Food firm in deal to boost sales outside Northern Ireland

Millar Savoury Foods, the Eglinton-based convenience and snack food business, is aiming to accelerate the growth of its sales in Great Britain through a recently signed deal with a major sales operation.

Millar Savoury has linked up with Nicco Foods Ltd in Cheshire following an introduction brokered by Invest Northern Ireland. Nicco Foods will now market and distribute Millar’s range of products that includes scotch eggs, burgers, pies and hotdogs throughout Great Britain. Millar Savoury also recently signed a deal to supply its products to Norfolk Line in Kent for its ferries. The company has achieved grade A British Retail Consortium accreditation.

Clarke Millar, Commercial Director of Millar Savoury, commenting on the agreement, which was signed on the Invest NI stand at the recent Food and Drink Exhibition in Birmingham, says: “This is a major boost for our marketing drive in Great Britain and will strengthen our overall competitiveness in a market we are targeting for faster growth.

“It gives us access to a successful food marketing business that has an established portfolio of clients including many ‘blue chip’ retailers. We couldn’t really expect to reach such a broad range of quality businesses if we were totally dependent on our own resources. Nicco Foods has the contacts to put our products in front of key buyers in top retailers throughout Great Britain.

“Another important benefit of the relationship is the market knowledge that Nicco Foods possesses. The team there can help us in either adapting existing or developing new products in response to customer feedback on market trends.”

Welcoming Millar Savoury’s latest business outside Northern Ireland, Maynard Mawhinney, Invest NI’s Food Director, says: “This agreement is a good example of how we are helping many smaller food companies to reach the right buyers in leading retail and food service operations throughout the UK, Republic of Ireland and other parts of Europe.

“We recognise that food companies often have limited sales and marketing contacts and traditionally find it difficult to get meetings with buyers in bigger organisations.

“To help them address this challenge, we have developed a three-pronged strategy based on ‘meet the buyer’ events that bring buyers to Northern Ireland, and also helps them to identify potential sales and marketing partners in these markets who have established networks of contacts.  The third prong uses the expertise of our own team of trade advisers in Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland. The relationships they have developed with retail and food service businesses enable them to market local companies and to line-up meetings for them with the right buyers on a one-to-one basis,” he adds.

Established in 1993, Nicco Foods is a sales and marketing organisation for manufacturers throughout Europe. The company is now a UK leader in the marketing of frozen, chilled and ambient products under both brand business and private label.

Nicco Foods has a strong presence in the frozen food market, which now accounts for 40 per cent of its business, 35 per cent in chilled products and 25 per cent in ambient products – supplying a wide range of retail and catering customers It is developing the frozen side of the business, particularly in frozen foods for the retail market and ready meals for the ‘food-to-go’ sector.

It has an extensive range of premium products either frozen, chilled or ambient and supplies private label products to retailers and foodservice accounts such as Spar, Landmark, Fairway, Netto, Midland Main Line, Virgin Trains, Bestway, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Somerfield, Kwiksave, Wm Morrison, Nisa, Co-op, Caterforce, Iceland, Asda, and Makro.