The Northern Ireland-based prepared salads producer won the additional business through increasing sales with existing customers and new partnerships within the foodservice and retail sectors.
Willowbrook Foods md John McCann said: “Strengthening our presence in ROI is central to futureproofing Willowbrook Foods’s success, as the market represents a major percentage of our business and huge growth potential.
‘Investment into our production facilities’
“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.”
Willowbrook’s growth plans included the opening of a new modern production site in the coming weeks in County Down.
Established in 1968 by McCann, Willowbrook is one of Ireland’s largest processors of lettuce bags and salads. It supplies to major players in retail and foodservice, including Tesco, Lidl and McDonald’s.
In 2011, it completed a £5.5M redevelopment of its factory in Killinchy, County Down, which helped the firm increase production and enhance its capabilities. It also opened a food innovation centre in the same year.
Contribution to the food industry
June last year (2017) saw McCann received a Member of the British Empire honour for his contribution to the food industry and the community in Northern Ireland.
Willowbrook created 55 jobs as part of a £2.3M investment in 2015, a move that represented a “significant boost” to Northern Ireland’s economy, according to then enterprise, trade and investment minister Arlene Foster.
The company won the award for Fresh Produce Manufacturing Company of the Year at last year’s Food Manufacture Excellence Awards – see box below for more details.
Willowbrook Foods wins FMEA
Last November, Willowbrook Foods won the prized Fresh Produce Manufacturing Company of the Year trophy in the industry’s Oscars – the Food Manufacture Excellence Awards (FMEAs) – at the Hilton on Park Lane.
The FMEAs’ independent judging panel – lead by Paul Wilkinson, chair of the National Skills Academy for Food and Drink – praised Willowbrook Foods’s double digit turnover growth and export success.
You can register your interest for this year’s awards by clicking this link.