Salad giant Willowbrook secures €2.5m of additional business in ROI

Ireland’s largest bagged salad producer Willowbrook Foods has secured an additional €2.5 million worth of business in the Irish market for 2018.

The news comes as the firm, which turns over around £33 million (€37.1 million) a year, prepared to open a new plant in Newtownards, Co. Down.

Willowbrook Foods has secured the additional business through a targeted growth strategy in the Republic, increasing both sales with existing customers and winning new partnerships within the food-service and retail sectors.

The firm, which supplies bagged salads, salad bowls, prepared vegetables and meal accompaniments, is rolling out a “heavy-weight” growth programme for 2018 across the UK and Ireland.

‘Future-proofing’

Managing director John McCann MBE said: “Strengthening our presence in ROI is central to future-proofing Willowbrook Foods’ success, as the market represents a major percentage of our business and huge growth potential.

Willowbrook

“Combined with our ambitious plans to increase our customer base in Great Britain and major investment in our production facilities, 2018 is set to be a challenging and ultimately rewarding year for Willowbrook Foods.”

In support of its ambitious growth plans, Willowbrook Foods is preparing to open a new production site in the coming weeks in Co. Down.

Beginnings

Farmer’s son John McCann launched Willowbrook in Killinchy, Co. Down, 50 years ago.

McCann began growing vegetables on his father’s land and started selling the produce in local markets.

Initially, Willowbrook Foods produced, prepared and packaged vegetables and soup mixes. However, after 10 years it secured its first major contract with Wellworths, which paved the way for its growth into a multi-million pound business.

The firm also claims to have pioneered a new marketing strategy using own-grown farm vegetables, packing them on-site for supermarkets.

In November, the company was named ‘Fresh Produce Manufacturing Company of the Year’ at the Food Manufacture Excellence Awards.