Golden popcorn grows exports to Republic

Mallusk based Golden Popcorn has strengthened its business in the Republic of Ireland with help and advice from Invest Northern Ireland.

The company, which was assisted by Invest NI to achieve top quality ranking from the influential British Retail Consortium (BRC), has won new business from cinema operators and retail outlets in the Republic. The new contracts enhance the company’s position as a leading supplier of popcorn.

Golden Popcorn also aims to have its large bags of popcorn available in symbol groups throughout the province and to launch a new snack-sized bag of popcorn towards the end of the year. The company has used Invest NI’s Innovation Voucher scheme to develop new products and to embed new product development within the business.

Lucy McDowell, Golden Popcorn’s Managing Director, commenting on the achievement of BRC Grade ‘A’ Global Food Standard, said: “Achieving this standard will help us win new business particularly from major retail operations throughout the British Isles.

“BRC imposes a set of systems which ensure both good management practice and the highest standard of food hygiene. Getting an ‘A’ grade demonstrates that we give 100 per cent support to the principles behind BRC, showing that we are totally committed to the issue of food hygiene and that as a company, we aim for the highest possible standards.

“Invest NI’s support for our BRC engagement was extremely important. This enabled us to link up with experts at College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development at Loughry and to benefit from their extensive knowledge and experience. Loughry also assisted the company’s work on new products through Innovation Vouchers.

“While the new business in Republic came from our reputation and our website, Invest NI continues to keep a keen eye on this market and to match our products to opportunities there.

“Our search for new market opportunities has also benefited from the vast resources of Invest NI’s Business Information Service. We’ve used the resources there in our research into the snacks market and to investigate the viability of a snack sized bag of popcorn. The information, including access to Mintel reports, was tremendously important and the staff were both knowledgeable and helpful,” she added.

Golden Popcorn’s latest success was welcomed by Maynard Mawhinney, Invest NI’s Food Director, during a visit to the company which employs eight people at its Newtownabbey plant.

Said Mr Mawhinney: “Golden Popcorn is an ambitious and progressive company which has used a number of our services to strengthen its competitiveness in existing markets and to explore new opportunities.

“The BRC programme was introduced to assist smaller companies in particular to achieve the high standards being demanded increasingly by major supermarkets. Achieving the top grade will also influence all other customers because it demonstrates a dedication to the highest performance standards.

“In addition, the company is making good use of the extensive market data and knowledge that’s available to all Northern Ireland businesses from our Business Information Service.

“The BIS library offers companies access to up-to-date market information and data about potential customers from electronic sources.

“Golden Popcorn, furthermore, has been quick to promote its brand and products by means of interactive social media such as Facebook and has also developed a regular internet blog (” he added.