UG Awards 18

Mackle makes magic at the 30th Ulster Grocer Awards

Claire McNally, Laura Rafferty and Sinead Cotter of Mackle Petfoods, winner of Best Marketing Campaign 2017 and Best Food Export Marketing.

A successful evening for Mackle Petfoods saw the Dungannon-based company awarded Best Marketing Campaign, as well as Best Food Export Marketing, at the 30th annual Ulster Grocer Marketing Awards on April 27.

Winners and highly commended entries were recognised across nine categories during the Ulster Grocers’ Ball, an annual gala evening held at the Culloden Hotel to raise funds for grocers’ benevolent fund GroceryAid.

Mackle Petfoods boasts form in the top category, having picked up Best Marketing Campaign 2013 for Brandy, and was recognised at the 2018 awards for its Naturo Pet Foods campaign. Highly commended in the category (sponsored by Derry Refrigerated Transport) was Musgrave for SuperValu & Centra Meal Solutions.

A new category this year, the Lorraine Hall Young Marketeer Award in memory of the co-founder of sponsor Forest Feast, featured joint winners Conor Toland of Henderson Wholesale and Francine Matthews of Boost Drinks, while Emma Rice from Springisland Supermarket was highly commended.

“Category diversity was notable among this year’s entrants,” said Alyson Magee, editor of Ulster Grocer. “In particular, the spread of entries for Best CSR Initiative/Charity Partnership was recognised as the most impressive in the history of the awards. Ultimately, successful entries picking up the top awards were those highlighting clear target markets, measurable objectives and identifiable results.”

Best Brand (sponsored by Henderson Food Machinery) went to Thompson’s Family Teas for Punjana with highly commended to Irwin’s Bakery, while Best In-Store Consumer Sales Promotion (sponsored by Aqua Twist) recognised SPAR Northern Ireland for its SPAR Shop and Win campaign with highly commended awarded to Musgrave for SuperValu Let’s Cook.

Henderson Wholesale, meanwhile, lifted Best New Product Launch/Relaunch with The Kitchen (sponsored by mxb Shopper Marketing Agency) with Tayto highly commended for The Tayto Craft.

Best CSR Initiative/Charity Partnership (sponsored by Hunky Dorys) was jointly won by Musgrave for Action Cancer & SuperValu/Centra and M&S Northern Ireland for In Touch with the Local Community.

Food NI sponsored Best Artisan Food & Drinks Campaign, won by Mange Tout Artisan Foods for its French Patisserie with PEPPUP highly commended for its Pasta Sauce, while Best Food Export Marketing (sponsored by McGowans Print & Packaging) saw Cavanagh Free Range Eggs highly commended.

A further victory for the Musgrave group saw it winning Green Retailer of the Year (sponsored by NI Trucks) in recognition of its 2020 Sustainability Commitments.

The Ulster Grocer Marketing Awards 2018 were judged by marketing experts Michael Maguire, Emma Cowan and Marian Norwood.




Host Claire McCollum, Laura Rafferty and Claire McNally (Mackle Petfoods), Patrick Derry (sponsor Derry Refrigerated Transport) and Mark Glover (Ulster Grocer).

  • WINNER: Mackle Petfoods

 Naturo Pet Foods: Making an impact in the Marketplace

JUDGES’ COMMENTS: “Mackle Petfoods has demonstrated a very professional approach to the marketing of the Naturo brand. It has defined its market and target segment and developed an effective strategy that is generating sustainable results. The judges were impressed by the wide extent to which Mackle had consulted in evaluating its market and market positioning.”

Patrick Derry, MD of Derry Refrigerated Transport, said: “The Ulster Grocer Marketing Awards evening was an amazing event that we at Derry Refrigerated Transport were proud to support. With so many deserving entries, I’m sure the judging panel had some very tough choices to make. As top category sponsor of the Best Marketing Campaign, we would again like to congratulate the winners Mackle Petfoods for their achievement and Musgrave who were highly commended on the evening.”

WINNER’S COMMENTS: Laura Rafferty, digital marketing assistant at Mackle Petfoods, said: “The Ulster Grocer Marketing Awards were a fantastic celebration of businesses coming together to celebrate success. Our entire team is delighted that Mackle Petfoods was not only shortlisted but was awarded Best Marketing Campaign, and Best Food Export Marketing. The entire team work hard on building relationships with our export customers as well as constantly thinking of improved marketing methods for our wide range of products. It’s a great result to be recognised for our hard work.”


