Willowbrook Foods takes to the skies with world's airlines after securing major contract with Alpha Catering

John McCann, founder and managing director of Willowbrook Foods
Gail Bell

ONE of the north's leading food firms Willowbrook Foods is flying high after winning a major contract to supply salads for airline caterer Alpha Catering.

The Killinchy company has been contracted to develop, produce and supply a new range of deli-style salads for airborne passengers on more that 130 international airlines worldwide.

Almost 70 innovative deli salads have being devised for Alpha Catering in London by the new product development team at Willowbrook’s dedicated Innovation Centre, in association with Alpha chefs.

John McCann, founder and managing director of Willowbrook Foods which supplies pre-packed vegetables, deli salads and convenience dishes for the food service and retail sector, said winning the valuable contract was "a marvellous boost" for for the Innovation Centre team.

"It’s a tremendous endorsement of the skills and experience of the centre and our overall ability to respond quickly and in a flexible and effective way to the requirements of such an important customer," Mr McCann said.

"Our business is based on developing and producing highly innovative solutions for customers. The establishment of the Innovation Centre in 2012 demonstrated our dedication to new product development for the needs of customers.

"We were tasked by Alpha in July to come up with 68 authentic deli salads for airline meals that offered outstanding taste and we pulled out all the stops and developed a close relationship with Alpha’s chefs."

Among the new dishes are Thai Quinoa, Lemon Olive Pasta, Apricot Tabouleh, and Potato Liegeoise with local ingredients used where appropriate.

Established in 1977, Willowbrook is the largest processor of lettuce bags and salads in Northern Ireland and the Republic and currently employs 250 people between Willowbrook Foods and separate business Willowbrook Fine Foods which specialises in convenience meals and side dishes.

Alpha Catering has bases in 60 airports worldwide and provides quality in-flight meals – more than 320,000 meals a day - to over 130 airlines in 21 countries.

With catering, packing and distribution facilities in Australia, Italy, Singapore, South Africa, the UK, the US and the UAE, the catering company has forged a reputation for managing customers’ diverse catering requirements on a global scale.

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