flavourful, customisable, and quick premium convenience products for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks and dessert occasions.”

2019 GLOBAL FOOD AND DRINK TRENDS AT A GLANCE: • Evergreen Consumption: A circular view of sustainability that spans the entire product lifecycle requires action from suppliers to consumers. • Through the Ages: Food and drink will build on today’s dialogue about wellness and transition into more solutions for healthy ageing. • Elevated Convenience: To match the premium expectations of consumers in the on-demand age, convenience food and drink will get an upgrade.


ooking ahead, Jenny Zegler, associate director, Mintel Food & Drink, discusses how issues of sustainability, health and wellness, and convenience will inspire formulation, packaging, marketing and more in the years to come: “In 2019, support of and demand for more corporate sustainability programmes will grow as consumers better understand what’s required to get closer to achieving a truly circular food 58

and drink economy,” she says. “These sustainability efforts will include not only improving access to recycling, but creating products with ingredients that are grown in accordance to regenerative agriculture practices. “Expect to also see food and drink manufacturers look to the beauty and personal care industry for inspiration for healthy ageing product development. More food and drink will address longevity-related health concerns, be marketed with positive language that rejects terms like ‘antiageing’ for its negative connotations, and appeal across ages. “Finally, we predict the rising segment of consumers who are often on-the-go, yet want to spend more time at home will increase demand for

MORE ABOUT THE FOOD AND DRINK TRENDS EVERGREEN CONSUMPTION The definition of sustainability is extending to encompass the entire product lifecycle. From farm to retailer to fork to bin and, ideally, to rebirth as a new plant, ingredient, product or package, this 360-degree approach will ensure resources are kept in use for as long as possible. The movement towards circularity as the new sustainability will require collaboration between suppliers, manufacturers, governments, non-profits, retailers and consumers. A seismic shift in how consumers think about plastic is underway, with bio-based packaging materials set to be a key component to the next generation of responsible packaging. In 2019 and beyond, sustainability efforts will include not only improving access to recycling, but


incentivising consumers to recycle packaging and offering upcycled goods. At the same time, efforts to improve air pollution, support plant welfare, restore soil health and embrace regenerative agriculture will emerge as crucial elements of holistic sustainability programmes that are important to companies and consumers alike. THROUGH THE AGES Preparing oneself

for a longer, healthier lifespan is particularly relevant as consumers prioritise health and wellness as a holistic, proactive, and ongoing pursuit. Longer lifespans present significant opportunities for food and drink manufacturers to take inspiration from the beauty industry, which has successfully established a model for healthy ageing by designing proactive products that are marketed with positive language to people of all ages.

Specific to the world’s diverse senior populations, their needs can be addressed through food and drink for medical purposes, as well as products designed for prevention, with formulations that are nutritious, flavourful, and easy to consume. Yet as humans are living longer, more food and drink can be formulated to address concerns from people of all ages about bone, joint, brain and eye health as well as other age-related health concerns. ELEVATED CONVENIENCE From breakfast to dinner, a new generation of modern convenience food and drink is emerging as manufacturers respond to rising healthy eating priorities, quests for foodie-inspired flavours, interests in personalisation and competition from speedy delivery services. Looking ahead, a new wave of shortcuts will be available, offering new conveniences such as the expansion of individual meal kits sold at retail, foodservice-inspired packaged beverages, and a new generation of prepared meals, sides, and sauces that emulate the flavours and formats of restaurant meals. Advancements in technology also will elevate the expectations of convenient food and drink options for consumers moving forward, from planning to shopping to preparation. Interest in premium convenience will not be limited to dinnertime, creating opportunities for every meal, snack, and beverage break. For more information on how Mintel can help your business, contact Ciara Rafferty, director Mintel Ireland on +44 (0)28 9024 1849 or 59

MY LIFE IN THE GROCERY TRADE ALICE MCILHAGGER, OWNER, BRAMBLEBERRY JAMS WHAT IS YOUR CURRENT ROLE? I am the founder and owner of the Northern Ireland artisan food brand Brambleberry Jams, making my own recipe sauces, jams and chutney. BRIEFLY OUTLINE YOUR EMPLOYMENT HISTORY TO DATE I was a geography teacher and then a DoE town planner before starting my own food business. My current work relates more to my student jobs where I waitressed in five-star hotels, (The Hotel Du Palais in Biarritz, France and the Old Course Hotel, St Andrews) than it does to my professional positions. Working in those incredible kitchens triggered an interest in cooking and the food industry that has been with me ever since. WHAT DOES YOUR ROLE INVOLVE? I do everything in my own business from developing the recipes, to designing the packaging, running the daily social media, sourcing all the ingredients as locally as possible, to the sales and distribution, and then of course all the cooking and cleaning in the kitchen. WHEN DID YOU TAKE UP THIS POST? I started selling my homemade jams and sauces in June 2013. It became a

business with a name in October 2013 with the help of Lisburn and Castlereagh Council business team’s Inspire Program and LEO Go For It putting me on the right track. WHAT ARE THE BEST/WORST PARTS OF YOUR JOB? The best part is getting to collaborate with other artisan food producers, independent retailers, café owners and ingredients suppliers. I also enjoy the creative process of building my brand by working with artists, graphic designers and photographers. The worst part has been having to learn how to prioritise my work as a sole trader and learning that working from home, it can be hard to strike the right balance between family and work time. BRIEFLY OUTLINE A TYPICAL DAY It always begins around 6.30am with my husband and children, then I set out my cooking plans for the day ahead when they will be away to school and work. During school term-time, I try and cook at least one flavour during the day and then the late afternoons and early evenings are family time. After 8pm, I get the kitchen back to myself, the radio goes on, and I work through until around midnight. WHAT HAS BEEN THE PROUDEST MOMENT OF YOUR CAREER? There have been many career highlights

already, such as my own recipes getting four Great Taste awards, winning gold at Blas Na hEireann 2017 but by far and away the proudest was when Brambleberry Jams Sea Salted Caramel Sauce was on Top of the Shop with Tom Kerridge on BBC2 in April 2018 and then reviewed on C4 Gogglebox that weekend. Seeing those famous families talking about my product and packaging that I have created was undoubtedly the weirdest, most unexpected and proudest moment of my working life. WHAT IS THE BEST THING ABOUT BEING INVOLVED WITH THE LOCAL RETAIL INDUSTRY? The best thing about being involved in the local retail industry over the last six years has been to be both witness to, and part of, the rise in artisan-produced food available in shops. Previously foods like mine were only available at craft fairs and markets. It has been a big change in attitude and confidence from retail owners to take on very small, not previously known brands like mine. WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO TO UNWIND AWAY FROM WORK? I try to take off one weekend a month, but this doesn’t always happen. I like to get away to Donegal with family and friends to an old cottage that’s off-line with no wifi and not do any cooking if I can get away with it. I love watching the sea and walking on the empty beaches.


UFU VIDEO CAMPAIGN HIGHLIGHTS ECONOMIC AND ENVIRONMENTAL BENEFITS OF FARMING U lster Farmers’ Union says farmers are crucial for Northern Ireland’s economy and the environment, and their contribution needs to be recognised. “Farmers see their main role as producing the high-quality food consumers expect,” said Ivor Ferguson, president of UFU. “They don’t tend to shout about what they do for the economy and the environment. But if we don’t make that point, then who will?” To highlight this, UFU has produced six short films running on its Facebook and Twitter pages, focusing on how a profitable and sustainable farming industry benefits everyone. “For every pound invested in farm support there is a £7 return to the local economy,” said Ferguson. “Farmers are big customers of rural and other businesses. When farm businesses suffer a downturn, other areas of our economy take a hit. Farmers are the cornerstone of

the agri-food industry, which is vital for the local economy as the biggest source of private sector jobs.” Farmers are recognised as custodians of the countryside and are responsible for over 90% of land in Northern Ireland. A minority face criticism for how they do this, but the UFU believes their actions

must not detract from what others do to care for and manage the countryside. “A lot of the work farmers do for the environment goes unnoticed,” he said. “Northern Ireland has more hedging than anywhere else in the UK. Many of our farms are considered ‘green’ by definition.”



lster Farmers’ Union (UFU) says it is disappointed that a rural family in Co Armagh are left dealing with the aftermath of a livestock worrying incident which has killed nine sheep and left three other sheep needing to be euthanized by a Veterinary Surgeon due to the severity of their injuries. “Despite the UFU and DAERA having embarked upon an increased awareness campaign to highlight the importance of responsible dog

ownership in the countryside, dogs have yet again made an attack and while this incident has seen a number of sheep killed, 10 in lamb ewes have also been left traumatised,” said Victor Chestnutt, deputy president of UFU. “Unfortunately the possibility that they may now abort their lambs is a very sad reality. It is a harrowing sight to see poor defenceless animals such as sheep fall victim to dog(s) and I again appeal to all dog owners to ensure that their

pet(s) are kept under control at all times when near livestock. This also includes taking the necessary steps to prevent a dog(s) escaping from their home.” UFU has identified the need to introduce specific legislation to Northern Ireland to address such incidents, which have increased in recent times. This includes the need to engage in DNA testing of those animals suspected to have been involved in such attacks.





