The taste of Northern Ireland

picture: Darryl Mooney
picture: Darryl Mooney

In line with its priority to grow the local economy, Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council is hosting Enterprise Week 2017 (November 13th – 18th) with a packed programme of free events for the business community. In anticipation of the week we’re profiling four local businesses.

This week we feature Paul Allen, CEO, Tayto Group.

Q1: Where is your Company Based?

Tayto Castle, Tandragee. The castle is over 500-years old, housing our Group Headquarters and a production facility. We also own five factories in GB producing other well-known brands.

Q2: How long has it been in business?

Thomas Hutchinson started making crisps on this site in 1956. The company is still owned by the Hutchinson family.

Q3: What does it do?

We make crisps and snacks - several million packets daily - including ridged crisps (Rough Cuts), hand-cooked crisps (Tayto Craft) and a variety of snacks, such as Onion Rings, High Fives and Spirals. We also produce crisps and snacks for convenience stores and major supermarkets.

Our GB factories make crisps and snacks (Golden Wonder, Real Crisps and Jonathan Crisp), pork snacks (Mr Porky) and popcorn (Portlebay Popcorn). We’ve also recently acquired two vending businesses which are helping grow our reach across GB.

Q4: How many employees are there?

Around 400 at Tayto Castle - fluctuating during peak production times. Group-wide there are almost 2,000 employees.

Q5: How did you first get involved in business?

I joined Tayto in 2002 with a remit to focus on strategic growth and investment.

Q6: What’s been your biggest achievement so far?

Major growth and success in a market filled with multi-national businesses with much greater reach, resource and strength than we have, while still maintaining the family-owned ethos and feel of Tayto.

Q7: What’s been your biggest challenge?

Constantly innovating in a competitive market can be challenging, but absolutely essential. Also, producing a range of brands in various locations requires significant logistical planning to maintain competitiveness.

Q8: What advice do you have for local entrepreneurs?

Think big. You may be a small company trading locally, but this can change. Tayto now exports crisps to over 40 countries globally.

Q9: What is the best thing about doing business in Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough?

There is a rich pool of talent available and most of our employees reside locally. Although based in a semi-rural setting, local infrastructure and accessibility is second to none.

Q10: What event are you most looking forward to during Enterprise Week?

Probably ‘Inspire, Innovate, Invest’, though each and every event offers vital information for growing businesses.

For details on all the events featured at Enterprise Week and to reserve your place visit: