Wafer Ltd aims for faster growth in exports

Jul 08, 2009

Wafer Ltd, the Londonderry-based manufacturer of waffle cones, wafers and other ice cream products is aiming for faster growth in Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland by investing in innovation with help from Invest Northern Ireland.

The company, based at Skeoge Food Park, has launched a unique range of waffle cones with white chocolate, sherbet and other features that add new taste experiences for consumers.

The new products are at the core of Wafer’s strategy which is designed to set the company apart in highly competitive and fast moving markets, particularly in Great Britain and the Republic where it has developed significant business with wholesalers, retailers and ice cream parlours. The company also includes major hotels and restaurants in its customer portfolio.

“The only way we can build on our position as a leading manufacturer of ice cream cones on the island of Ireland is by being different in terms of our products and the flexible and responsive services we offer customers,” said Neil Doherty, Wafer’s Managing Director.

“Our goal is to accelerate growth in Great Britain, our biggest neighbouring market and one in which we have a significant foothold, especially in Wales and Scotland. We want to push exports to around 60 per cent of turnover. With Invest NI’s help we’ve already taken steps to strengthen our sales and marketing activities there. Coming up with new product ideas helps in attracting the attention of both existing and potential customers.

“Our longstanding focus on new product development has enabled us to create a market reputation in Great Britain, the Republic and Northern Ireland as a company which can be depended upon to provide quality products that are also different.

“Invest NI’s encouragement and practical support has been immensely important particularly in terms of product development and marketing,” he added.

Ian Murphy, Invest NI’s Managing Director of Clients and Entrepreneurship, speaking during a visit to the company, which currently employs 19 people in Derry, said: “Wafer is an excellent example of how a smaller company in an intensely competitive market sector can prosper by investing time and other resources on market-focused innovation.

“Wafer has also recognised that the sustainable growth it requires can only be achieved through activities in markets outside Northern Ireland, especially Great Britain. It has developed and is implementing an ambitious strategy to become the market leader there.

“Among its most important assets for customers is specialist knowledge and vast experience of the ice cream confectionery business.

“Invest NI has been working closely with the company to support its business objectives,” he added.

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