FU says the discovery of Bluetongue in a heifer imported from France to Northern Ireland is a serious concern for farmers. “Fortunately, officials identified the animal early and this shows our post import testing protocols are robust and working well,” said David Brown, deputy president of UFU. “However, it also clearly shows the potential risk to the Northern Ireland livestock sector when importing animals from high-risk areas.” The imported animal has been culled and no compensation paid to the importer. The discovery of Bluetongue in this imported animal does not affect Northern Ireland’s official Bluetongue-free status and will not have an impact on domestic or international trade.

FU is encouraging farmers to make use of DAERA’s telephone system and register cattle purchased at a livestock market via phone. “The enhancement to the cattle registration telephone system has been created to allow herd keepers to register cattle purchased at a livestock market, without the need to send a MC2B paper document thus making the registration of cattle more efficient,” said Desmond Fulton, animal health and welfare chairman, UFU. “The telephone service is a good option and is quick and easy to use.” To register cattle using the telephone service, call 0300 200 7855. The service is open Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm. 61




he Dairy Council for Northern Ireland has published an EU Sustainable Dairy fact book, which provides details of the key research and knowledge transfer initiatives pioneered in the Northern Ireland dairy sector. The fact book is an EU-funded resource, developed in collaboration with the European Milk Forum. The first edition looks at how the sector is working to improve its emissions and mitigate against climate change, with specific reference to greenhouse gas emissions. At each stage in the dairy supply chain, the sector has been making, and continues to make, significant progress to reduce its environmental footprint. In a number of key areas - emission of greenhouse gases, waste, pollutants and energy efficiency-significant improvements have been made on our journey of continuing to improve our environmental sustainability. “The emissions most associated with agriculture (methane, nitrous oxide and ammonia, which causes nitrogen deposition) are the outputs of complex natural processes,” said Dr Mike Johnston MBE, CEO of the Dairy Council. “The agri-food sector is taking firm action to minimise emissions and the interaction between farmers, industry leads and applied researchers have resulted in wideranging step changes in productivity, efficiency and environmental outcomes. “The sector has sustained the livelihoods of thousands of farmers 62

who act as the custodians of the land and created large-scale employment in high performing dairy processing plants that produce award-winning food. The dairy sector recognises its responsibility to produce high quality milk and dairy products, from farm to fork, in ways that are efficient and safeguard our environment.” Northern Ireland has already made significant strides in dairy sustainability practices, improving its carbon footprint by 30.7% between 1990 and 2014. Electricity emissions have also been reduced by 68% between 1990 and 2017, whilst manure emissions have reduced by 27% over the same period. A recent study by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) reported that, between 2005-2015, global dairy Greenhouse Gas emission intensity dropped by almost 11%. During that time, milk production increased by 30% and absolute emissions from the dairy sector by 18%. According to FAO, had the dairy sector not made efficiency gains, the emissions would have increased by 38%. “This publication recognises many of the important achievements and positive progress made by the Northern Ireland dairy sector in meeting the evolving environmental challenges,” said Johnston. “These stand as a testament to the hard work and commitment across the entire supply chain, including government and other partners, in a collective pursuit of improved

environmental sustainability of the sector.” The most effective way for local agriculture to contribute to GHG reduction targets, without cutting or displacing production, is to continue reducing the quantity of carbon it takes to produce each unit of food. The fact book concludes with a chapter on human nutrition, which explores the latest research on assessing the sustainability of our diets. Climate change and emission of greenhouse gases cannot be the sole dimension on which we assess the sustainability of foods. There are four dimensions we must consider, the environmental footprint, nutritional value, economy, and food culture. To view the fact book and read more about the EU Sustainable Dairy Programme, visit the Dairy Council website consumers/sustainable-dairy/fact-book.



lster Farmers’ Union (UFU) has challenged the suggestion dairy markets could face a downturn in December. Its dairy policy chairman, William Irvine, said the UFU follows national and global market trends closely and so was confused by reports that prices are about to slip back. “While prices for butter have weakened in recent months, powder remains strong,” he said. “While perhaps not as high as earlier in the year, our view is that prices will remain stable.” UFU says that while views may differ over markets forecasts, it believes there is no case for suggesting a downturn. It also warns against any moves to talk down prices when farmers are going through a costly winter. “Local dairy farmers have increased overheads this winter,” he said. “They need stable and fair prices for the milk they produce, and the signals from key markets are positive. Speculation of a slump, not backed up by facts, could tempt processors into trying to drive down prices in the New Year.”




andina Fulton, senior administrator from Countryside Services, who is operating the scheme on behalf of the NI Rural Development Program and DAERA, explains: “The scheme recognises that small businesses in the agri food supply chain can often have difficulty finding time to identify the expertise and resources necessary to progress joint initiatives. The Agri-Food Co-operation Scheme will give like-minded businesses the opportunity to work together to explore ways of improving returns from the supply chain.” Examples of this type of co-operation which were funded under the Supply Chain Development Program – the forerunner of this new scheme, are groups of growers in the apple and pork industries. They recognised the growth in artisan food products but did not have the expertise within their group to avail of this market opportunity.

The apple growers availed of the expertise of specialist mentor support to create a brand for their products and to produce marketing tools. They recognised the tourism potential of the apple industry and created strategic linkages with the wider supply chain including cider producers, restaurants and hotels, to make the product the central focus of a tourism destination project, thus creating new markets and ultimately consumers of their products. Local outlets began to work with the growers as they had created a professional marketing campaign which they could all become part of. A small group of farmers rearing outdoor pigs faced the same dilemma. They were operating on a small scale and needed business advice on how to upscale their production capacity in order to provide a steady supply for customers and expand their customer base. They

realised that they would be targeting high-end restaurants and farm shops so their product required a premium price. They availed of expertise to carry out a financial appraisal and marketing strategy which was followed up with study tours for the group to meet other high-end food producers in order to gain invaluable information on this niche market. Mandina Fulton adds: “Through the Agri-Food Co-operation Scheme, expert help is available for business planning, specialist mentoring, market research, training, study tours and business tools such as information systems, market intelligence, promotional material etc.” Groups who wish to express interest or find further information should visit the Countryside Services website www. or agrifood@ or phone 028 8778 8207.


ENERGY DRINK GAVE NI’S UNSUNG HEROES A BOOST AT CHRISTMAS S taff operating ambulance services, homeless shelters, nursing homes, animal sanctuaries and support centres were among those receiving a visit from Boost last month. To recognise the huge role they play in Northern Ireland, the energy drinks company sent some jolly Christmas Elves to a selection of NI organisations who put their time, effort and heart into looking after the NI community throughout the year and in particular over the festive season. The busy Boost elves stopped by Air Ambulance NI, Simon Community, Rylands Nursing Home, The Welcome Organisation, Turning Point NI and Assisi Animal Sanctuary, delivering plenty of presents and lots of Boost energy drinks to keep them going over the Christmas fortnight. “Boost appreciates the hard work and dedication of these often-unsung heroes who work tirelessly to help people and animals throughout NI so we wanted to

Pictured with the Boost elves is the Simon Community’s Amanda Scott.

reward them for their efforts and wish them a peaceful Christmas by giving them a little festive Boost,” said Francine Matthews, consumer marketing manager at Boost Drinks. Amongst the worthy recipients were Air Ambulance NI, which provides lifesaving services throughout NI and has been tasked a massive 570 times from July 2017 to October 2018. Turning Point NI is a regional organisation based in Antrim and

FLAHAVAN’S PORRIDGE HOSTS WINTER WARMER EVENT – with recipe development, ingredients and cooking methods for its Oats of the Month shared online and on social media. “Those familiar with Tony and Jen’s delicious Oats of the Month recipes from last winter will know they are the perfect platform to show off the quality of our uniquely creamy oats,” said Aoife O’Shea, brand manager for Flahavan’s Porridge. “From a DIY Overnight Oats tutorial Tony and Jen are joined by NI media and social media influencers to a bowl of Brownie Pecan at an exclusive Winter Warmer event to announce their renewed partnership with Flahavan’s Porridge for 2018/19. Pie Oats, the launch event ollowing a successful partnership kickstarted this year’s offering last winter, Flahavan’s Porridge has – and I look forward to each month’s announced that its partnership with creation being revealed. Lisburn Road healthy eatery, Tony and “With a focus on developing healthy Jen’s, is set to kick off again for the and enjoyable food, Tony and Jen’s fits next six months. perfectly with Flahavan’s as our oats Aiming to showcase the versatility are a source of wholegrain goodness – of oats, the activity will see Tony and high in fibre, naturally low in sugar, salt Jen’s develop a new porridge-based and saturated fat, and a natural source recipe each month for its customers of protein and iron.”

Ballymena which offers support, intervention and preventative awareness programmes around the issues of suicide, self-harm, addiction and mental health. The Simon Community is Northern Ireland’s leading homeless charity, providing 369 warm beds each night across 22 accommodation projects, whilst Rylands Nursing Home is a purpose-built home with a dedicated staff committed to the provision of 24-hour nursing and residential care for the elderly. The Welcome Organisation helps around 1,400 people affected by homelessness across greater Belfast every year through a range of services including a Drop-in Centre, Street Outreach service, Crisis Accommodation for Women, Floating Support service and a Welcome Home project. Assisi Animal Sanctuary is Northern Ireland’s largest independent animal welfare charity providing shelter for up to 200 companion animals - cats, dogs and rabbits.



ussell’s Food & Drink, in partnership with Ginsters, has been offering shoppers the chance to win exclusive Irish FA experiences and prizes. Jordan Magowan from East Belfast was the lucky recipient of a signed football by the Northern Ireland senior squad. Magowan submitted his entry in the Russell’s Woodstock Road store and was presented with his prize by store manager, Richard Kennedy.



