Northern Ireland’s Crillys Sweets in new £250,000 deal for sweets in China

The latest deal is the second significant business there in the past 18 months.

The new contract is valued at £250,000 for the first year and will see the company’s successful and extensive range of confectionery on sale across China especially in pick and mix outlets which are popular with customers there.

Crilco Confections Ltd, which is based in Newry since 1974, is Ireland’s only manufacturer of quality boiled sweets and other confectionery. The family-owned and managed business has just invested in new production and wrapping machinery to enable it to increase substantially its output of sweets.

David Crilly, director of Crillys Sweets, says the latest business in China followed its participation in major global industry trade shows. “We met representatives from our latest customer at one of a number of confectionery business shows we attend every year including a hugely successful event in Shanghai. They were interested in our range and enjoyed the quality and flavours of our products and subsequently visited Newry for a few days and our plant in Newry for further discussions.

“As a result of these talks and a tour of the factory with the new high-speed production and the wrapping machinery, which enables sweets quickly and in large volumes, they placed two significant orders on the days of their visit,” adds Mr Crilly.

The new business is a substantial boost for the ambitious and progressive Northern Ireland family firm as it seeks to grow business in China to around £1 million over the next 12 months. It means sweet lovers in China will be able to enjoy boiled sweets long popular in Northern Ireland such as mint humbugs, rhubarb and custard, strawberry and Cream, and pear drops The company is supplying eight different confectionery lines to the new customer.

Mr Crilly continues: “We are investing substantially in productivity and marketing in key markets such as China where there are exciting opportunities for the range of confectionery. It’s a market that requires commitment, speed of response and flexibility.

“Our investment in new machinery, which is being assisted by business development agency Invest Northern Ireland, will be supported by the acquisition of new and much larger warehousing. This will enable us to exploit other opportunities we’ve pinpointed in China and other markets and to meet demands for greater volumes,” he adds.

In addition to China, the company sells confectionery to leading retailers in Britain including discounters B&M, Poundland, and also exports to the Republic of Ireland, the US, Australia, Germany, Italy, France and the Czech Republic.

The company, which was established in 1974, currently employs 30 people in Newry.