13/12/2005

Prepared vegetable firm wins Invest NI backing

An award winning local firm developed an export marketing strategy, with help from Invest Northern Ireland, which has allowed the company to secure a £150,000 contract with a well known UK wide multiple.

Mash Direct Ltd won the lucrative initial contract with Spar (UK) for their prepared potato and root vegetable product range. This farming enterprise and its 23 employees produce six product lines including mashed potatoes, champ, turnip, as well as combinations of vegetables, such as, carrot and parsnip.

Congratulating the company on its recent success, Professor Terri Scott, Managing Director of Clients and Entrepreneurship at Invest Northern Ireland said: “Mash Direct has shown great ambition and commitment to innovation since establishing the business. They have adopted a ‘keep it simple’ philosophy which has been underpinned by high investment.”

Husband and wife team, Martin and Tracy Hamilton, who founded the company less than two years ago, have over 20 years farming experience supplying raw material potatoes and vegetables to the domestic market. Realising that the market value of raw farm produce was in steady decline, the Hamiltons decided to diversify into a prepared potato and vegetable product range to add value and increase profit margins.

This innovative business has won numerous prestigious awards including, most recently, the Northern Ireland Food and Drink Association Award for Innovation & Supply Chain Excellence which was sponsored by the Department of Agriculture & Rural Development.

With support and advice from Invest NI, Mash Direct has invested significantly in a wide range of activities to grow the businesses and enhance its capabilities including engaging in product development and strategic marketing as well as sourcing modern equipment and securing key managerial positions.

Martin Hamilton, Managing Director of Mash Direct, had this to say about his company’s recent success: “We identified a gap in the market for the supply of fresh, healthy take-home food products, made using locally grown ingredients which are subject to strict quality standards. The contract with Spar proves that our predictions were well placed and this provides us with the confidence and momentum to seek similar contracts outside Northern Ireland.

“The support we have received from Invest NI for this venture has really helped with the investment process and the agency’s marketing advice has made a dramatic difference to the continued growth of our client base,” he continued.

(SP)

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