From left, Richard Kennedy, store manager, Russell’s Woodstock Road, and Jordan Magowan, competition winner from East Belfast.




Centra store on the Dublin Road in Enniskillen is the first convenience store in Northern Ireland to trial electronic shelf labels (ESL), according to owners of the Centra brand, Musgrave. The store is owned by local retailer, Una Lilley who has recently completed an extensive refurbishment showcasing a truly modern and innovative offer; making it the perfect store to launch this new technology. Electronic shelf labels will make a business more efficient by freeing up staff to do other things, whilst also cutting down on pricing errors and reducing paper usage which is good for the environment. But it is thought that the benefits to the consumer shopping experience is what really makes electronic shelf labels worth the investment, according to Nigel Maxwell, Centra sales director, Musgrave. “The ESL mean our retailers, and their shoppers, can rely on totally accurate onshelf pricing and the labels are very clear and easy to read,” he says. “Retailers

can create price promotions immediately and fix pricing errors fast, so they also promote customer confidence – the price on the label is the price at the checkout, which ultimately results in faster checkout times and fewer price queries. “ESL do require an initial investment, but the technology is making the shopping experience better, slicker and faster, so the real questions is, who can afford not to be part of the revolution as ESL will soon become the norm. “The process of installing and

RETAIL TECHNOLOGY FIRM ANNOUNCES PARTNERSHIP WITH QUEEN’S MANAGEMENT SCHOOL From left, Dr Barry Quinn, from Queen’s Management School; Peter McCaul, CEO of Pearlai; and Dr Byron Graham, from Queen’s Management School.


ewry-based technology firm Pearlai has announced a new partnership with Queen’s Management School at Queen’s University Belfast. The retail technology company has been developing VIP loyalty smart technology in conjunction with a number of shopping centres throughout the UK for the past two

years. Their smart technology is the first of its kind in the retail marketplace. By using the Pearlai platform, shopping centres now have the ability to turn anonymous shoppers into loyal customers. The shopping centre provides their best customers with a VIP keyring that enables the shopper to receive year-round exclusive offers and discounts

configuring the ESL isn’t difficult, and they are easy to operate once in place. After installation, store staff no longer need to monitor the price tags each day and one person can control all price changes on the shop floor. All-in, this innovation will benefit our retailers and their shoppers – a win-win outcome.” Una Lilley, owner of Centra Dublin Road, said: “The technology is already making our lives easier in the store. Not having to spend hours ripping up numerous sheets of labels means we can spend more time interacting with customers. We’re confident now that our pricing is always accurate, which is great for the people who shop with us. “The reaction from staff has been overwhelmingly positive; they think the ESL look neater, more streamlined and modern. I’ve travelled a lot through Europe and ESL are everywhere so, as a business, we are continuing to innovate and move with the times and I am already planning to install ESL in my other store in Fermanagh.”

via text message within the shopping centre. Dr Barry Quinn, lecturer in finance, and Dr Byron Graham, lecturer in business analytics from Queen’s Management School, have been working with Pearlai to better develop the existing data that the company collects through their platform. “Working closely with local experts like Dr Quinn and Dr Graham at Queen’s Management School has provided new opportunities for the commercialisation of the data we collect through our product offering,” said Peter McCaul, CEO of Pearlai. “It makes for exciting times in the retail technology space.” “Through the use of predictive modelling and analytics we have been able to help Pearlai better understand their data and have assisted in implementing processes to utilise the vast amount of retail data which their platform captures. This innovative technology will help draw customers back into the shops,” said Dr Quinn. Pearlai were recently shortlisted for the Best Shopping Centre Innovation at the International Retail Property Conference MAPIC awards in Cannes, France.





ey figures from the UK agri-food industry have become official ambassadors for the Institute of Global Food Security (IGFS) at Queen’s University Belfast. These experienced executives will facilitate engagement at national and international level, under the chairmanship of Tony O’Neill OBE. A former leader of agri-food giants Dunbia and Moy Park, O’Neill is a prominent figure in Northern Ireland, RoI and UK agri-food, having chaired the Agri-Food Strategy Board and the Board of the Northern Ireland Food and Drink Association. He is also a previous chair of the AgriFood Quest Competence Centre, which is headquartered at IGFS, and links over 30 leading agri-food businesses in NI with researchers from Queen’s, Ulster University and AFBI. Another of the ambassadors, Owen Brennan, executive chairman of Devenish Nutrition, has steered one of the most successful companies to come out of

Ireland. Based in Belfast, Devenish has nine manufacturing sites across NI, Britain, USA and Uganda, and exports to over 35 countries worldwide. Janet McCollum CBE was given an honorary doctorate from Queen’s in 2016, acknowledging her central role in local commerce. Formerly the CEO of Moy Park and a Board member of the NI Chamber of Commerce, she is now nonexecutive director at Glanbia. Also joining the ambassadors will be Dr David Dobbin CBE, who headed up Dale Farm for many years, growing it to become the UK’s biggest dairy co-op. Dobbin has held many public leadership positions including at Dairy UK, the NI Dairy Council, Ulster Rugby and Belfast Harbour. A first-class honours graduate from Queen’s, he also sat on Queen’s Senate, the university’s governing body. The other ambassadors are: Stuart Lendrum (formerly head of sustainability at Sainsbury’s), Heather Jenkins (previously director of buying at Waitrose

Front row from left, Professor Nigel Scollan, director of IGFS, and ambassador Janet McCollum; middle row, ambassadors Tony O’Neill, Heather Jenkins, and Stuart Lendrum; and back row, ambassadors Eric Reid, Owen Brennan and Stephane Durand, manager of Agri-Food Quest Competence Centre.

UK) and Eric Reid (formerly production director at Moy Park). Launching the Ambassador scheme, Professor Nigel Scollan, director of IGFS, said it would extend the reach of IGFS at a high level. “We realised there was an untapped opportunity, where individuals with access to key networks in UK, RoI, the US and beyond, could help us foster new relationships and build on existing ones,” he said. “The ambassadors we have selected have a high level of expertise and knowledge so this will be engagement on an ambitious scale, talking to influential people and decision-makers – across policy, business and academia.”



he UK government has confirmed that the implementation of Making Tax Digital (MTD) will commence on 1 April 2019. This will affect most VAT registered businesses with taxable turnover above the VAT registration threshold and will apply to their first


VAT period starting on or after this date. However, it was announced on 16 October 2018 that mandation of Making Tax Digital for VAT will be delayed by six months for a small number of businesses with more complex requirements. You can check if you fall into this category at If you do need to switch by 1st April, here is some advice on how to prepare: - The first step is to ensure that all your accounting records are digital. That means a move away from manual books and records and using new digital accounting records to help prepare and file quarterly personal tax and VAT information with HMRC. - Research available accounts packages or you can outsource this. Many accountancy firms will have relationships with local businesses and may be able to get you a better deal. Their insight and knowledge into these packages is invaluable and they’ll be able to recommend the best package for you. - Having a good accounts package in place will bring significant benefits

to your business as a whole. We recommend getting a software package which will have a whole host of benefits such as: • Accessibility – enable you to have a clear view of your finances any time any place; • Flexibility – Run your business from work, home or your smartphone; • Automation – It will automatically capture bank receipts and payments in real time; • Efficient – Use your smartphone camera to capture purchase invoices and expenses ‘on the go’ and upload these to the software; • Instant – Create quotes and sales invoices easily online and instantly forward electronically to clients; and • Environmental – Reduce the amount of paper you need to keep on file. For more information on Making Tax Digital or if you would like advice on how to ensure a smooth switchover, contact Stephen McConnell, business services partner at Baker Tilly Mooney Moore 028 9032 3466 or email



leading figure in the agriculture and food sector, Owen Brennan, received an honorary doctorate from Queen’s University Belfast last month. Brennan is executive chairman of the Devenish Group, an agri-technology company supplying the farming, animal feed and food industry globally. Headquartered in Belfast, Devenish continues to grow, with 10 manufacturing locations across the UK, USA, Turkey and Africa, as well as offices in Mexico, the UAE, the Philippines and the Dominican Republic. The company currently exports to over 35 countries across four continents. “I am very pleased to receive this honour from Queen’s University Belfast,” said Brennan. “I have worked closely with the University for over a decade. It has, and continues to be, an important collaboration which has achieved much in terms of both research and results.

“In particular, the Institute of Global Food Security (IGFS) has made a significant and positive impact to the agri-food sector. From a farming background, he led the team which acquired Devenish Feeds, now Devenish Nutrition and has significantly grown its global presence. Brennan served as president of the Northern Ireland Grain Trade Association, was previously chairman of the Livestock and Meat Commission, served on the Agri-Food Strategy Board in Northern Ireland, and has also worked closely with IGFS. He has also recently become an ambassador for IGFS at Queen’s, facilitating engagement at a national and international level. One of Devenish’s biggest innovation successes has been the development of Omega 3-enriched chicken, which is now being sold in Waitrose supermarkets.

