Wilson’s Country – ‘number one fresh produce brand and still growing’

Wilson’s Country has reported that its potato sales have grown at double the local market growth – into the retail sector during 2020.

Saturday, 6th March 2021, 11:01 am
Wilson's Country managing director Lewis Cunningham (right) with company chairman Angus Wilson
Wilson's Country managing director Lewis Cunningham (right) with company chairman Angus Wilson

The Northern Ireland potato market according to Kantar data for 2020 grew at just over 8% in volume, while they recorded the Wilson’s Country Brand growing at almost 18% for the same period.

The company has also been confirmed as the top fresh produce brand in Northern Ireland

The most up-to-date rankings were recently published by Kantar. Specifically, they show that the Co Armagh potato packer is now positioned above many of the world’s most prestigious food and drink names, when it comes to local consumer recognition and their shopping preferences.

Wilson’s managing director Lewis Cunningham commented: “The Kantar figures reflect the culmination of many years’ work and investment. We have always been committed to delivering consumers total satisfaction, where product quality, eating satisfaction and convenience are concerned.

“By taking this approach, we feel that we are also providing best value for money.”

Lewis Cunningham continued: “The reality is that the potato is no longer viewed as the humble spud. Consumers realise that fresh potatoes can be at the centre of an exciting culinary experience and can be used in so many different ways – boil, mash, slice, roast, saute, dice and of course chips

“Variety plays a part in this regard. But so does convenience. In our own case we have developed the ‘You Say Potato’ range, that includes fresh cut chips, skinny chips and baby potatoes with garlic and herb butter. This key step forward for the business has helped to boost our sales dramatically while allowing Wilson’s Country to remain true to the company’s founding principles.”

Cunningham confirmed that the company’s potato sales have increased significantly across Northern Ireland over the past 12 months.

He explained: “All of the key indicators are up: market value, number of shoppers buying potatoes and the volume of potatoes purchased per visit.

“All of these parameters have been reflected across the industry and particularly in our own case.”

The Wilson’s Country representative attributed most of these developments to the Covid-19 lockdowns and the fact that people are now cooking much more than ever before in their own homes.

He added: “People have had time at home to prepare and enjoy food with their families.

“Consumers are also much more interested in the provenance of the food they are preparing and cooking.”

But it’s not all good news for the local potato sector.

Lewis Cunningham continued: “It’s now exactly a year since Covid reached Northern Ireland and sales especially to the food service sector have simply been decimated for the last 12 months. In our own case the processing sales to the food service and contract catering sectors have fallen by over 60%. A return to what was the norm for this sector pre the Covid pandemic, unfortunately still feels some way off.

“The perfect scenario moving forward would be for local consumers to retain the interest in potatoes that has been rekindled over recent months and to have this reflected in their eating choices, both at home and while out.”

For further information, telephone (028) 3839 1029 or visit the Wilson’s Country website: www.wilsonscountry.com