White's wins first business in Jordan

Tandragee-based White’s, makers of Speedicook and Toasted Oats, has won significant business for its premium oats in Jordan following its participation in a joint Invest Northern Ireland/Bord Bia stand at a major food exhibition in London.

The company, one of Ireland’s most successful oat millers, is supplying its porridge oat flakes and its Toasted Oats natural breakfast cereal to a leading food distribution business in Amman, the Jordanian capital. The contract, secured at the Speciality Food Exhibition in London in 2005, is the company’s first business in the Middle East.

White’s will also be seeking to build on its Middle East business as part of the Food From Britain (FFB) stand at Gulfood 2007 in Dubai, the principal Middle East food show, from 19-22 February. Participation at Gulfood follows the Northern Ireland company’s presence at the FFB marketing event at Alicante, Spain this week. In addition, White’s has secured business in Hong Kong and Malaysia following its participation in Invest NI trade missions.

Bernadette Speer, the company’s marketing manager, says: “The Jordanian contact was one of a number of good ‘leads’ we made during the Speciality and Fine Food Show in London. The distributor subsequently placed an initial order following the receipt of samples and has since followed this up with two further and very significant orders. We expect to do substantial business in Jordan during this year and to expand into other regions of the Middle East.

“As a result of a series of initiatives taken over the past two years, our export business has grown significantly and we’ve gained important footholds in Asia, the Middle East and Europe. Participation in key Invest NI exhibitions and trade missions is now an integral part of our export marketing strategy. These events have helped us to make contact with key buyers that have led to worthwhile business.

“Invest NI’s Innovation Service has also helped us to use our expertise in oat milling to expand our range of natural products that meet growing market trends for organic options. Invest NI helped us to incorporate innovation in the broader sense and take a more creative approach to all aspects of our business, from sourcing oats to production, marketing and sales,” she adds.

Welcoming the company’s latest export success, Maynard Mawhinney, Invest NI’s Food Director, says: “White’s is now benefiting substantially from a decision to invest time and other resources to grow its business outside Northern Ireland. It has identified significant opportunities from the growing demand for natural and organic products.

“The company has also used our Trade services, including our missions and business development visits, and the partnerships which we have with Bord Bia and Food From Britain to show its excellent range of products at events which attract the most important industry buyers from international markets. We now offer food and other Northern Ireland companies the most comprehensive programme ever of export development initiatives,” he adds.

White’s, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Fane Valley Co-Operative, has also used Invest NI’s Innovation Service to develop a range of value-added products including Toasted Oats cereals in various flavours, Toasted Oat snack packs for impulse buyers and ‘Only Oats,’ convenient microwaveable porridge in sachets.