Kestrel Food’s Founder & MD Michael Hall awarded an MBE in the 2020 Queen’s Birthday Honours List

The prestigious award has been granted for his services to Economic Development in Northern Ireland.

Michael founded Kestrel Foods in 1996, subsequently launching the Forest Feast & ACTI-SNACK brands with his late wife Lorraine. His vision and dedication have undoubtedly built it into one of the UK’s leading snacking businesses, recognised across the world for its premium and innovative ranges.

Over the last 24 years, Kestrel Foods has seen impressive and consistent annual sales growth, continuously adapting to changing markets, and pioneering new products, processes, and technology. Michael’s foresight has led to continued investment in its world class manufacturing facility, which now employs 80 people at its headquarters in Portadown, Co. Armagh. Earlier this year Kestrel Foods announced a further £2.8 million investment in its facilities to extend capability and to keep up with increasing demand.

Michael has driven a strong commitment to ethical trading and sustainable sourcing, dedicating much of his career to working with smallholder farms and organisations like Preda Fairtrade in the Philippines. This ensures fair prices, sustainable environmental practices, local education and empowers indigenous farmers through the sales of dried fruit and nuts.

He is a strong advocate of giving back to the community and over the years has supported numerous charities and sporting organisations. He invests in Future Talent through the Kestrel Careers Programme as well as coaching new business start-ups and sponsoring the Ulster Grocer ‘Young Marketer of the Year’ award.

Michael’s entrepreneurial flair and business kudos has been recognised before. At a young age he was credited by the Prince’s Youth Business Trust, and in 2014 he was a finalist in the EY Entrepreneur of Year Awards. In 2019 Kestrel achieved Platinum status in the Deloitte Best Managed Companies.

Speaking about the award, Michael said: “I’m incredibly honoured to be on the MBE 2020 Queens Birthday List. It is a great privilege to work in such a dynamic industry, and I can credit much of the success to the local workforce who have an unrivalled loyalty, dedication, and work ethic. I’m incredibly proud of building a home-grown business that has cultivated a global consumer base – the award is the ultimate recognition of this.”

For further information & press materials contact: Bronagh Clarke


Local healthy snack brand, Forest Feast, today launched its sponsorship of the ‘Aquasprint Junior Swimming League’ for the 10th consecutive year.


This is a momentous occasion for Forest Feast who has always supported swimming from a grassroots level. It aims to encourage young people to be more active and uphold healthy and nutritious lifestyles by taking an interest in a competitive sport.


The Forest Feast Aquasprint Junior Swimming League will see 1600 young, up and coming swimmers aged between 8 and 12 from 26 clubs compete in five divisions throughout the year, before competing in the finals in June.


The sponsorship was officially launched today at Bangor Aurora Aquatic and Leisure Complex by Forest Feast’s Trade Marketing Manager Deirdre Burns, Linda Stoops from Swim Ulster and Commonwealth athletes, Emma Reid and Conor Ferguson, who both competed in the first ever Aquasprint 10 years ago.


Deirdre Burns, Trade Marketing Manager at Forest Feast, said: “We are extremely proud to be sponsoring Aquasprint for the 10th consecutive year and are really looking forward to seeing what the competition holds for all the swimmers from across the region.


“Swimming has been a core focus for Forest Feast over the last 10 years as we want to encourage families and kids to keep fit and healthy in fun environments. As a healthy snack brand, we endorse a fully balanced diet and active lifestyle. Aquasprint is about empowering young people to believe in themselves and their abilities and we are completely on board with this ethos. Whether you are just dipping your toes in or are interested in competing, swimming is a fun and inclusive way for the whole family to keep active.”


Emma Reid, from Bangor and Conor Ferguson from Larne, started their swimming careers at the first ever Forest Feast Aquasprint Junior Swimming League ten years ago. Since then they have gone on to compete for Northern Ireland the Commonwealth games and hope to inspire other swimmers competing to pursue competitive swimming.


Emma said: “The Forest Feast Aquasprint Junior Swimming League is a fantastic opportunity for young aspiring swimmers to get involved with their local club and kick-start their career. I competed in the first competition 10 years ago and it gave me a space to develop my skills and grow my love for the sport. Since then, I have gone on to win in Swim Ulster, the Irish Championships and have also competed at the Commonwealth games.”


Conor said: “Aquasprint gave me the supportive and encouraging environment that every young swimmer needs to hone their skills. It’s been a delight to grow up through the ranks of this outstanding competition and it’s been encouraging to see the talent that it fosters. Year on year, further outstanding swimmers are identified which goes to prove how having a support system such as Aquasprint in place can achieve great things.”