PURE FITOUT APPOINTS UK HEAD OF BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT F ollowing rapid growth and success across Ireland, independent fit out specialist, Pure Fitout, has appointed Amanda Allen as UK head of business development to lead its expansion into the British market. Founded in 2015, Pure Fitout has become a dominant force in the Irish fit out industry achieving £6.5m turnover in year one, £9.7m in year two, and at well over double-figures in the middle of its third year. Bringing with her nearly two decades of experience establishing and growing companies across the fit-out industry, Amanda’s appointment marks a significant point in Pure Fitout’s international growth. “Pure Fitout has an edge that I’ve not seen before which stems from their innovative spirit and inspired founder,” said Allen. “My

main objective when introducing Pure Fitout to the British market will be to emphasise the company’s collaborative approach to projects. “They continuously seek ways in which they can improve what they do and how they do it, including investing in an exceptional in-house joinery and metal craftsmanship. I’m excited to have joined the team and look forward to injecting my entrepreneurial passion into the company’s ambitious growth plans.” Pure Fitout has seen phenomenal growth over the last three years, now occupying more than 30,000 square feet of workshop space, a fleet of 15 vehicles, and 48 staff. It was founded in 2015 by Ronan Higham with 25 years’ experience in the construction industry and is headquartered in Belfast.

Amanda Allen


To see your product featured in Shelf Life, contact Chris Keenan at or Tel: 028 9026 4267



ladis is expanding its £54m household brand Jaffa Cakes into new territory with the launch of Jaffa Cakes Nibbles. Launching this month, the newcomer will offer consumers the familiar zesty orange centre and light sponge, coated in delicious milk and dark chocolate in a moreish, bite-sized format. Perfect for sharing or

on the go, Jaffa Cakes Nibbles will look to capture shoppers seeking a sweet treat at any time of the day. “Jaffa Cakes Nibbles will enable consumers to enjoy the much-loved snack like never before,” said Emma Stowers, brand director for McVitie’s at pladis UK&I. “This new and exciting concept is a total game-changer for the brand and Jaffa Cakes fans alike.” The launch comes as pladis UK&I introduces an eye-catching new look for the Jaffa Cakes brand. The updated pack design aims to refresh and modernise the brand by emphasising its distinctive and playful cues, such as the zesty orange.


P Snacks has launched larger cases across its £1 Price Mark Pack (PMP) range to help retailers better manage demand for the bestselling format. Offering value to both retailers and customers alike, PMPs continue to be a popular snacking format with 82% of retailers believing it’s important to stock PMP to stay competitive (HIM 2018). PMP continues to outperform other pack formats, with KP Snacks’ range growing +31% ahead of the market (+24%). Rising from 12 to 16 packs, the larger new cases will not only make stock last longer but have been redesigned to be stackable and also include a punch hole for easy set-up and maintenance of secondary displays. Available across Skips, NikNaks, Space Raiders, Big Hoops, McCoy’s, McCoy’s Chips and the new Roysters, the case changes are another example of KP Snacks implementing SnacKPartner feedback. Further capitalising on the success of the PMP format, KP Snacks also launched a Roysters T Bone Steak £1 PMP.

McVitie’s Jaffa Cakes Nibbles will be available in a 100g sharing pouch, as well as a 39g on-the-go handy pack.


ith over half a million people in the UK following a vegan diet, and flexitarian and vegan dishes growing in popularity on menus, Rich Sauces has created a new Vegan Mayonnaise. What was once a fringe movement has now become part of the mainstream food scene. “We have reacted to the growing demand by launching a Vegan Mayonnaise which stands out from the competition in flavour, versatility and performance; it truly is an exceptional product,” said John Glover, MD of Rich Sauces. An award-winning company, Rich Sauces is family run and has over 30 years of experience in UK, Irish, USA and European markets, developing products and concepts to meet customer needs. “We take food allergies and intolerances very seriously and have many sauces, dressings, bouillons and powders which are allergen-free,” said Glover. “With all the notes of mayo you would expect, rich and creamy mouth feel with a gentle tartness and mustard finish, this vegan mayo gives you the quality of a luxurious mayonnaise.” 69





ALLEGRO SALES & MARKETING Unit 3 Balmoral Business Park Boucher Crescent Belfast BT12 6HU T: 028 9068 3040 F: 028 9068 2644 W: PERSONNEL: Market Manager: David McCullough Purchasing/Logistics: Andrew Duff Commercial Assistant: Robyn Beattie Territory Manager: Padraig Martin (NI) Mob: 07736 213066 Account Manager Nivea: Anne Marie Huston Mob: 07834 727655 TYPE OF BUSINESS: Sales, Marketing and Distribution MAIN BRANDS: Nivea Nivea Men Elastoplast Atrixo Superglo Firelighters 4head Astral Blistex Bassetts Vitamins Bazuka Treatment Gel Dentinox Ibuleve Speed Relief Otex Express Fenjal Mac Potters Throaties Victory V Seaband Nausea Relief Del Monte Kiwi Glade Mr Muscle Oust Pledge Toilet Duck Brillo Goddards Shout Raid Valley Gold Diabetic Marmalade Rescue Remedy Spatone Arnicare Teetha Lil Lets


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

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


BOOST DRINKS LTD 1270 Century Way, Thorpe Park, Leeds, LS15 8ZB T: 0113 240 3666 F: 0113 264 6585 E: W: PERSONNEL: Founder and Managing Director: Simon Gray Sales Director: Al Gunn Wholesale Controller: Simon Whittaker Cash and Carry Controller: Ian Smith Consumer Marketing Manager: Francesca Matthews Trade Marketing Manager: Amy Ankrah Trade Marketing Assistant: Jack Taylor

TYPE OF BUSINESS: Established in 2001, Boost is one of the most exciting businesses in the energy drinks market. Boost focuses on providing great tasting and great value energy, protein and sports drinks. Boost is committed to helping local businesses thrive which is why its products are sold exclusively through independent retailers. MAIN PRODUCTS: Boost Energy Original, Original Sugar-Free, Citrus Zing, Red Berry, Cherry Burst, Exotic Fruits and Punch Power. Boost Sport Orange, Tropical, Mixed Berry and Citrus. Protein Boost Chocolate and Strawberry.

BRADY FAMILY HAM O’BRIEN FINE FOODS Timahoe, Donadea Naas, Co.Kildare E: W: T: +353 (0)45 – 863650 PERSONNEL: Managing Director: John O’Brien Head of Sales: Adrian Whyte E: T: 045 847025 Ext: 235 M: 087 8136022

CAVANAGH FREE RANGE EGGS LTD 58 Clonkee Road Cavanagh Newtownbutler Co. Fermanagh BT92 8FH Tel: 02867737889 Email: Website: PERSONNEL: Joint Managing Directors: John & Eileen Hall TYPE OF BUSINESS: Produce, grade, pack and deliver multi-awardwinning British Lion free range eggs to the Retail and Foodservice sectors

Business Development Representative (Northern Ireland): Paul McFadden E: T: +44 (0)7468607011 Business Development Representative (Northern Ireland): Chris Culton E: T: +44(0)7584088208 TYPE OF BUSINESS: O’Brien Fine Foods, owners of the Brady Family brand, specialise in the production of both deli and pre-pack sliced cooked meats. The family owned company produces award winning own label and branded ranges. Brady Family continues to prosper within the cooked meats category and is currently the number 1 brand in the premium segment in ROI. Brady Family has consistently improved its ranking in the Top 100 Grocery Brands in Ireland and is now in the Top 40 Grocery brands in the country. Brandy Family also became the leader in the pre-packed sliced meats category when it was ranked No 1 in 2018, based on Kantar Data. Brady Family is made from 100% Irish pork, using only one single pork joint, with no added water.



CPM IRELAND Head Office COOKSTOWN KARRO FOOD GROUP 70 Molesworth Road Cookstown Co. Tyrone BT80 8PJ T: 028 8676 3321 F: 028 8676 8524 W: W: PERSONNEL: Sales and Marketing: Kingsley Burrows TYPE OF BUSINESS: Pork manufacturer of Cookstown branded products, Private Own Label, Food service & Commodity products. DISTRIBUTOR/AGENT: O’Kane Foodservice MAIN BRANDS: Cookstown McGee’s Butcher

41A Blackberry Lane, Rathmines, Dublin 6 Belfast The Mount, 2 Woodstock Link, Belfast, BT6 8DD Head Office Tel: +353 (1) 7080300 Belfast +44 (2) 890735872 Email: Website: Social Media Facebook – Twitter – LinkedIn – cpm-ireland Instagram – TYPE OF BUSINESS: CPM is an award winning, Omni channel, outsourced Field Sales agency, with a proven track record for increasing sales for our clients. We use insight to influence and drive sales through our field sales and merchandising teams (Contract and Tactical Activations), contact centres, digital marketing solutions and advance data capture, analysis and real time reporting. NAMES AND POSITIONS OF PERSONNEL: Managing Director: Lorraine Butler Retail Client Service Director: Louise Mockler Direct Sales Client Service Director: Mel Carson NI Market Manager: Colin Hennessy


