Water Within, developed by Antrim Hills Spring Water Company in Ballyclare, has been assisted by Invest Northern Ireland to win first time business in China.
The company secured business for its branded spring water products, Water Within and Drip and Drop, which could be worth a six figure sum over the next year following its participation on the Invest NI stand at the Hotel China in Shanghai, Asia’s biggest food and hospitality show, in November 2013.
Welcoming the new business Dr Vicky Kell, Invest NI Trade Director said: “Our research has indicated significant market opportunities in China for quality and safe food produced by Northern Ireland companies, both large and small.
“The success of Antrim Hills Spring Water’s Water Within range is an excellent example of how a smaller company can win substantial business in China by meeting the market demand for natural products; and by developing a relationship with an established and successful business partner there with an extensive network in both retail and foodservice sectors.
“Our in-market team in China is continuing to work with Antrim Hills Spring Water to help it build on the existing business and to pinpoint and exploit other opportunities in what could be a hugely important market for Northern Ireland food and drink companies,” added Dr Kell.
Antrim Hills Spring Water Operations Director Peter Geary said: “This is an immensely important contract for the business because it gives us a very strong presence in a marketplace where demand for premium quality water is developing very strongly because of concerns about water quality there. Invest NI encouraged us to explore the opportunities developing there for the naturally pure water that we produce.
“Taking part in Hotel China enabled us to meet and show our products to Hanscent, a leading distribution business which has bases in Shanghai and Ningbo and services customers in many parts of China. Discussions about the contract began at the show led to an initial contract to supply water for Hanscent’s premium business and retail clients in key centres.
“What helped win the business for us is our artesian spring well which provides all the water for our extensive range of 100 per cent natural spring and flavoured products. The water from our unique artesian well is naturally filtered by the basalt rock formations of Co. Antrim and bottled by us without any additives whatsoever,” he added.