Richard Mayne, head of Wholesale; Nigel Maxwell, SuperValu and Centra sales director; Michael McCormack, managing director; and Desi Derby, marketing director at Musgrave.

  • HIGHLY COMMENDED: Musgrave –

SuperValu & Centra Meal Solutions

JUDGES’ COMMENTS: “SuperValu/Centra was chosen for the highly commended award because the judges were very impressed with the concept of the launch and how it was delivered. It was quite quirky, while contributing to a cohesive and sustainable launch and marketing campaign.”




Host Claire McCollum, Camille Thompson, David Henderson(sponsor Henderson Food Machinery), Jamie Thompson and Chris Keenan (Ulster Grocer).

  • WINNER: Thompson’s Family Teas – Punjana

JUDGES’ COMMENTS: “Punjana is a pre-eminent Northern Ireland family brand that has led the tea market for over half a century. By bringing their history and the people behind the brand to the fore, they have had some impressive results and helped establish the provenance of the brand. Key to the brand’s success has been finding the sweet spot between the history and heritage of Punjana.”

David Henderson, owner of Henderson Food Machinery, said: “Henderson Food Machinery was thrilled to be sponsor of the Best Brand for the third year running at the Ulster Grocer Marketing Awards 2018. Our congratulations go to all the nominees in this category and especially to Thompsons Family Tea for their win on the night with Irwin’s Bakery highly commended. Henderson Food Machinery provides machinery solutions tailored to customer requirements. As our expertise lies in supplying food manufacturers we felt that Best Brand was an ideal category to sponsor at such a prestigious event.”

WINNER’S COMMENTS: Jamie Thompson, of Thompson’s Tea, said: “What a fantastic night we had celebrating the 30th annual Ulster Grocer Marketing Awards at the magnificent Culloden Estate & Spa. Our fourth generation family business began in Belfast in 1896, and so naturally we were delighted to be honoured with the award of Best Brand within the Northern Ireland food and drink sector. We take great pride in blending NI’s favourite tea, Punjana, and it’s lovely to have received this recognition.”




Irwin’s Bakery – Irwin’s


Ruth Sloan, marketing executive at Irwin’s Bakery.


JUDGES’ COMMENTS: “Irwin’s Bakery has been nominated as a worthy highly commended entry. The judges were impressed by the company’s understanding of its brand heritage and values, and on-going capacity to take advantage of current food trends and the use of brand extensions into new and established markets.”



SPONSORED by mxb Shopper Marketing Agency


Host Claire McCollum, Sara Murphy (Henderson Wholesale), Karen Carmichael (sponsor mxb Shopper Marketing Agency) and Chris Keenan (Ulster Grocer).

  • WINNER: Henderson Wholesale – Responding to shopper needs: The Kitchen


JUDGES’ COMMENTS: “Henderson is a worthy winner of the Best New Product Launch/Relaunch category. The market being targeted, and the promotional processes used have been well argued, with credible results achieved from the company’s marketing investment.”


Karen Carmichael, managing director at mxb Shopper Marketing Agency, said: “mxb Shopper Marketing Agency has supported the Ulster Grocer Marketing Awards over the past three years because we value how they reward marketing creativity and innovation by FMCG brands and retailers. This year we were thrilled to see Henderson Wholesale awarded as winner of Best New Product Launch/Relaunch for The Kitchen range of straight-to-oven meals and further congratulations to Tayto also highly commended within this category.”

WINNER’S COMMENTS: “Bronagh Henderson, marketing manager at Henderson Wholesale, said: “We are delighted to be awarded Best New Product Launch/Relaunch for The Kitchen range. The project was a truly collaborative initiative spanning across the marketing, trading and sales functions of Henderson Wholesale. The range was developed as a direct response to changes in our shoppers’ lifestyles and has helped our retailers to capitalise on the meal solutions trend with an affordable, quality, food selection. It is wonderful that this has been recognised by the judging panel of the prestigious Ulster Grocer Marketing Awards.”


  • HIGHLY COMMENDED: Tayto – The Tayto Craft

Elly Hunter, group marketing director, Tayto.

JUDGES’ COMMENTS: “Tayto has been highly innovative in identifying a new niche market for its range of ‘craft inspired’ potato crisps, and the strategy adopted by them is sure to provide a long-term growth segment and a sustainable future for a resilient brand… and they taste rather good too!”




Host Claire McCollum, Christine Cousins (Food NI) – receiving the award on behalf of Mange Tout – Michele Shirlow (Food NI) and Chris Keenan (Ulster Grocer).

