Salad days for coleslaw maker Avondale as sales hit all-time record

Avondale Foods
Claire McConkey (right), account manager at Avondale Foods, and Cathy Elliot, Asda’s buying manager for NI Local, announce a deal in March for Avondale to list six new salad lines at across all Asda's stores in Northern Ireland

Lurgan-based coleslaw maker Avondale Foods, one of the north’s biggest agri-food success stories, has reported record-breaking sales in the year to March 2023.

The company, founded by Harry Geddis (77) and his brother Derek (75) in 1965 when they began growing vegetables for distribution to local retail outlets, saw its turnover soar from £71.9 million to £78.1 million, according to latest accounts filed at Companies House.

It came in a year when Avondale invested heavily in its production facilities and production lines, including building an alternative milk facility, which launched after the year-end in June.

This impacted on the bottom-line profit, which dipped from £4.6m to £2.3m, the accounts show.

The company’s workforce grew over the year to 462 people, and in turn its annual wages bill rose to £18.1m. Total salaries for the firm’s three key directors fell back slightly to £389,443.

Avondale is currently sitting on equity of more than £36 million, the accounts show.

In the early 1980s, Avondale Foods became the first company in Northern Ireland to manufacture coleslaw.

Avondale Foods in Craigavon had record-breaking sales of £68.1 million in its last trading year
Avondale Foods in Craigavon had record-breaking sales of £78.1 million in its last trading year

Today it specialises in fresh packaged food produce, manufacturing vegetable accompaniments, wet salads such as coleslaw and potato salad, fresh soups, sauces, dough balls, porridge and noodles for distribution throughout the UK and Ireland.

It trades under its own brand name Country Kitchen, but also makes products sold under brand names agreed with major supermarkets including Sainsbury’s, Asda, Tesco, Waitrose and Marks & Spencer.

In March Avondale worked with Asda to secure listings for six new salad lines under its Country Kitchen brand, which are now being stocked across all the retailer’s Northern Ireland stores.