Crawford Foods helped by Invest NI to develop innovative Products

Crawford Foods in Portaferry is being assisted by Invest Northern Ireland to develop new granola products for export.

The company, formed by husband and wife team David and Jill Crawford last year, has received R&D assistance from Invest NI to expand its product range to include new granola mini-bites for the snack foods market.

Invest NI has offered £35,728, which includes part funding from the European Regional Development Fund, (ERDF). The project also includes design, marketing support and access to expert product development assistance from the Food Technology team at Loughry campus of the College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise in Cookstown.

David and Jill Crawford began developing granola breakfast cereals on the kitchen table of the family home and selling them at local markets, including St George’s in Belfast.What began as a part-time venture quickly turned into a more extensive operation when local hotel chain, Hastings Hotels, placed a contract for breakfast cereals for its guests.

Announcing Invest NI assistance for Crawford Foods, Carol Keery, Invest NI’s Director of Innovation, Research and Technology, said: “We are helping this small and ambitious company to harness a market opportunity it has identified for its snack products.

“Invest NI’s R&D support encourages and assists local companies to grow through investment in market-led innovation that will enable them to develop new business outside Northern Ireland.

“Our support is flexible, enabling companies to access expert advice across a broad range of business activities including design, brand development, marketing, packaging and production techniques.”

Mrs Crawford said: “Invest NI’s support is helping us to move the business on to a higher level particularly in terms of innovative products to meet opportunities we have identified in both domestic and export markets.

“What we aim to do is to build on the customer base we have developed in Northern Ireland over the past year and then to prepare the ground for expansion into the Republic of Ireland and Great Britain.

“We are confident that there’s a demand for the type of natural products that we are producing because of the very positive response we’ve received from the local markets and delis that we currently supply. Our aim is to harness the strong market trend towards healthier breakfast foods and snacks.”