COMPANY INFORMATION: CPM Group was established in 1936 & is the world’s leading Sales Outsourcer. We operate across 35 countries globally and have been driving sales growth for clients in Ireland since 1986. We are part of the Omnicom Group, the world’s largest media and marketing group. CPM is in the business of People. Our ethos is ‘CPM is Famous for Sales, Powered by Our People’. We work tirelessly to attract, develop and retain the best talent to represent our client’s brands. PRODUCT/SERVICES: • B2B & B2C Sales • Retail Sales • Merchandising • Digital Sales • Contact Centre • Recruitment Services • Auditing • Market Research • Technical Services • Sampling • Demonstrations • Mystery Shopping • Hosting • Promotions



DALE FARM LTD 15 Dargan Road Belfast BT3 9LS T: 028 9037 2200 F: 028 9037 2211 E: W: Personnel: Group Commercial Director: Stephen Cameron Type of Business: Dairy manufacturer Main brands: Dale Farm Dromona Spelga Rowan Glen Fivemiletown Mullins Ice Cream

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


Machinery House Madines Site 79 Downpatrick Road Crossgar Co. Down BT30 9EH T: 028 9099 4202 E: W: TYPE OF BUSINESS: We work closely with quality suppliers of new and used machinery, when sourcing equipment on behalf of customers, we make sure a complete assessment is performed on all machines before dispatch. You will have peace of mind that when making your purchase from Henderson Food Machinery you will receive quality equipment with the highest level of service. We are here to help, do not hesitate to get in touch, if you have any questions on any of the machines we have on our website email or call us now on 02890 994 202 Global supplier of New and Used Food Processing and Packaging equipment Catering for all sectors including: • Contract Packers • Bakeries • Ready Meals • Seafood • Desserts • Meat Cutting Plants • Vegetables • Fruit and many more... MAIN BRANDS: Apple Depositors Jaycraft Vegetable Machinery Henkelman Vacuum Packers Treif Dicers and Slicers Deighton Formers, Battering, Breading & Frying Equipment Porlanmaz Bakery Machinery N&N Mixers, Flakers, Mixer Grinders, Vacuum Tumblers Metalbud Nowicki Bowlcutters, Injectors, Ice Machines, Vacuum Tumblers Line Equipment VFFS Machines and Multihead Weighers Thompson Mincers and Mixer Grinders Robot Coupe Catering Equipment Rotech Sleevers Thissen & Stetcher Cooking Vessels Pebock Industrial Washing Machines Keymac Packaging Systems CRM Inline Slicers Siat Box Tapers HFM Quality Used Equipment 75


HENDERSON GROUP Hightown Avenue Mallusk Newtownabbey Co. Antrim BT36 4RT T: 028 9034 2733 F: 028 9034 2484 E: W:

HOVIS BAKERIES IRELAND Apollo Road Belfast BT12 6LP T: 08707 288 888 (office hours) F: 028 9038 8558 W: W:

PERSONNEL: Chairman and Joint Managing Directors: Martin Agnew & Geoffrey Agnew Chief Financial Officer: Ron Whitten Group Finance Director: Darren Stewart Retail Director (Henderson Retail): Mark McCammond Group Logistics Director: Pat McGarry Trading Director: Alan Fitzsimmins Fresh Foods Director: Neal Kelly Group Property Director: Mark Adrain Human Resources Director: Sam Davidson Sales & Marketing Director: Paddy Doody Managing Director Henderson Foodservice Ltd: Cathal Geoghegan Head of Corporate Marketing: Bronagh Luke Head of Brand Marketing: Brenda Mulligan Channel Sales Managers: Stephen Gibson, Sarah Halliday Regional Sales Manager (Supermarkets): Paul Deans Regional Sales Managers: David Bennett, Jonathan Finlay, Donal Bryce, Justin Hayes, Robert Caughey, Connor McCann & Laura Johnston Trading Controller: Glen Howe Fresh Foods Trading Controller: Nigel Dugan Henderson Print Manager: Alan Ritchie

PERSONNEL: Commercial Director (Ireland): Trevor McCrum

TYPE OF BUSINESS: Symbol Group Wholesaler for SPAR, EUROSPAR, ViVO, ViVOXtra and ViVO Essentials in NI.

DISTRIBUTOR: New York Bakery Co.Bagels, Mr Kipling and Cadbury Cakes



Business Unit Controller: Ben Daggett Business Unit Manager: Billy Thompson Key Account Manager: Kerry Maxwell Brand Manager: Candida Corscadden Category Insights Manager: Barry Spence NPD Manager: Keith Fulton TYPE OF BUSINESS: Based at Apollo Road, Belfast, Hovis Bakeries Ireland bakes and distributes quality, bakery brands including Hovis, Nimble, Ormo and Mothers Pride. The company also bakes retailer branded and Foodservice breads and Morning Goods for customers in Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland. MAIN BRANDS: Hovis Ormo Mothers Pride Nimble

IMPERIAL TOBACCO UK&I 123, Winterstoke Road, Bristol BS3 2NS Telephone: 0117 963 6636 Website: Twitter: PERSONNEL: General Manager UK & Ireland: Melvin Ruigrok Market Manager UK: Cameron Miles Retail Development Coach:Northern Ireland: David Atkinson Head of UK Corporate & Legal Affairs: Duncan Cunningham UK Communications Executive: Rob Taylor TYPE OF BUSINESS: Imperial Tobacco Limited is the largest tobacco manufacturer in the United Kingdom, headquartered in Bristol, England. Our core business is built around a tobacco portfolio that offers consumers comprehensive brand choice, while we also create new experiences including the e-vapour product blu - through our non-tobacco subsidiary Fontem Ventures. Imperial Tobacco Limited is part of Imperial Brands PLC, a multinational tobacco company with international strength in cigarettes and world leadership in fine cut tobacco, premium cigars, rolling papers and tubes. The Group currently has 44 manufacturing sites, around 33,000 employees and our products are available in over 160 markets. For more information, visit MAIN BRANDS: Our product portfolio includes leading tobacco brands Lambert & Butler, JPS, Player’s, and Golden Virginia as well as the best-selling e-vapour brand, blu.


LYNAS FOODSERVICE LIMITED INTERACTIVE (IRLAND) LTD Units 6/7 Grange Park Trench Road Mallusk Newtownabbey BT36 4LA T: 028 9083 1730 F: 028 9083 1731 E:

JOHNSON BROTHERS (BELFAST) LIMITED incorporating Johnson Brothers (Distributing) Limited 137 Hillsborough Old Road Lisburn BT27 5QR T: 028 9267 9121 F: 028 9266 8800

PERSONNEL: General Manager: John Flanagan M: 07919 122947 Senior Commercial Manager: Mark Stuart M: 07919 122946 Commercial Manager: Sinead O`Kane M: 07785 695903 Sales Manager: Ian Cochrane M: 07867 306343 Business Development Executive: Enda McDaid M: 07920 148780 Business Development Executive: Colin Espie M: 07900 584163 Business Development Executive: Paul Ritchie M: 07920 148580 Business Development Executive: Jillian Savage M: 07920 148680

PERSONNEL AND POSITIONS: Chairman: Michael Y Johnson

TYPE OF BUSINESS: Sales, Marketing and Distribution to the Grocery trade.

Johnson Brothers (Distributing) Limited: General Manager: Ivan Thompson

MAIN BRANDS: House & Home: Duracell; Fairy; Febreze; Ambi Pur; Flash; Viakal; Ace; Ariel; Bold; Daz; Fairy Non Bio; Lenor. Personal Care & Beauty: Tampax; Always; Always Discreet; Aussie; Head & Shoulders; Herbal Essence; Pantene; Shockwaves; Silvikrin; Wash & Go; Wella; Max Factor; Clairol Nice N Easy; Olay; Old Spice; Braun; Gillette. Health & Wellbeing: Vicks; Crest; Fixodent; Clear Blue; Oral-B; Lypsyl; Dentek; Anthisan; Antistax; Maalox; Pharmaton Baby & Family: Pampers; Infacare; Ashton & Parsons Electrical Personal Appliances: Braun; Breville; George Foreman; Russell Hobbs; Trevor Sorbie; Remington; Nicky Clarke Electrical; Carmen; Glamouriser; Dreamland Electric Blankets; Warmnite Electric Blankets MISSION STATEMENT: Our mission is to fulfil customer satisfaction within our distribution channels and to represent our principals according to their world leading standards of innovation, service and quality.