Linda Stoops from Swim Ulster said: “We are delighted to have Forest Feast on board as title sponsor for the 10th year and we would like to thank all those who have been involved in this journey and we look forward to hopefully many more years to come!

“There are many athletes who go on to represent their countries far and wide at various galas and competitions after competing in Aquasprint which is a wonderful accolade and shows what we’re all about. Having Forest Feast on board helps instil from a young age the importance of healthy snacking throughout competing to boost energy levels which all professional athletes need to be aware of.”


Further details about the Forest Feast Aquasprint Junior Swimming League can be found at



Healthy snack brand, Forest Feast, is gearing up for the upcoming rugby season with the launch of a new range of limited-edition nut mixes – inspired by some of the great rugby nations from around the world.


Believe it or ‘nut’, savoury snacks have always been a staple favourite for sports fans, so Forest Feast has crafted four new, uniquely blended, nut mixes to satisfy these cravings. Each pack is full of bold flavours and will provide the fuel needed to power through a full 80 minutes until the final whistle.


Deirdre Burns, Trade Marketing Manager at Forest Feast said:


“At Forest Feast, we are a team of innovators who are inspired by food and cultures around the world, so our latest range is a ‘throw in’ of all our experiences of travelling the globe. We also know that almost 60% of 25-34 year olds ** want to ‘try’ new and exciting flavours, so our latest product range ‘tackles’ this growing demand and offers a diverse range of flavours to tantalise taste buds.


“So, while you ‘lock-in’ the key dates in the upcoming season into your diary and make plans to watch the matches with friends and family, make sure you ‘mark’ your favourite flavour as this limited range will help you turn it up a ‘nut-ch’ while cheering on your favourite team.”


The carefully curated range, which takes inspiration from flavours found in some of the greatest rugby playing nations, includes:

  • BBQ Haka: Sweet & sticky BBQ cashews and peanuts with crunchy peas, smoky almonds, honey mustard and onion sesame sticks


  • Steak and Stout: Flame-grilled steak flavoured peanuts and cashews with dry roasted peanuts and Irish stout flavoured almonds


  • Cheddar and Onion: Mature cheddar and onion peanuts and cashews with tangy cheese peanuts, cashews, almonds and pumpkin seeds


  • Teriyaki: Sweet and tangy Teriyaki peanuts and almonds with spicy sweet chilli nuts and seeds


Forest Feast, known as the original snack explorers, is a family-run business based in Co. Armagh and in its 23rd year of operation. Forest Feast Limited Edition Nut Mixes come in 180g packs at a cost of £2.50/€3.00 and are available in retailers nationwide from 16th September while stocks last – so hurry, there may be a ‘ruck’-us when stocks run low!

Rory Best Calls on Families to Get One of Their Five a Day and Take on the ‘Forest Feast Super Wild Challenge’

Ireland rugby captain and father of three, Rory Best, is calling on families across Ireland to take on the ‘Forest Feast Super Wild Challenge’ – encouraging kids to get one of their five a day and to see the world through wide eyes, and not wide screens, by getting outside and getting active.


The ‘Forest Feast Super Wild Challenge’ is a series of 10 activities which have been created by Rory and his family, in partnership with local healthy snack brand, Forest Feast, to celebrate the launch of the company’s first-ever kids’ range, ‘Super Fruit Shapes’.


 ‘Super Fruit Shapes’ are real fruit that has been smashed and slow baked into delicious fun shapes, the perfect on-the-go snack. The range was created for kids who want something fun and tasty and for parents who want to give their children healthy snacks that fuel their active lifestyles and outdoor adventures.


 Speaking about his role as Forest Feast ‘Super Fruit Shapes’ ambassador, Rory Best said: “As a father of three children under the age of nine, I know how important it is to be able to provide my kids with healthy snacks to give them the energy they need to get the most out of life so I’m thrilled to be partnering with Forest Feast to help launch this exciting new range, ‘Super Fruit Shapes’.


“To mark the launch, we’re encouraging everyone – from families and friends to the young and the young at heart – to get up, get out and get active and to take on the ‘Forest Feast Super Wild Challenge’. We had great fun creating the list of challenges and many of the activities are ones that we enjoy at home. We hope the challenges help you and your loved ones find the fun in being active outside in the fresh air.”


