Around Noon takes bite out of southern market
A Co Down sandwich firm has boosted its sales by 40% this year, buoyed by a sharp increase in business to the Republic.
'Grab and go' convenience business Around Noon, based in Newry, has been steadily expanding its business.
As a result of focus in developing business in the Republic, sales in this market now account for 50% of the company's turnover.
Around Noon chief executive Gareth Chambers said: "We are now benefiting from a strategic decision a few years ago to invest time and other resources in a series of initiatives to expand our business in the Republic, our closest market place.
"This approach has also led to initial business in Scotland and England, business we are also keen to grow over the next few years.
"The Republic is becoming an immensely important market for us. We've developed good business especially with 'grab and go' food retailers there which appreciate a supplier committed to quality and in the development of the type of innovative tastes that their customers are seeking in what is now a very dynamic and sophisticated industry."
Established in 1989 by Gareth's parents, Sheila and Francis Chambers, Around Noon now employs 170 people at a processing plant in Newry.
The company sources supplies for its products from other Northern Ireland businesses including Irwin's Bakery in Portadown, Rich Sauces in Newtownards and Clandeboye Estate Yoghurt in Bangor.
Around Noon currently has a product range of around 600 different lines including sandwiches, paninis, wraps, smoothies, juices, fresh fruit and yoghurt.
Mr Chambers added: "We work alongside our customers in creating original products offering outstanding taste. For example, we developed around 200 new products this year to meet the specific requirements of individual customers.
"We continue to win business from our production process which continues to depend on the skills and experience of our people in hand crafting our products.
"What we offer is essentially an artisan approach within the business model that has the capability to meet volume requirements of customers. Only the packaging is automated."