Joint Managing Directors: Dermot W.M. Johnson M Andrew Johnson Financial Director: Richard J Johnson Group Sales Director: Philip Mills Johnson Brothers (Belfast) Limited: Sales Director: Neil Patton

Sales Manager: David Lewis

Louganhill Industrial Estate Coleraine Co. Londonderry BT52 2NR T: 028 7035 0600 F: 028 7035 7340 E: W:

PERSONNEL: Managing Director: Andrew Lynas Deputy Managing Director: Ian Crowe Finance Director: Alistair Magee Sales Director: Mel Bacon Food Outlet Trade Manager: Nigel McCullough Food Outlet Ballymena 1 Wakehurst Rd BT42 3AZ T: 028 2565 6451 Food Outlet Bangor 167 Clandeboye Rd, BT20 3JP T: 028 9147 8750 Food Outlet Belfast 46 Montgomery Road BT6 9HQ T: 028 9070 4795 Food Outlet Belfast 55 Boucher Road BT12 6HR Food Outlet Coleraine Louganhill Industrial Estate Gateshead Road BT52 2NR T: 028 7035 3765

TYPE OF BUSINESS: Selling & Distributing Agents Pure Coffee Manufacturer

Food Outlet Derry/Londonderry Buncrana Road BT48 OLY T: 028 7126 1080

DISTRIBUTOR/AGENT: Selling & Distributing Agents

Food Outlet Newry Unit 5 Plaza Retail Park 50 Belfast Road BT34 1QA T: 02830 833094 TYPE OF BUSINESS - FOOD SERVICE “Wholesaler Suppling over 6000 Fresh, Frozen and Ambient products to the foodservice industry.” Number Of Stores 4 Regional Depots Coleraine, Dublin, Galway and Bellshill Scotland 1 Craft Butchery “Causeway Prime” Coleraine. 7 Food Outlets – Belfast (x2), Coleraine, Derry, Ballymena, Bangor, Newry Causeway Prime Manager: John Neely Type of Business: Craft Butchery 77



ARTHUR MALLON FOODS Hilden Monaghan W: T: 353 47 82766 PERSONNEL: Managing Director: Paddy Mallon Sales & Marketing Manager: Kathy Boles M: 00353 872324647 N.I Distributor Fresh 2 U E: T: 28 30825927 TYPE OF BUSINESS: The Mallon’s family have been craft butchers for over three generations and still these days the business remains both family owned and managed.Our speciality is sausages and other premium pork products. Mallon’s are proud to be Ireland’s most awarded sausage maker with over 160 national and international awards. We achieved BRC ‘AA’ Grade in Sausage Manufacturing in 2018 and are Bord Bia approved. Highest quality and taste are at the heart of everything we do. Our brands in NI are Mallon’s,Mallon’s Low Fat Gluten Free Range and Hafner’s.


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

Dublin Road Industrial Estate Strabane BT82 9EA T: 028 7138 2797 E: W: PERSONNEL: Managing Director: Grainne Hampton Commercial Director: Roy Wilkinson TYPE OF BUSINESS: Manufacturer of convenience food including pies, slices, pasties, sausage rolls, jambons, quiche. Foodservice and retail, chilled and frozen. Own label specialists. Brands include McColgans, Bakers Best, Strathmourne Foods, McColgans Choice Cuisine. DISTRIBUTION: Multi temperature deliveries across NI, ROI and GB daily.


MUSGRAVE NI MOY PARK LTD The Food Park 39 Seagoe Ind. Estate Portadown Craigavon Co. Armagh BT63 5QE T: 028 3835 2233 W: PERSONNEL: Brand Marketing Manager: Aisling Graham TYPE OF BUSINESS: Moy Park is one of the Uk’s top 15 food companies, Northern Ireland’s largest private sector business and one of Europe’s leading poultry producers. Moy Park supplies branded and own label chicken products to leading retailers and foodservice providers throughout the UK, Ireland and Europe. DISTRIBUTOR/AGENT: Neil McMullan Ltd 28 Halfpenny Gate Road Moira Craigavon Co.Armagh Northern Ireland BT67 OHW MAIN BRANDS: Moy Park O’Kane

1 – 19 Dargan Drive, Belfast, BT3 9JG T: 028 9078 7100 F: 028 9078 7101 E: W: PERSONNEL: Managing Director: Michael McCormack Trading Director: Ciara McClafferty SuperValu Centra Sales Director: Nigel Maxwell Wholesale Director: Trevor Magill Marketing Director: Desi Derby Finance Director: Alan Cunningham

NISA RETAIL LIMITED Nisa Retail Limited Member Support Centre Waldo Way Normanby Enterprise Park Scunthorpe DN15 9GE T: 017 2428 2028 E: W: FASCIAS: Nisa Extra, Nisa Local, dual branded, independent fascia Chief Executive Officer: Ken Towle Chief Operating Officer: John McNeill Finance Director: James Clark

HR Director: Catherine Lambe SuperValu Centra Senior Business Development Manager: Barry Holland Mace Lead Business Development Manager: Caroline Rowan

Operations Director: Jonathan Stowe Retail Director: Nigel Gray

Wholesale Sales Manager: Tom Kinnier

Sales Director: Steve Leach

SuperValu Customer Manager: Geoff Johnston

Trading and Marketing Director: Ayaz Alam

Centra Customer Manager: Norman Bennett

Trading Manager Ireland: Jonathan Verner

Head of Marketing: Brendan Gallen

Head of Retail Ireland: Pat Leneghan T: 079 5035 5991

MarketPlace Belfast Manager: Garry Williams MarketPlace Derry Manager: Emir Sheppard MarketPlace Lurgan Manager: Colin O’Hare TYPE OF BUSINESS: Musgrave (NI) comprises the retail and wholesale segments of Musgrave Group in Northern Ireland and supports 360 independent retailers through the SuperValu, Centra, Mace and DayToday brands and over 2,800 wholesale customers through the Musgrave MarketPlace brand across the province.

Retail Development Manager NI: Darrel Steele T: 07719319337 Sales Manager ROI: Steven O’Doherty T: 00 353 87 291 3016 Store Development Manager: Cormac Rice T: 07766597675 IT Engineer: Bryan Lurring

MAIN BRANDS: SuperValu, Centra , Mace, Musgrave MarketPlace, DayToday, Chipmongers and Frank and Honest 79


NORTHERN SNACK FOODS LTD Lissue Industrial Estate East Lisburn BT 28 2RB T: 028 9262 2820 W:


PERSONNEL: Martin McClinton M: 07850 410917

1 The Boulevard Shire Park Welwyn Garden City Hertfordshire AL7 1EL T: 0800 310 0000 E: W:

Contact Belfast and Co. Down: Nigel Morton M: 07720 967492

PERSONNEL: Chief Executive: Dominic Taylor Commercial Director: Lewis Alcraft

Contact North West and North Antrim: Des Jackson M: 07545 927064

At PayPoint, we’re all about convenience. Through our network of over 28,000 stores, bigger than all banks, supermarkets and Post Offices together, we are at the heart of communities nationwide. We offer innovative and time-saving technology that empowers convenience retailers to achieve higher footfall and increased spend so they can grow their businesses profitably. Our innovative retail services platform, PayPoint One, is now live in over 11,200 stores in the UK and offers everything a modern convenience store needs, from parcels and contactless card payments to EPoS and bill payment services. Our technology helps retailers to serve customers quickly, improve business efficiency and stay connected to their stores from anywhere. Unlike other alternatives on the market, PayPoint One is available with no upfront cost and a small weekly service fee tailored to the level of EPoS sophistication that their business needs. It its future-proof technology is constantly evolving as retailer and industry needs change with automatic software updates and service integrations, such as news management and symbol supplier links. To arrange a demo, call our friendly team on 01707 537 014 or visit

TYPE OF BUSINESS: Distributor of Snack foods MAIN BRANDS: Hunky Dorys Crisps O’Donnells Velvet Crunch King KP Meanies Rancheros

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


PRM GROUP 16 Rathdown Road, Lissue Industrial Estate, Moira Road, Lisburn BT28 2RE T: 028 92 620200 E: W:

PERSONNEL: Managing Director: Philip Morrow Director: Lynne Morrow Sales Director: Aidan Fisher Operations Manager: Colin Davis Transport Manager: Michael Tohill Business Support and Marketing Manager: Patrick Black TYPE OF BUSINESS: Chilled and Frozen Food Sales and Distribution KEY BRANDS: Müller, Alpro, Clandeboye Estate, Fage, Onken, Nomadic Dairy, Bernard Matthews, Cully & Sully, Fresh Food Kitchen, Spring Fresh, Galberts, Cottage Desserts, Kinder Chilled, Unilever Ice Cream, Innocent Drinks, Savse, Sunny D


SHS SALES & MARKETING 199 Airport Road West Belfast, BT3 9ED T: 028 9045 4647 E: W: PERSONNEL: Sales Director: Des McCullough General Sales Manager for Northern Ireland: Michael Whitely

STEPHENS CATERING EQUIPMENT COMPANY LTD 205 Carnalbanagh Road Broughshane, Ballymena Co. Antrim, BT42 4NY Telephone: 028 2586 1711 Fax: 028 2586 2006 Email: Website: Facebook: StephensCateringEquipmentCo PERSONNEL: DIRECTORS: Paul Caves, Julie Morrissey, Ian Manson, Eamon Hart, Colm O’Neill, Conrad Greene SALES DIRECTOR: Ian Manson



MAIN BRANDS: Airwick Askeys Batchelors Soups Batchelors Canned Vegetables Biobag Bloo Bonjela Bottlegreen Branston Beans Brasso Cillit Bang Colgate Cookeen Crisp & Dry oils Crosse & Blackwell Canned Vegetables Crucials Sauces Dettol Durex E45 Farmlea Finish Flora Oils Galaxy Rounds Gaviscon Harpic Jammie Dodgers Jeyes Jordans Jucee Lemsip Lyons Maguire & Paterson Matches Marigold Mars Cookies

AREA SALES MANAGERS: Patrick Graham (Retail) Gerard Murphy (South Down, Armagh, Louth) Peter Smith – Regional Manager (Tyrone, Londonderry & Mid Ulster) Mark Fry – Regional Manager (North/South/ West Belfast, Lisburn) Mark Green (Donegal) Eoin O’Hare – Regional Manager (Cavan, Monaghan, Fermanagh & Leitrim) Wilnor O’Neill (Showroom Sales Manager & North Antrim) Andrew Bonnar (Education Authority NI & UK Mainland) David Graham – Regional Manager (Scotland) Live demo & test kitchen for training and demonstrating new technologies in energy & labour savings.