  • WINNER: Mange Tout Artisan Foods – French Patisserie


JUDGES’ COMMENTS: “Mange Tout, through its chef/owner Franck Brétéché, has embarked on an initiative to make available a range of its signature French patisserie in the Northern Ireland market, demonstrating an excellent market extension programme which will build the Mange Tout brand through the years.”


 Michele Shirlow, chief executive of Food NI, said: “It is hugely encouraging to see the innovation and growth in the artisan food and drink sector reflected in the award for Best Artisan Food & Drinks Campaign. Food NI wish the winners Mangetout Deli and the highly commended Peppup Sauce every success with the growth of their businesses which deliver delicious and innovative products and reflect some of the excellent food for which Northern Ireland is becoming increasingly renowned.”

WINNER’S COMMENTS: Franck Brétéché, owner of Mange Tout Artisan Foods, said: “We are extremely proud to receive recognition from the Ulster Grocer judging panel and to be listed among so many famous local brands. We have worked hard to promote our products, especially our French patisserie range which we supply to select retailers and hotels. Like most small artisan producers with a limited advertising budget, we have to be creative and make use of all available platforms.”





Luca Montorio, founder of PEPPUP.


JUDGES’ COMMENTS: “Newtownards-based PEPPUP pasta sauce has introduced a new range of Italian style pasta sauces to the market.  The simple to use process will endear the brand to a broad cross section of consumers and is a worthy highly commended entrant.”




Host Claire McCollum, Sara Murphy (Henderson Wholesale), John Hamilton (sponsor Aqua Twist) and Alyson Magee (Ulster Grocer).


  • WINNER: SPAR Northern Ireland – SPAR Shop AND Win Campaign


JUDGES’ COMMENTS:“This year’s entry to Best In-Store Consumer Sales Promotion demonstrates an excellent in-store consumer sales programme that centres on the use of virtual scratch cards to promote and engage customer loyalty in an entertaining way.”


John Hamilton, director of Aqua Twist, said: “Major local water brand Aqua Twist was proud to present Best In-Store Consumer Promotion at the Ulster Grocer Marketing Awards 2018. Congratulations to both the highly commended promotion from the Musgrave Group, Let’s Cook, and the 2018 winner, the SPAR Shop and Win campaign. Both companies ran exceptional in-store promotions and we wish them both continued success. Aqua Twist (DCS) looks forward to developing both new and continued business with the Musgrave and Henderson groups.”

WINNER’S COMMENTS: Sara Murphy, SPAR brand manager at Henderson Wholesale, said: “We are honoured to have been awarded the Best In-Store Consumer Sales Promotion at the prestigious Ulster Grocer Marketing Awards. Shop and Win has allowed SPAR NI to shift the needle against strong competition with a highly engaging in-store promotion, which increased shopper frequency and loyalty across all SPAR NI stores.”



  • HIGHLY COMMENDED:Musgrave – SuperValu Let’s Cook

The Musgrave team including, front centre, Michael McCrory, communications manager and Desi Derby, marketing director.


JUDGES’ COMMENTS: “This is an effective consumer sales promotion that draws on classic marketing tools and has the added benefit of promoting greater home cooking in Northern Ireland; a very worth outcome.”




Host Claire McCollum, Desi Derby (Musgrave), Sean Clarke (NI Trucks) and Mark Glover (Ulster Grocer).

  • WINNER: Musgrave – 2020 Sustainability Commitments


JUDGES’ COMMENTS: “The judges were impressed by the scope, reach and breadth of Musgrave’s medium- to long-term sustainability programme and its imperative to educate and influence change in all aspects of its supply chain from suppliers to end consumers.”


Stephen Anton, Group sales & marketing manager of NI Trucks, said: “NI Trucks was delighted to be sponsor of Green Retailer of the Year, and to present the prize to Musgrave which was a very worthy winner. The Awards ran seamlessly as part of a professionally-organised Ulster Grocers’ Ball which raised a huge amount of money for a very worthwhile cause. Congratulations to all winners and entrants and to the organisers of a hugely successful event.”

WINNER’S COMMENTS: Desi Derby, marketing director at Musgrave, said: “It is hugely gratifying to be named the Green Retailer of the Year. In 2017, Musgrave developed and began delivering on a new three-year sustainability strategy, which sets out an ambitious agenda for change, making commitments to achieving tangible improvements to our green credentials by 2020. Our ambition is to be the most trusted and most sustainable brand in Northern Ireland; making a real difference to people’s lives and creating a positive impact on the planet by working with partners to make every community a sustainable community.”




