Willowbrook ‘top of the crops’ at UK food awards

Colin Stanley of Willowbrook Foods, centre, collects the company's award from Jon Poole, chief executive of the Institute of Food Science & Technology, right, joined on stage by English rugby union star Matt Dawson
Colin Stanley of Willowbrook Foods, centre, collects the company's award from Jon Poole, chief executive of the Institute of Food Science & Technology, right, joined on stage by English rugby union star Matt Dawson

County Down-based vegetable and salad business Willowbrook Foods has been named the UK Fresh Produce Manufacturing Company of the Year at the UK Food Manufacture Excellence Awards (FMEAs).

Based at Killinchy on Strangford Lough and established in 1968, Willowbrook Foods is Ireland’s largest bagged salad processor and supplies some of the UK and Ireland’s largest retail, ingredients manufacturers and foodservice providers.

Under the leadership of founder and managing director John McCann, the business has achieved impressive growth in recent years.

Turnover climbed from £21.2m in 2015 to £25m last year and £28m in the 2017 financial year. The company’s turnover currently stands at £33m for the year to date.

The FMEA judging panel praised Willowbrook Foods’ double-digit turnover growth and export success.

“We are delighted to have been honoured with this award as we were up against firm competition from food companies from across the UK,” said Mr McCann who was awarded the MBE for services to the industry the New Years honours list.

“An accolade such as this is reassurance to our customers that our product range is of the highest quality and proof of the ambitious nature of our business.”

“We remain focused on growing our presence across the UK and Ireland by delivering the very best in fresh foods, from mashed potato to bagged salads, prepared vegetables to salad bowls. Innovation is at the core of our business as we seek to create convenient, high-quality solutions to meet the needs of the retail and foodservice sectors.”