Distribution is king at Robert Roberts (NI)

Distribution is king at Robert Roberts (NI)

06 September 2016

Distribution Is King At Robert Roberts (NI)

Robert Roberts has been blending tea in Ireland since 1905 and also roasts a superb range of coffees.

With a rich heritage in premium award-winning teas and coffees, Robert Roberts also offers a professional, island-wide sales, marketing and distribution solution incorporating some of Ireland s most-recognisable brands. We popped into Robert Roberts (NI) s Lisburn HQ to find out more from warehousing and logistics manager Errol Moorehead.

Robert Roberts has been blending tea in Ireland since 1905 and also roasts a superb range of coffees. But there is much, much more than tea and coffee to this company which having built up an excellent supply chain, finance and administration infrastructure across the island distributes products for some of the largest brand names in the FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods) sector, with a product portfolio comprising a compatible synergistic mix of grocery and impulse brands.

Operating principally in the Irish market, Robert Roberts is a leading supplier of own brand and agency branded food and beverage products in the indulgence categories. Robert Roberts (NI) Ltd. offers a full service of sales, distribution, merchandising, promotion and marketing, developing superior products, mechanics and promotions for an ever-changing market.

RRNI are responsible for some of the most-recognisable brands in a host of different categories including tea and coffee, snack foods and cereal, soft drinks, confectionery, healthcare, grocery and pet foods. They distribute a combination of company-owned brands and those of blue chip principals to all trade sectors including multiples, symbol groups, Cash & Carries, independent wholesalers, garage forecourts, off licences, restaurants and hotels.

Robert Roberts (NI) is committed to the long-term development of each brand. Expertise and market awareness means brands are nurtured through constant innovation with a focus on emerging categories and new product generations.

Their retail division consists of a synergistic team of marketing managers, business managers, retail business development executives, van vendors and merchandisers, each of whom work together to provide sales, merchandising, marketing and promotional services for each of the diverse brands.

Robert Roberts (NI) boasts a highly-experienced, dynamic and professional team with a genuine passion for brands, offering complete island-wide coverage of all 32 counties. Robert Roberts vision is to be the number one added-value sales, marketing and distribution company operating on the island of Ireland, combining their own brand strength with that of their principals to offer the trade a unique service from a distributor they value.

As brand owners themselves, they are strong brand ambassadors, guaranteeing total market coverage, a first-to-market attitude, a long-standing proven track record and excellent logistics solutions.

As well as their own range of teas and coffees, Robert Roberts (NI) s extensive retail and distribution portfolio also includes major brands such as Jamie Oliver, Edwards, Pomegreat, YR Sauce, SACLA Italia, Libby s, Honey Monster Foods, Alfa One, Encona, Ocean Spray, Gallo, Kelkin, Wisdom, Alpro, Hipp Organic, Ultima, Brekkies, GuyLian, Fisherman s Friend, Hannah s, Oatfield, Mr Freeze, Meanies and ZED Candy.

Robert Roberts retail division is committed to cultivating and maintaining strong, positive working relationships with every retail channel, from multiple chain to symbol groups, forecourts, Cash & Carries and independent retailers. Being channel specific ensures that input for key accounts, marketing, van sales, sales representatives and merchandising is directed where most benefit is achieved.

Previously owned by DCC, it was announced in September, 2014 that Robert Roberts would be purchased – alongside Kelkin by Valeo Foods Ltd. It has been a seamless transition, as Errol Moorehead, warehousing and logistics manager at Robert Roberts NI, notes: Even though we are now owned by Valeo Foods, we still operate under the Robert Roberts NI umbrella. The beginning of Robert Roberts (NI) dates back about twelve years ago to when Robert Roberts purchased a company here called Savoury Foods, which would become their Northern Ireland base.

As a sales and distribution company, Robert Roberts (NI) holds agencies for a number of well-known brands, including Sugar Puffs, Ocean Spray cranberry juice, Edwards pickles, Volvic and Evian water, Valeo fruit juices etc., which we distribute across the six counties. There is also a wine division of Robert Roberts (NI), called Woodford Bourne.

Woodford Bourne wines, traditionally a Republic of Ireland based business, was acquired in 1988. To expand the wine division into Northern Ireland, Woodford Bourne acquired Direct Wine Shipment Wholesale in 2006 to become Woodford Bourne N.Ireland. Around the same period, Robert Roberts sales and marketing division was also expanding the business within Northern Ireland by purchasing Savoury Foods in 2003, expanding their route to market through van sales distribution.

In terms of fleet, Robert Roberts (NI) acquired two brand-new 26-tonne Mercedes-Benz rigid lorries this year. They also own two Iveco seven-tonne vans to handle water and coffee distribution, while the services of a number of contracted hauliers are also used, including George Fearon & Sons, Eagle Overseas and TR Logistics.

We distribute from our warehouse in Lisburn to the likes of Spar, Musgraves, Tesco, Asda etc. as well as a number of wholesalers and Cash & Carries, says Errol. At present, some 30 workers are employed by Robert Roberts (NI).

Looking to the future, Errol says the plan will be to continue with the same winning formula that has served the company so well in the past: We ll continue as we are, he confirms. We re extending the warehouse, which will increase out capacity here and that s important. The buy-out by Valeo Foods has been a real job saver. We re expecting overall business to increase by 30-40% and we ll have to tailor our distribution to cater for that.

Robert Roberts (NI) Ltd.,
10 Flush Park,
BT28 2DX,
Northern Ireland.

Tel: 048 9267 3316 Email:

Taken from Irish Trucker & Light Commercials magazine, Vol 18 No 9, November 2015 [3]


  1. ^ www.robert-roberts.co.uk (www.robert-roberts.co.uk)
  2. ^

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