Poultry processor will supply products to 27 stores across border
Poultry processor Moy Park’s success in securing a deal to supply Iceland stores in the Republic highlights the benefits of dual market access under the NI Protocol, it’s been claimed.
The Craigavon-based firm, part of global food giant Pilgrim’s Pride, will be selling 12 branded products in 27 of the discount retailer’s stores in the Republic.
It’s Moy Park’s first contract to supply British frozen food chain Iceland in the Republic or the UK.
And it’s the latest deal for an NI food company with a major business operating in the EU, after dairy giant Dale Farm announced it would be supplying whey protein to Danish firm Arla.
Under the NI Protocol, agreed as part of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement as a means of avoiding a hard border on the island of Ireland, NI companies have unfettered access to markets in the EU and Great Britain.
However, the protocol has disrupted trade in goods travelling from Great Britain. Northern Ireland is treated as part of the EU single market for goods, resulting in checks on certain items entering NI.
Moy Park is now supplying Iceland with coated chicken products including its garlic and herb Kievs and southern-fried mini fillets, as well as roast chicken fillets.
No-one from Moy Park was available to comment on whether the protocol had made the deal easier.
Emma Murphy, marketing manager at Iceland in Ireland, said it was “passionate and have always been committed to supporting local suppliers across the island of Ireland and our most recent partnership with Moy Park is very much part of this long-term business focus and strategy”.
“Currently, we are working with over 70 local suppliers and farmers across our 27 Republic of Ireland stores.
"Iceland is undoubtedly the home of frozen, but we also provide customers with a wide variety of fresh locally sourced produce.”
Moy Park commercial manager Estelle Robinson added: “To secure a supply contract with Iceland Ireland for the first time is an important milestone in the growth of the brand.”
Asked if the deal reflected potential benefits of the protocol, Aodhan Connolly, director of the NI Retail Consortium, said: “Of course it does.
"It just goes to show access to two markets is beneficial for manufacturers and processors here.
"Long may it continue,” he added.
But he said a long-term answer was still required to the problems which the protocol had brought for goods crossing into NI from GB.
"The frustrating thing for business is we can see the solutions, like a veterinary agreement and the trusted trader scheme, but we don’t see the political will to do that.
"We need both sides, the UK and EU, to move on that. Where ideology meets economics there is friction….
"There are opportunities with the protocol and dual access but we have to mitigate frictions to make the most of those opportunities.”
But he said a trusted trader scheme was being discussed between the UK government and business, and between the UK government and the EU.