Fresh Mediterranean Flavours From New Deal For Local Shops

Tom and Ollie, the producer of handcrafted Mediterranean foods in Belfast, has won business to supply their Oi Mezze range exclusively to Henderson Wholesale in Northern Ireland.

The successful artisan food producer is to supply eightlines to Henderson including Mezze Pitted Green Olives; Mezze Garlic Stuffed Olives; Mezze House Mix; Mezze Marinated Slow Roasted Cherry Tomatoes; Mezze Black Olive Tapenade; and Mezze Creamy Classic Hummus. All the eight lines are handcrafted from Mediterranean ingredients at the company’s processing plant near Dunmurry.

The latest listing for Tom and Ollie is part of an ongoing focus by Henderson Group on local artisan producers. The wholesaler’s support for local artisans is designed to help to accelerate the growth and experience of one of the most dynamic sectors of the food and drink industry over the past decade. Benefiting from the strength of this commitment by Northern Ireland’s largest and most successful food wholesale/retail operations are producers of meats including bacon, ice cream, breads, vegetables, snacks, sauces and free-range eggs.

The listing by Henderson for Tom and Ollie is the first substantial business from the leading local food wholesaler for the small company, a popular participant at food shows and farmers’ markets across Northern Ireland for many years and also one of the firstbusinesses to set up following the re-opening of the iconic St George’s Market in Belfast in 1997. It continues to be a key trader at the Victorian market.

Shay Mullan, one of the founding directors of Tom and Ollie in 2000, says: “We are delighted to have our Oi Mezze products listed exclusively with Henderson Wholesale and their SPAR, EUROSPAR, ViVO and VIVOXTRA stores in Northern Ireland because of the opportunity that this provides to reach such an impressive and widespread customer base here.

“We will be doing everything we can to maximise the tremendous business opportunity that this listing by Henderson presents,” he adds.

Neal Kelly, Fresh Food Director at Henderson Group,continues: “We are delighted to be able to offer the range of Oi Mezze products to our retailers and shoppers across in Northern Ireland. 

“Providing market leading products is what sets our stores and supermarkets apart in a busy marketplace, and we will continue to set the example by sourcing from our fresh, local suppliers first and foremost,” adds Mr Kelly.

Tom and Ollie recently announced an investment of around £300,000 in opening a new production facility at Poleglass, expanding its online presence and retail division, and in creating nine new jobs.

The food manufacturer and retailer secured funding support through Whiterock Finance’s Growth Loan Fund II, which provides loans to Northern Ireland small and medium enterprises of between £100,000 and £1.5 million. Whiterock is part funded by business development agency Invest Northern Ireland.

Tom and Ollie specialises in handcrafted Mediterranean deli foods with over 65 lines made in-house including hummus, pesto, tapenades, harissa paste and a variety of marinated olives and peppers, all made without preservatives and offering an authentic Mediterranean taste.

The ambitious company also includes a wide range of produce from other local artisan enterprises in its marketing activities across Northern Ireland. In addition to participation in markets here, Tom and Ollie takes part in several food events every week in Dublin and other centres in the Republic of Ireland.

The funding from Whiterock enabled the company to develop its website and add an online delivery service to its offering, with over 300 products now available for next day delivery across Ireland.

Tom and Ollie sources Mediterranean deli foods such as an extensive range of olives from carefully selected growers and suppliers across Europe, Turkey and North Africa.

The business with the respected food wholesaler is for a wide range of retail products created and packaged from much of the fresh produce the company features on its market stalls, making the company an excellent example of a local enterprise which has diversified successfully from a market trader into a developer and successful marketer of retail packs.

The artisan business has a full retail range of Mediterranean foods which is also available across the Island in a number of local shops, farm shops and specialist retailers. 

Henderson Wholesale is part of the Henderson Group, alocal family owned business consisting of four companies under the Henderson name – Henderson Wholesale, Henderson Retail, Henderson Group Property and Henderson Foodservice. 

Henderson began in the retail grocery business back in 1897 selling butter, cheese, and eggs at premises in the Old Lodge Road in Belfast. 

The wholesale supplies over 400 SPAR, EUROSPAR, VIVO, VIVOXTRA & VIVO Essentials stores across Northern Ireland. Henderson Retail owns and operates over 75 successful SPAR & EUROSPAR stores here.