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Killinchy salad producer secures extra €2.5m order from RoI


A NORTHERN Ireland producer of bagged salads has secured an extra €2.5m (£2.21m) worth of business in the Republic of Ireland for 2018.

Based in Killinchy, Willowbrook Foods supplies bagged salads, salad bowls, prepared vegetables and meal accompaniments. The company says it is rolling out a ‘heavyweight’ growth programme for 2018 across the UK and Ireland. The extra business has been generated by both increasing sales with existing customers in the Republic of Ireland and gaining new customers through partnerships in the foodservice and retail sectors.

Willowbrook Foods managing director John McCann MBE said: “Strengthening our presence in the Republic of Ireland is central to futureproofing Willowbrook Foods’ success, as the market represents a major percentage of our business and huge growth potential. Combined with our ambitious plans to increase our customer base in Great Britain and major investment into our production facilities, 2018 is set to be a challenging and ultimately rewarding year for Willowbrook Foods.”

The company was started back in 1968 when farmer’s son John McCann began growing vegetables on his father’s land and sold the produce in local markets. John pioneered a new marketing strategy by using home grown vegetables in the packing for supermarkets, which prior to the 1970’s did not exist.

Willowbrook Foods has undergone rapid expansion over the years opening a mash plant in 2004. Later on in 2011 following a £5.5m the company opened another factory extending to 60,000 square feet as well as the Willowbrook Food Innovation Centre in 2011.

Willowbrook Foods, which turns over £33million a year, is preparing to open another new production site in the coming weeks at its facility in County Down.

By Chris McCullough