Host Claire McCollum, Eileen Hall and Sinead Cotter (Mackle Petfoods), Brian Crawford (sponsor McGowans Print & Packaging) and Alyson Magee (Ulster Grocer).

  • WINNER: Mackle Petfoods – Making an impact on the Marketplace


JUDGES’ COMMENTS: “Launched in 2009, Mackle Petfoods’ Naturo brand of premium wet dog and cat foods has built on its early domestic success in marketing the brand via UK and Ireland supermarket chains and has embarked on an assertive export drive. In 2016, national distribution was secured in the Netherlands, supported by a market development budget. By the end of 2017, Naturo was being rolled out in a further 14 countries and export activity now accounts for nearly 40% of sales.”


Brian Crawford, MD at McGowans, said: “McGowans provides print solutions from marketing collateral and direct mail through to outdoor media, FSDUs and packaging to companies throughout the local grocery, food and drink sector so we were delighted to sponsor the Best Food Export Marketing category at this year’s Ulster Grocer Marketing Awards. It gave us great pleasure to present Cavanagh Free Range Eggs with the highly commended award and the overall award to Mackle Petfoods, winner of this hard-fought category.”

WINNER’S COMMENTS: Claire McNally, marketing manager for Naturo, said: “The shortlist for both awards were of such a high quality we were thrilled to be named among the other shortlisted companies. We are currently working on a new marketing campaign for our winning brand Naturo, and with the positive results from the Ulster Grocer Marketing Awards, we’re even more excited for this year’s marketing activity. Mackle Petfoods has been working hard to grow our relationships in export markets these last few years, putting time, effort and money into marketing our brands. Being shortlisted and winning Best Food Export Marketing was a fantastic result.”




  • HIGHLY COMMENDED:Cavanagh Free Range Eggs – Exporting quality eggs to the world

John and Eileen Hall (Cavanagh Free Range Eggs) and Brian Crawford (sponsor McGowans Print & Packaging).


JUDGES’ COMMENTS: “This is an excellent application from a small family-owned producer of free range eggs that continues to expand its business beyond the local market to include Hong Kong/China and the Middle East, using its promotional presence at international food fairs and sales missions to build new export markets.”




Lynsey Beatty, HR support manager for M&S Northern Ireland

  • Joint WINNER: M&S Northern Ireland: In Touch with the Local Community


JUDGES’ COMMENTS: “In celebration of 50 years in Northern Ireland, M&S has embarked on a programme to support local communities, which has far reaching benefits. Programmes supported include Action Cancer, Business in the Community, Cardiac Risk in the Young and British Heart Foundation. This is an excellent CSR initiative.”


Martin McClinton, sales manager at Northern Snack Foods, said: “Northern Snack Foods brand Hunky Dorys is proud to sponsor Best CSR Inititative/Charity Partnership at the Ulster Grocer Marketing Awards. 2018 marks the sixth year we have sponsored the category, and it was great to hear the judges’ praise for the quality of entries at the 30th annual awards. Congratulations to joint winners Musgrave and M&S for making a real difference in the communities in which they operate.”

WINNER’S COMMENTS: Lynsey Beatty, HR support manager for M&S Northern Ireland, said: “In total, 15,000 local people and 50 local charities and community groups benefitted from the 50 projects completed through Making Every Moment Special in the Community. Working with CRY and the British Heart Foundation, we fundraised £30,000 to facilitate complimentary heart screening for 300 colleagues in the risk age bracket for heart conditions. We are currently training all 3,000 colleagues in Northern Ireland in basic CPR and facilitating the training of 20,000 school children across the Province. Our average annual fundraising total of £100,000 for Action Cancer supports 1,500 families to avail of Action Cancer’s Therapeutic Services in Northern Ireland. We have a lot to be proud of.”




Host Claire McCollum, Desi Derby (Musgrave) and Alyson Magee (Ulster Grocer).

  • Joint WINNER: Musgrave – Action Cancer & SuperValu Centra


JUDGES’ COMMENTS: “Musgrave, including SuperValu and Centra, has had an extended commitment to Action Cancer for more than a decade and this longevity of support has significant benefits in resources available to Action Cancer in saving lives. Judges were impressed with the calibre of the entry provided by Musgrave.”


WINNER’S COMMENTS: Desi Derby, marketing director at Musgrave, said: “We’re delighted to be recognised for our work across both our SuperValu and Centra brands at the leading grocery marketing awards in Northern Ireland. We are very proud that the work Musgrave and its independent SuperValu and Centra retailers have undertaken through our long-term charity partnership with Action Cancer in delivering the Centra Health Action Programme for schools and the life-saving SuperValu Big Bus mobile cancer detection unit has been recognised in this way.”




