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Irish food-to-go manufacturer Deli Lites has announced plans for a multi-million pound investment as part of its strategy to support growth internationally.

The Warrenpoint-headquartered company recently switched banking partner and Ulster Bank is now supporting the company with its business banking needs and providing additional funding facilities to accelerate growth in its food-to-go ranges over the next five years.

Brian and Jackie Reid, Deli Lites.

Deli Lites Ireland is run by husband and wife entrepreneurs Brian and Jackie Reid and employs a team of almost 300 people. The company supplies a range of food-to-go products to a host of major retailers including Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Costa.

The business produces more than 20 million products annually from its extensive range of fresh gourmet sandwiches, nutritious salad bowls, hot sandwiches, heat-to-eat meals, award-winning bakery treats and a new chef-led plant-based range.  

Currently they export to customers throughout the UK & Ireland and in European markets. With support from Ulster Bank, the company has earmarked a significant investment for the implementation of new technologies to maximise its sales in these markets and other international countries.

Plans include further investment in research and innovation as well as capital projects at its Warrenpoint headquarters to support automation and sustainability, a key focus for the food-to-go manufacturer. 

Commenting on the company’s five-year plan, CEO Brian Reid said the business has a clearly defined path to sustain future growth.

“Despite the challenges the sector faced in 2020, our retail business and export markets remained strong. As we invest in the future of the company, we aim to further develop our international business where we see significant opportunities. We are entering a very exciting period in our growth story and are ready to showcase what an Irish producer can do on the world stage.”

Caroline McKeown, Ulster Bank.

Renewing the company’s commitment to the local market, Brian added: “Deli Lites has significant foothold locally, supported by our local customers and team who remain the foundation of our business. As we continue to grow, we’re fully committed to strengthening our market presence in Ireland through future investments which will greatly improve efficiency and capacity to fulfil growing demand for our product ranges.”

Speaking about the switch to a new banking partner, Brian said: “The bank’s understanding of our needs and proactive approach putting together a package for us was hugely encouraging. With the funding facilities, resources and expertise offered by the bank and our relationship manager, Caroline, we are now in a very strong position to execute our ambitious growth plans and achieve our company’s vision to bring the best quality Irish food-to-go to the world.” 

Caroline McKeown, Senior Relationship Manager at Ulster Bank, said: “We are extremely pleased to support Deli Lites as it enters an exciting period of high growth. Understanding the company’s current market position and its growth aspirations, we developed a financial package that caters for its routine business banking needs as well as providing the funding injection required to capitalise on huge export market potential. 

“We look forward to working closely with its passionate management team whose vision for the business is now within reach through this new partnership.”

Customers include major retailers such as Sainsbury’s, Boots and Applegreen, as well as local food service companies. At the 2020 Sammies, the British Sandwich Association Awards, the business won in the New Sandwich Category (Hot) for its innovative Irish Stout Pastrami Tósta. The company has also won numerous Great Taste awards, including for its Kitchen Vegilantes range. CEO Brian Reid was announced as IOD NI International Director of the Year 2020. 

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