Newry food firm buys London premium sandwich/snack firm

Around Noon has bought London firm Chef in a Box from Donegal Investment Group

Around Noon, the Newry-based food to go manufacturer has bought a London premium sandwich and snack firm from the Donegal Investment Group for an undisclosed sum.

The Newry firm, which is a family-owned business that was established by Francis and Sheila Chambers in 1989, has acquired Chef in a Box from the Donegal organisation.

Around Noon supplies sandwiches, wraps, salads and fruit pots under its Scribbles brand across the island of Ireland. It also has an in-house operation bakery operation, Sweet Things, which it acquired last year, and sells cold pressed juices.

Chef in a Box meanwhile is a key supplier to the hospitality sector in the UK counting caterers, sports venues, hotels and universities among its key clients.


Around Noon, which has built up a significant share of the market North and South, believes its takeover of Chef in a Box from Donegal Investment Group will help it expand its presence in the UK.

Howard Farquhar, chairman of Around Noon, said: "Food-to-go is a high-growth category and we see London as a very significant opportunity for us, as well as a platform for further UK expansion, including other potential acquisitions.

“We are delighted to be expanding our geographical reach, adding to our manufacturing capacity and welcoming new colleagues to our business.”

It is estimated that the food to go market in the UK could be worth more than £16 billion.

The founders of Around Noon initially started off making their sandwiches on their kitchen table – latest financial accounts for Around Noon for the year ending December 2016 show they reported pre-tax profits of more than £443,000 on a turnover of £14.4 million. The business currently employs 300 people.

Francess McDonnell

Francess McDonnell

Francess McDonnell is a contributor to The Irish Times specialising in business