Avondale Foods in Lurgan has been assisted by Invest Northern Ireland to win its first European business with a deal to supply supermarkets in the Netherlands.
The company, a UK leader in packaged salads, soups, sauces and bread snacks, is to supply garlic butter dough balls to HEMA, the Amsterdam-based discount retail chain, following its participation in a longstanding Invest NI marketing initiative in the Netherlands.
The success in the Netherlands was outlined by Philip Conway, Avondale Head of Sales, and welcomed by Dr Vicky Kell, Invest NI Trade Director.
Dr Kell said: “Avondale has worked closely with us and taken the necessary actions required to develop a solid base in the Netherland’s, an international market that is becoming increasingly successful for our companies, both large and small, and in particular for those new to Europe.
“The importance of this market to Northern Ireland companies entering the European arena is demonstrated by the integrated provision of support through our Going Dutch initiative.
“As Avondale has discovered, our in-market advisors have the experience on the ground and a network of business contacts to assist companies win worthwhile contracts. They offer companies easy access to a broad portfolio of professional services including lead generation, logistics, linguistics and guidance on business procedures,” added Dr Kell.
Mr Conway said: “We joined the Invest NI programme in the Netherlands last year as part of a strategic decision to explore business opportunities in Europe.
“What we aimed to do was to build on the success that we are enjoying in the UK and Ireland for our product range by developing a strong base in Europe particularly the Netherlands which is a market with a longstanding awareness of the quality and originality of UK food and drink and is also an ideal springboard to neighbouring regions such as Belgium, Germany and Denmark.
“Invest NI’s in-market advisors worked with us in promoting our products to wholesalers and supermarkets through their extensive network of business contacts. Our garlic dough balls, one of the most popular chilled bread products with a high-end retailer in Britain, attracted HEMA’s interest and they placed a contract with us.
“We’ve begun to supply the product and are now working closely with the Invest NI team to expand sales with HEMA and other major retailers.
“Invest NI’s very practical support in-market in the Netherlands has been invaluable there and has given us the knowledge, experience and confidence to focus resources on this and other markets.”