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

SOLE DISTRIBUTORS FOR: Manitowoc, Merrychef, Frima, Vario Cooking Centre, Hobart dishwashing, mixing and cooking equipment, Garland Catering Equipment, Foster Refrigeration, Frymaster fryers, Moffat Catering Equipment, Rational combi ovens, Ice-o-matic ice machines, Ubert hot and cold deli, Vizu SFC equipment, Florigo fish frying ranges, Bertos modular catering

equipment, Carimali coffee machines, Salva bakery ovens, Panasonic microwaves, SCE inhouse stainless steel fabrication. AGENTS FOR: Burshaw boilers, Mechline, Dualit toasters, Mermaid containers, Nuttall, Pestakill flykillers, Robot Coupe veg prep equipment, Seal glass cabinets, Frank Ford fish frying ranges, Lincat, Marco boilers, Williams Refrigeration, Winterhalter, IMC bar equipment, waste disposal and food prep, Falcon, Woodstone, Nuttall WHOLESALERS FOR: Garland ranges and Cooking Equipment, Frymaster fryers, Hobart warewashing and food prep, Rational Combi Ovens, Foster Refrigeration, Ice-o-matic ice makers, Bertos cooking equipment, Panasonic microwaves, Ubert deli counters and rotisseries SERVICE: All equipment supplied is guaranteed for parts and labour covered by manufacturer trained engineers directly employed by Stephens for fast efficient service. NORTHERN IRELAND: Test demonstration kitchen, full range of light equipment and contract furniture at: Stephens Catering Equipment Belfast Site 2 81 Dargan Road Belfast BT3 9JU Telephone: 028 9077 0195 Fax: 028 9037 0238 SALES PERSONNEL FOR: Stephens Belfast: Mark Fry – Regional Manager (North/South/ West Belfast, Lisburn) Judith Doak - Light Equipment, Furniture & Consumables (South NI, West Belfast & South Down) Ashleigh McCrellis - Light Equipment, Furniture & Consumables (North, North East NI, East Belfast & North Down) David Trainor - Light Equipment, Furniture & Consumables (West NI) Alison Braithwaite (Showroom Sales)



STRATHROY DAIRY LTD SOLV-X PRODUCTS LTD 112 Camlough Rd Newry & 20 Park Street Dundalk, Co.Louth T: 028 308686486 E: W:

Shergrim Omagh Co.Tyrone BT79 7JD T: 028 8224 0948 F: 028 8224 6280 E: W:

PERSONNEL: Managing Director: Colm O’Neill Financial Controller: Barry Duffy Purchasing Manager: Andrew O’Neill Operations Manager: Doreen O’Neill

PERSONNEL: Managing Director: Patrick Cunningham

TYPE OF BUSINESS: Solv-X supply 15 non-food product categories including Audio & Mobile,Personal, Baby, Stationery, Party, Hardware, Kitchen, Home, Candles, Car, Pet, Seasonal, and Vaping products. We supply a combination of quality own brand Solv-X lines sourced direct from factory as well brand leaders such as FIFO, Bic, Murphy& Barrett Candles, Bob Martin, Favour, Little tree, Holts, Pretty Legs, Eirvape, Nicocigs and Vivid. We offer a full merchandising service with a range of display options.

Commercial Director NI: Eamon Lynch E:

MAIN BRANDS: Solv-X, Bob Martin, Favour, Little Tree, Murphy & Barrett Candles, Nicolites, Pretty Legs, Vivid Vapours, FIFO

Operations Director: Aidan McCarron Director ROI: Ruairi Cunningham

Commercial Director ROI: Phelim McCarron E: Financial Controller: Jim McCann IT Manager: Damien Harkin Quality Control Manager: Tracy Doyle TYPE OF BUSINESS: Dairy Processing: Milk & Cream MAIN BRANDS: Strathroy Bainne Ur Erganagh Various Private Label Brands


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




VALEO FOODS 10 Flush Park Lisburn Co. Antrim BT28 2DX T: 028 9267 3316 F: 028 9263 1131 PERSONNEL: Commercial Manager: Maria Losty Marketing Manager: Joanne Beattie TYPE OF BUSINESS: FMCG Valeo Foods is a leading producer and innovator of high quality, categorydefining, branded food products, with a proud history that dates back to 1845. We are passionate about food and out portfolio of iconic food brands, which are tried and trusted by consumers for their quality, wholesomeness, nutrition and fun. We operate a diverse FMGC business across many categories with both company owned brands and those of blue chip partners. This combines food production, brand development and innovation, distribution and sales.

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

1 Angel Square, Manchester, M60 0AG T: 0800 0686 727 W: Regional Manager: Briege Ashley T: 07740958133

MULTIPLE RETAILERS ASDA Northern Ireland Office 150 Junction One International Outlet Antrim BT41 4GY T:028 9448 5700 Senior Buying Manager: Michael McCallion DUNNES STORES HEAD OFFICE 46-50 South Great George’s Street Dublin 2 T: 0844 264 3185 W: ICELAND HEAD OFFICE Second Avenue Deeside Industrial Park Deeside Flintshire CH5 2NW T: 0800 328 0800 W: LIDL NORTHERN IRELAND Tallaght Main Street Dublin 24 T: 00353 1 4212000 W: MARKS & SPENCER HEAD OFFICE Waterside House 35 North Wharf Road London W2 1NW T: 020 7935 4422 W: Chief Executive: Steve Rowe Chief Finance Officer: Humphrey Singer Divisional Head for NI: Ryan Lemon 83

RETAILERS GUIDE SAINSBURY’S SUPERMARKETS LTD NORTHERN IRELAND OFFICE Forestside Shopping Centre Upper Galwally Road Belfast BT8 4FX W: Regional Operations Manager: Damien Corcoran Category Trading Manager: Karen O’Connor T: 020 7695 0031 Regional Supply Chain Manager: Lee-roy Allen T: 028 9064 7386

Retail Director: Mike Hollis IT Director: Dave Morris Business Development Director: Jamie Davison

Business Development Managers: Damien O’Donnell T: 07920 825505

Regional Sales Manager (Supermarkets): Paul Deans

Jim Cummings T: 07798 846093

Regional Sales Managers: David Bennett, Jonathan Finlay, Donal Bryce, Justin Hayes, Robert Caughey, Connor McCann & Laura Johnston

TESCO NORTHERN IRELAND OFFICE Abbey Retail Park Church Road Newtownabbey BT36 7GU T: 0345 677 9373 W:

HENDERSON GROUP Hightown Avenue Mallusk Newtownabbey Co. Antrim BT36 4RT T: 028 9034 2733 F: 028 9034 2484 E: W:

Regional Buying Manager: Sandra Weir

SYMBOL GROUPS COSTCUTTER SUPERMARKETS GROUP LTD (NORTHERN IRELAND) Unit 1B McKinney Industrial Estate Mallusk Road Newtownabbey BT36 4PX T: 028 9034 2660 W:

Head of Brand Marketing: Brenda Mulligan Channel Sales Managers: Stephen Gibson, Sarah Halliday

Simon Scott: T: 07747 752725

Commercial Manager for NI: Stephen Magill

Head of Corporate Marketing: Bronagh Luke

Head of Business Development: Adrian O’Brien T: 07747 752580

NI Commercial Buyer: Claire McAlinney T: 028 9064 6913

Operations Director for NI: Brendan Guidera

Managing Director Henderson Foodservice Ltd: Cathal Geoghegan

Chairman and Joint Managing Directors: Martin Agnew & Geoffrey Agnew Chief Financial Officer: Ron Whitten Group Finance Director: Darren Stewart Retail Director (Henderson Retail): Mark McCammond

Trading Controller: Glen Howe Fresh Foods Trading Controller: Nigel Dugan Henderson Print Manager: Alan Ritchie TYPE OF BUSINESS: Symbol Group Wholesaler for SPAR, EUROSPAR, ViVO, ViVOXtra and ViVO Essentials in NI. MUSGRAVE NI Musgrave Retail Partners NI 1 - 19 Dargan Drive Belfast BT3 9JG T: 028 9078 7100 F: 028 9078 7101 E: W:

Trading Director: Alan Fitzsimmins

DAY TODAY 1 - 15 Dargan Crescent Duncrue Road Belfast BT3 9HJ T: 028 9078 4800

Fresh Foods Director: Neal Kelly

DayToday/Online Support: T: 028 9078 4810

Chief Executive Officer: Darcy Willson-Rymer

Group Property Director: Mark Adrain

Managing Director: Michael McCormack

Trading Director: Huw Edwards

Human Resources Director: Sam Davidson

Trading Director: Ciara McClafferty

Marketing Director: Sean Russell

Sales & Marketing Director: Paddy Doody

Finance Director: Alan Cunningham


Group Logistics Director: Pat McGarry

RETAILERS GUIDE SuperValu Centra Sales Director: Nigel Maxwell Wholesale Director: Trevor Magill Marketing Director: Desi Derby HR Director: Catherine Lambe SuperValu Customer Manager: Geoff Johnston Centra Customer Manager: Norman Bennett Wholesale Sales Manager: Tom Kinnier Head of Marketing: Brendan Gallen NISA Nisa Retail Limited Member Support Centre Waldo Way Normanby Enterprise Park Scunthorpe DN15 9GE T: 017 2428 2028 E: W: FASCIAS: Nisa Extra, Nisa Local, dual branded, independent fascia Chief Executive Officer: Ken Towle Chief Operating Officer: John McNeill Finance Director: James Clark Operations Director: Jonathan Stowe

