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Bulking up in Britain: Fulfil is looking to take a bigger bite out of a growing market

Brian O’Sullivan is plotting the protein bar company’s expansion after investment from US giant Hershey.

Image: Abe Neihum/Abdullah Elneihum

FULFIL IS BULKING up its UK presence to get closer to a growing food market that could prove lucrative for the Irish company. 

Brian O’Sullivan, managing director of Fulfil, told Fora the move is to get closer to the market so that “brand and customers have a direct relationship”.  

The protein bar company has hired a managing director, Steve Rich who has experience working for the health bar section of UK food manufacturer Samworth Brothers and  with multinational confectionery companies Mondalez and Cadbury. 

It is also actively hiring for seven other positions in the UK across sales, marketing and category management.  

At present, the UK is the largest market in Europe for protein bars and that’s only expected to grow in the coming years, according to a Mordor Intelligence report. 

The company already sells its protein bars in a variety of UK supermarkets including Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Asda. 

O’Sullivan said he sees a “huge potential for growth” for the company in the UK market and will continue to recruit throughout the year.

He added that a base in the UK will allow the company to “act quickly if we want to invest in more people and speed up decision making. It’s a dynamic market so we need to make quick decisions.”

The UK team will be based in a WeWork in Birmingham initially and next year will decide on a definite location. 

Investment 

Fulfil was founded by Tom Gannon and Niall McGrath who began selling protein bars in Ireland in 2016. The duo exited the company in 2018 and recently launched healthy eating brand Cali Cali. 

Last summer Fulfil received investment from US multinational The Hershey Company for an undisclosed amount and O’Sullivan said that investment is helping with current growth plans.

Hershey’s became a minority shareholder with the investment, which O’Sullivan said “opens up the possibilities for conversations in the coming years on how they can help us and grow the business into the future”.  

“It’s early days but at least we have this great opportunity which not everyone would have,” he added. 

The company doesn’t want to bite off more than it can chew at the moment, but O’Sullivan said it will continue to work on the Irish market, which has “grown by double digits” in the previous year. 

“We’re now the second biggest single bar brand to Cadbury Dairymilk which is an incredible achievement in such a short space of time,” he said. 

Earlier this month it moved office, to accommodate for it’s growing staff which now stands at 24 employees. 

The company that was based in Park West Business Park in Dublin 12 has moved from one side of the industrial estate to another. 

O’Sullivan said the company may hire one or two people in the coming months, but the space has the capacity for up to 20 more. 

Outside of Ireland and the UK, it will also be focusing on growing in Australia – where it has been selling for the past two years – as well as Belgium and the Netherlands. 

Get our Daily Briefing with the morning’s most important headlines for innovative Irish businesses. 

Written by Laura Roddy and posted on Fora.ie

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