Invest NI information service helps Westland launch new product

Photography: Michael Cooper

Pictured is Declan McArdle, Westland Horticulture’s Business Development Manager, and Dr Vicky Kell, Invest NI Trade Director.

Westland Horticulture in Dungannon has been assisted by Invest Northern Ireland to launch a new range of bird care products in the United Kingdom.

The company, now one of the leading and fastest growing horticultural companies in the UK, specialises in the development and sale of gardening products such growing media, lawn treatments, lawn seed and plant food to garden centres and other retailers. It also owns Unwins, the market leading seed brand.

Westland, which has a track record in developing and launching successful national brands for the horticulture industry, has recently launched ‘Peckish’, a quality food for garden birds. Invest NI assisted the company with essential market information which shaped its marketing strategy.

Invest NI Trade Director Dr Vicky Kell said: “Westland turned to our Business Information Centre for market data to assess the potential for Peckish, a product that they had been considering as an integral part of their longstanding focus on new product development.

“The centre, located at our office in Belfast, holds a vast amount of market research information particularly through our access to a range of internet services such as Mintel market surveys on UK pet food supplies and sales.

“The data held by the centre can help companies gain an understanding of keymarket trends, requirements and competition which they can use to maximise the potential of a business opportunity that has been identified.  Companies throughout Northern Ireland, both large and small and across virtually every sector can use the information held by the centre. Our highly experienced staff can also advise companies on other sources of relevant market information.”

Westland Horticulture’s Business Development Manager, Declan McArdle, said: “We believed there was a market opportunity for a product such as Peckish and needed information about the size of the market to ensure a successful launch.

“Using the Business Information Centre’s market research reports I discovered that demand for wild bird food had been steadily rising. The centre also provided research data on the best methods of marketing the products online. Company databases such as Financial Analysis Made Easy enabled me to identify potential competitors and outlets.

“The Business Information Centre is a great resource and I found it very useful when I was researching the extent of the market opportunity.

“The Peckish products, which consist of a number of seed mixes, have been carefully designed by Westland to deliver the very best food aimed at a variety of species of bird. Products include Peckish Complete 5 in 1; a seed mix designed to give nutritious food to over 16 types of garden bird. The Peckish Winter Warmer is a high energy mix to support birds during the winter months, when they need that extra little bit of help,” he added.