Davison’s Total Fruit of Portadown has been helped by Invest Northern Ireland to develop export sales of its Bramley apple-based fruit compote snacks for the retail and vending sectors.
The company, which launched a range of ‘Total Fruit’ branded apple snack pots in Northern Ireland in 2005, has recently secured business from Hungary and the Republic of Ireland from its participation in a series of Invest NI initiatives to help local food processors to achieve growth in export markets.
Davison’s took part in the Invest NI organised visit to Northern Ireland by Joyce’s365, the Galway-based supermarket chain and recently signed a deal to supply the retailer with its range of Bramley apple, apple and cinnamon, apple and raspberry, and apple and blackberry compotes. Participation at the SIAL international food exhibition in Paris, in October 2006 led directly to an order from an independent delicatessen chain in Hungary.
The Co Armagh company, which has been processing Bramley apples from its own orchards since 1973, has used this expertise to create the compotes to meet the growing demand for healthy and nutritional snacks.
During its participation on an Invest NI stand at the International Food Exhibition in London next month Davison’s will also launch another innovative product for impulse buyers, particularly children - a compote tub complete with a plastic spoon within the lid.
“Invest NI has been tremendously supportive in helping us to identify key buyers and to line-up one-to-one meetings with them,” says Glenn Waddell of Davison’s Total Fruit. “We’ve used our experience in processing apples for sectors such as baking to create a range of attractively packaged compotes for other growth sectors including healthy snacks.
“We use an innovative heat-based cooking process that means the snack has a twelve month shelf life yet does not require the use of preservatives. Furthermore, our products are 99 per cent fat-free and packed with Vitamin C goodness. They are also free from artificial colourings and flavourings,” he adds.
Maynard Mawhinney, Invest NI’s Food Director, says: “Davison’s has spotted a market opportunity from the rapidly developing trend for healthier snacks and has created fresh fruit tubs that are so convenient they can be eaten anytime, anywhere.
“As part of our marketing campaign we are introducing Davison’s and other local food companies to the principal buyers in leading retail and food service organisations in Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland.
“We are very keen to help our companies to seize the huge business opportunity from moves to introduce more natural and nutritional snacks to schools, including vending machines and tuck shops, as well as garage forecourts and retailers throughout the British Isles and further afield.
“Last month, for instance, we brought two of Britain’s main vending operators, Autobar and The Vending Corporation, to meet local companies in Belfast and Cookstown. This was an immensely successful initiative that involved around 50 local food companies. Our programme will also enable companies to meet buyers from most parts of Great Britain, the Republic and other parts of Europe.
“Galway’s Joyce’s365 has already placed initial orders with Davison’s and expects to do business during the year with around 26 companies that we invited to present their products at a ‘meet the buyer’ event in Belfast in December,” he adds.
Davison’s Total Fruit sources most of its apples from its own 120 acre orchard in Ballinderry, Co Antrim. The company has also pioneered the development of a unique micro-sprayer Frost Protection System to safeguard against frost damage during the critical bud setting time.