Nisa Members Defend Food Force Ireland

Nisa Members Defend Food Force Ireland
Jonathan Crawford

Nisa members in Northern Ireland have spoken out after the buying group’s failed takeover of Food Force Ireland (FFI).

Retailers working with Nisa across the country support the current buying model and have expressed their concern about any changes to the current arrangement.

Currently, Nisa stores in Northern Ireland automatically become a member of FFI – a separate limited company that buys from regional suppliers, handles its own promotions and sends members a rebate every 12 months. Any goods from non-regional suppliers are sourced through Nisa.

However, Nisa has taken the view that a unified solution would be better for its members and will help it recruit more retailers. After discussion with FFI about Nisa taking over its role, FFI members unanimously rejected the proposal.

Speaking to Rowan Black of Greens Food Fare, Co Down said: “We are committed to supporting FFI. It is a very successful company owned by its member retailers in Northern Ireland. We support the back bone of local companies by purchasing local supplies from them. No wonder Nisa wants a slice of a successful operation!”

Hunter's, Markethill
Alison Strong and Richard Hunter, Hunter’s Markethill

Jonathan Crawford, Crawford’s, Co Derry~Londonderry (pictured top) added: “Nisa has been a fantastic place to be and given us the confidence to grow knowing we have the national buying power of such a large group. FFI has been equally successful and given us the ability to further develop our local relationships with suppliers without losing control. Letting what is seen as a faceless corporate entity get between my local suppliers and ultimately my consumers would be a mistake.”

Ian Shaw, general manager, Russell’s Shop-4You said: “We firmly believe that in order to secure our company ethos and development, our direct local supplier relationship through FFI must remain. We cannot support any attempt by Nisa to create a detrimental barrier between local suppliers and local retailers.”

Amanda Jones, chief operating officer, Nisa told “We believe that a unified offer will be easier for members and more compelling for potential recruits.”

She added that the Nisa proposal will focus on providing “a wider range of local products, lower costs and greater benefits than are currently available”.