Host Claire McCollum, Brenda Mulligan (Henderson Group) – collecting the award on behalf of Conor Toland, Michael Hall (Forest Feast), Francine Matthews (Boost) and Mark Glover (Ulster Grocer).

  • Joint WINNER: Conor Toland, retail marketing manager at Henderson Wholesale


JUDGES’ COMMENTS: “A dedicated member of the SPAR marketing team, Conor Toland has been instrumental in the pursuit of a range of strategies for the growth of SPAR in Northern Ireland in recent years. We are sure his name will rank among leaders in the grocery industry in the coming years; he’s one to watch.”


Michael Hall, MD of Forest Feast, said: “It was my pleasure to present this new award as a tribute to the legacy of Lorraine to inspire and encourage the up-and-coming younger marketeers within the NI agri-food industry. Both Conor Toland and Francine Matthews were worthy joint winners and we wish them every success with their current and future marketing careers. I want to thank Mark Glover and the Ulster Grocer team for facilitating our sponsorship of this new award and we look forward to returning next year.”The Ulster Grocer Marketing Awards offered the team at Forest Feast the perfect opportunity to remember their late colleague and Marketing Director Lorraine Hall in a familiar environment with their industry peers. The Lorraine Hall Young Marketeer of the Year award was a fitting tribute to her legacy.


WINNER’S COMMENTS: Conor Toland said: “I am delighted and honoured to be named as joint winner of the Lorraine Hall Young Marketeer of the Year Award. To be recognised for my work in front of friends, colleagues and peers is overwhelming. I am grateful to everyone who has supported and worked with me in recent years as they have all helped to improve my knowledge and understanding of such a fast-moving industry.”


Caption: Host Claire McCollum, Brenda Mulligan (Henderson Group) – collecting the award on behalf of Conor Toland, Michael Hall (Forest Feast), Francine Matthews (Boost) and Mark Glover (Ulster Grocer).


Joint WINNER: Francine Matthews, consumer marketing manager at Boost Drinks



JUDGES’ COMMENTS: “Francine Matthews has enjoyed a progressive marketing career, holding positions of responsibility in major consumer goods companies and marketing agencies across the UK. At Boost, she has delivered impressive growth results over the last 18 months that have cemented Boost as a major brand in the convenience drinks market.”


WINNER’S COMMENTS: “Marketing is an extremely competitive industry with some amazing talent around, so to win such a prestigious award is a real honour. Lorraine Hall was truly an incredible business woman and is inspiring to so many people in the industry, so to receive this award is nothing short than amazing. This isn’t just a reflection of my own drive and passion but the brilliant people I have around me supporting me every step of the way.”




  • HIGHLY COMMENDED:Emma Rice, marketing coordinator at Springisland Supermarket

Emma Rice is pictured, front centre,  with family and colleagues from Springisland Supermarket.


JUDGES’ COMMENTS: “An invaluable member of the management team, Emma Rice has capitalised on Springfield Supermarket’s success as a much-loved local family retailer and has strengthened its service appeal through effective local marketing, resulting in sustainable growth. Her use of social media marketing is impressive.”




This year’s lucky winner of the star prize at the Ulster Grocers’ Ball was Aidan Fisher of the PRM Group, pictured centre with host Claire McCollum and Peter Henry, GM of Allied Bakeries, which donated the star prize – a trip to Abu Dhabi.

Around £40,000 has been raised at the Ulster Grocers’ Ball 2018, held on April 27 in the Culloden Estate & Spa, for the GroceryAid charity.

The main fundraising event of the year for the GroceryAid NI Committee, the total was generated through table sales for the evening and a raffle which included the star prize of a trip to Abu Dhabi sponsored by Allied Bakeries, won by Aidan Fisher of the PRM Group, and an auction.

The Abu Dhabi trip includes four nights in the Beach Rotana Hotel or similar, with executive transfers and an incredible Formula YAS 3000 Driving Experience.

The evening began with a drinks reception sponsored by Schweppes 1783 (Coca Cola HBC), with other principal sponsors of the evening including Henderson Group, Kerry Foods, Musgrave NI, PRM Group, SHS Group and Tesco.


During a five-course dinner, entertainment was provided by Matthew Hunter and then Jackie Rainey and Emma Rae.


After dinner, the Ulster Grocer Marketing Awards were held, followed by the auction and dancing to The Professionals, while an after party ran into the early hours…

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