Head of Retail Ireland: Pat Leneghan T: 079 5035 5991 Retail Development Manager NI: Darrel Steele T: 07719319337 Sales Manager ROI: Steven O’Doherty T: 00 353 87 291 3016 Store Development Manager: Cormac Rice T: 07766597675 IT Engineer: Bryan Lurring TODAY’S Savage & Whitten Wholesale Ltd Unit 1a Carnbane Business Park Newry BT35 6QH T: 028 3026 3521 F: 028 3026 3143 E: W: PERSONNEL: Todays Team: Sales Director: Michael Skelton Todays NI Sales Manager: Maurice Little Business Development Managers NI: Mark Forsythe, Declan McCarville & Paul McMullen Customer Relationship Manager: Rachel Holmes Business Development Managers ROI: Arron Potts Stephen Farrell S&W Team: Managing Director: Dessie Boyce

Chief Financial Officer: Robert McKeavney Marketing Director: Julie Burden Warehouse Manager: Joe McCrory Transport Manager: Sean McNeill IT Managers: Conor Duffy & Mark Turley HR Officer: Niaomh Rice TYPE OF BUSINESS: Savage & Whitten are the Symbol Group Wholesaler for Today’s Extra, Today’s Local & Today’s Express.

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

TRADE ORGANISATIONS DAIRY COUNCIL NORTHERN IRELAND Shaftesbury House Edgewater Business Park Belfast BT3 9JQ T: 028 9077 0113 F: 028 9078 1224 E: W:

Sales Director: Steve Leach

IT Director: Richard Whitten

Trading and Marketing Director: Ayaz Alam

Sales Director: John Whitten

FOOD NI LIMITED BELFAST MILLS 71-75 Percy Street Belfast BT13 2HW T: 028 9024 9449 E: W: Twitter: @Food_NI

Trading Manager Ireland: Jonathan Verner

Trading Director: Alan Dorman

Chief Executive: Michele Shirlow

Retail Director: Nigel Gray

Operations Director: Norman Savage



FOOD STANDARDS AGENCY Northern Ireland 10A - 10C Clarendon Road Belfast BT1 3BG T: 028 9041 7700 F: 028 9041 7726 E: W: Twitter: @FSAinNI Director: Maria Jennings Twitter: @MariaJenningsNI THE LIVESTOCK AND MEAT COMMISSION (NI) Lissue Industrial Estate East 1a Lissue Walk Lisburn BT28 2LU T: 028 9263 3000 F: 02892 63 3001 E: W: Chief Executive: Ian Stevenson Education and Services Manager: Cherrie Kenny NATIONAL FEDERATION OF RETAIL NEWSAGENTS Yeoman House Sekforde Street London EC1R 0HF Head Office: 020 7253 4225 Helpline: 0800 121 6376 W: NI District Vice-President: Gwen Patterson NATIONAL PHARMACY ASSOCIATION 38-42 Peter’s Street St. Albans Hertfordshire AL1 3NP T: 017 2785 8687 E: W: Representation Manager NI: Anne McAlister T: 028 9266 1730 86

NORTHERN IRELAND FOOD CHAIN CERTIFICATION Lissue Industrial Estate East 1a Lissue Walk Lisburn BT28 2LU T: 028 9263 3017 F: 028 9263 3003 E: W: Operations Manager: Noel Lavery Company Secretary: Valerie McCann NORTHERN IRELAND FOOD & DRINK ASSOCIATION Belfast Mills 71-75 Percy Street Belfast BT13 2HW T: 028 9024 1010 F: 028 9024 0500 E: W: Executive Director: Michael Bell E: Executive Assistant: Jill Devenney E: RETAIL NI 245 Upper Newtownards Road Ballyhackamore Belfast BT4 3JF T: 028 9022 0004 F: 028 9022 0005 E: W: Twitter: @retail-ni Chief Executive: Glyn Roberts Office Manager: Lisa McMaster President: Peter McBride Chairman: Nigel Maxwell NORTHERN IRELAND PORK & BACON FORUM 475 Antrim Road Belfast

BT15 3DA T: 028 9037 0222 F: 028 9037 1231 Executive Director: Deirdre McIvor E: PETROL RETAILERS ASSOCIATION/ RETAIL MOTOR INDUSTRY FEDERATION 201 Great Portland Street London WIW 5AB T: 020 7580 9122 F: 020 7307 3406 W: Membership Manager for PRA: Steve Coombe T: 078 3137 3205 E: SAFEFOOD 7 Eastgate Avenue Eastgate Little Island Co. Cork Ireland T45 RX01 T: 00 353 21 230 4100 Helpline (NI): 0800 085 1683 E: Twitter: @safefoodnetwork Chief Executive: Ray Dolan ULSTER CHEMISTS’ ASSOCIATION 2nd Floor Strand House 102 Holywood Road BELFAST BT4 1NU T: 028 9065 6576 E: W: Operations Manager: Adrienne Clugston ULSTER FARMERS’ UNION 4075 Antrim Road Belfast BT15 3DA T: 028 9037 0222 F: 028 9037 1231 W: Chief Executive: Wesley Aston E:





Q&A WHAT DOES A TYPICAL DAY INVOLVE? When I am not in my production unit in Derry, where I make granola from spent grain from my brother’s Walled City Brewery, a normal day would involve checking emails and social media for customer enquiries and/ or following up orders. I’ll also search for new recipe ideas to test in the kitchen though inspiration usually comes in the middle of the night so I keep pen and paper next to the bedside. I’m a busy mum too so I have school runs and home works to look after as well as running the business.


across the UK and Ireland. Down the line, I’d love to export to other continents. There are no restrictions. WHOM DO YOU MOST ADMIRE? My parents. Not only did they do a great job raising myself and my two entrepreneurial siblings, (my sister Yvonne has her own Interior design and architecture business and my younger brother James is owner and head brewer of The Walled City Brewery) they are inspirational people. They have been through tough times, particularly in the last few years. They had to cope with my illness in 2013 and more recently my dad’s cancer. Throughout everything, they have remained so positive and encouraging to me. I hugely admire and respect both of them.

WHAT HAS BEEN THE HIGHLIGHT OF YOUR CAREER TO DATE? Officially launching the Grainola Goddess granola cereals and biscuits brand at the Clipper Maritime Festival in Derry back in July this year. The customer response to the product exceeded my expectations and encouraged me to keep going and grow the business. WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT YOUR JOB? I am a creative person so I’m continually thinking of new recipes and I really enjoy the satisfaction on the faces of customers when they taste my product and I get positive feedback. WHAT IS YOUR MOST DIFFICULT TASK? Probably the management of stock control. I am manufacturing a product, cereals made from spent brewery grain, that has a shelf life and balancing stock production with sales demand can be an issue. It is a learning curve! WHAT IS THE BEST ADVICE YOU HAVE EVER RECEIVED? Prior to launching the business, my husband said to me, ‘You have to drive this, no one else is going to do it for you’. And he was right. As a sole trader you’re in charge of everything, from production and marketing through to sales. There isn’t anyone else to share the load so selfmotivation is the key to success. WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST GRIPE? Having had a previous career as a 90

secondary teacher, I am very particular about spelling and grammar. I am embarrassed to say that I carry around a pen everywhere I go to correct any SPAG (spelling, punctuation and grammar) errors I come across.

WHERE IS YOUR FAVOURITE PLACE? We are fortunate to live in an amazing country. The scenery and beaches are second to none. If I was to choose one place I’d probably choose the sea or a lake in Co Donegal. I’d be in a kayak on the water as I think it’s the most calming activity. You can completely free your mind from thoughts and stresses of everyday life.

I went to piano lessons when I was younger. I always played music by ear and was pretty good at it reaching Grade 6. However, I was also told by my teacher that I was the worst sight-reader she’d ever come across. So, I’d like to be better at reading sheet music. That would be a great talent to have!

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE FOOD PRODUCT? One of the reasons behind starting my business was my passion for granola as a health product. I’ve always been banging on about the importance of eating properly to my family and friends, it came as no surprise to them that I decided to make a business out of my favourite food product. It’s the most important meal of the day too!

WHAT ARE YOUR FUTURE PLANS/ AMBITIONS? I’d like to grow the business and expand the product line. Spent grain is a highly nutritious and adaptable ingredient for many potential food products. I’d like to see my product in different retail outlets

HOW DO YOU RELAX? Kayaking is a great form of relaxation. However, considering our climate, it isn’t a year-round activity you can enjoy. I love playing badminton, swimming and going to zumba classes. I also enjoy spending time with family and friends.


Profile for Helen Wright

Ulster Grocer Yearbook January 2019  

Ulster Grocer Yearbook January 2019

Ulster Grocer Yearbook January 2019  

Ulster Grocer Yearbook January 2019