Co Down food producer Willowbrook secures additional €2.5m business in the Republic
A LEADING Co Down food producer has strengthened its roots in the Republic of Ireland by securing €2.5 million (£2.2 million) worth of additional business for 2018.
Ireland's biggest bagged salad producer Willowbrook Foods has secured the new revenue through both increasing sales with existing customers and winning new partnerships within the foodservice and retail sectors.
The additional business is part of a heavyweight growth programme for 2018 initiated by the firm covering the island of Ireland and Great Britain.
Willowbrook managing director, John McCann explained that the expansion into the Republic of Ireland market is part of plans to ensure the long-term viability of the business.
“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," he said.
“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.”
As part of the ambitious growth plans, Willowbrook is preparing to open a new state-of-the-art production site in the coming weeks in Co Down. The company's primary factory operates from Killinchy, Newtownards and due to continued success over the years it opened a ‘Mash Plant’ factory in 2004 and a third factory in 2009 in Newtownards to support production due to the increase of new customers. In 2011 Willowbrook completed the £5.5 million redevelopment of the primary factory in Killinchy, an investment, which has helped the firm increase production and enhanced capabilities. Alongside the new factory asset, the Willowbrook Food Innovation Centre opened in the same year.
Willowbrook Foods was founded in 1968 by John McCann, on land farmed by his family for over 200 years. Mr McCann began by farming vegetables on his father’s land and started selling the produce in local markets. The award-winning company has grown exponentially since those days and is now the largest processor of lettuce bags and salads on the island of Ireland, supplying the likes of Tesco, Lidl, McDonalds, Musgrave Group and Henderson Group to name a few.