The ‘Forest Feast Super Wild Challenge’* includes:

  1. Play Tug-of-War
  2. Walk in the wild
  3. Play tag rugby
  4. Cycle a bike
  5. Build a den
  6. Make an obstacle course
  7. Build a rope-swing
  8. Complete a relay race
  9. Play ultimate frisbee
  10. Climb a tree


Forest Feast Marketing Director, Bronagh Clarke, commented: “As a brand, we know that many kids struggle to get their five-a-day so we wanted to create an all-natural healthy snack that kids will enjoy and want to eat. We also wanted to provide kids with fuel they need to have the energy to enjoy playing with family and friends and to go wild outside.


“Like other fruit, a portion counts as one of your five a day, as well as being high in fibre and Vitamin C. They have no added sugar, are vegan, and are free from nuts, dairy, wheat, gluten so they are also perfect for lunchboxes.”


Bronagh concluded: “We’re delighted to launch ‘Super Fruit Shapes’ and to have Rory and his family on board and had great fun creating the ‘Forest Feast Super Wild Challenge’ with them. Research** shows that 45% of people think that it is more difficult for parents today to encourage their children to be physically active so hopefully taking on some of the challenges will help with this.


“The list of challenges is available to download on our website . We’re looking forward to hearing how everyone gets on and hope they get to enjoy everything the great outdoors has to offer at the same time!”



Forest Feast ‘Super Fruit Shapes’ come in three flavours, ‘Strawberry’, ‘Wildberry’ and ‘Tropical Mix’, in a convenient 30g single pack . There is also a 100g sharepack called ‘Fruit Salad’ – filled with all three mouth-watering flavours.


In its 23rd year of operation, Forest Feast, the ‘Original Snack Explorers’, is a family-run business based in Co. Armagh. Forest Feast’s ‘Super Fruit Shapes’ are now available nationwide. For more information visit


*All challenges must be completed under the supervision of an adult.



Healthy snack brand, Forest Feast, has today announced the launch of a new specially crafted range of Trail Mixes, to meet growing consumer demand for healthy products that provide a burst of energy to help get the most from life.


With 40% of people* looking to find a snack that is both healthy and full of flavour, Forest Feast’s new range addresses this gap, offering an alternative wholesome snack that doesn’t compromise on taste, which will be welcome news for consumers. The innovative range, inspired by the wild American outdoors, is also a source of protein, providing the fuel needed to power life’s adventures.


Speaking about the launch, Bronagh Clarke, Marketing Director at Forest Feast, said: “Innovation is at the heart of our business and we’re delighted to launch this new range. As a team of outdoor enthusiasts who love to snack, we were inspired to create a range of Trail Mixes that are delicious, nutritious and give you an energy boost.


“Packed with protein, our Trail Mixes provide you with the fuel to take on all of life’s adventures – on or off the trails. So, whether that adventure takes you out in your local forest park, up a mountain or out onto the ocean, we have a delicious flavour combination that will take you on a taste discovery.”


Launching with three bold flavours, two sweet and one savoury, Forest Feast’s Trail Mixes are a source of protein and perfect for those with an active lifestyle who want a healthy snack to keep hunger at bay while on the go.


  • The ‘Classic American Trail Mix’ is a combination of honey sesame and roasted and salted peanuts with roasted almonds, milk chocolate beans, dried cranberries and raisins.


  • The ‘Mochaccino Trail Mix’ is perfect for coffee lovers with a mix of coffee vanilla cashews, dark chocolate espresso peanuts, roasted peanuts, dark chocolate coffee beans and white chocolate cranberries.


  • Finally, the ‘Buffalo Ranch Trail Mix’ is a fusion of spicy buffalo cashews, spicy buffalo peanuts, dry roasted peanuts and BBQ peanuts.


Forest Feast, the ‘original snack explorers’, is a family-run business in its 23rd year of operation. Forest Feast’s Trail Mixes are available in 45g snack packs retailing at £1.00 and are now available on shelves nationwide.



A feast of local golfing talent on show at Lisburn Ladies Open

Just in time for the Irish Open, golf fever kicked in at Lisburn Golf Club with the 9th annual Forest Feast Lisburn Ladies’ Open.

Competitors from across Northern Ireland gathered to try their hand at the 18-hole course and take home the coveted gong on the 7th June. Dungannon’s Sarah Rafferty was named the 2018 champion with Dympna Fitzpatrick also from Dungannon taking the runner-up’s award home.

Well done to all that took part and we look forward to 2019!

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Cool in the Pool

Cool FM’s Curtis McCosh took a dip with two Commonwealth swimmers this week in partnership with local snack brand, Forest Feast.


Team NI swimmers, Jordan Sloan and David Thompson, put the DJ through his paces during a special media day held at Aurora Swimming Pool, Bangor; part of the brand’s latest campaign #nutsaboutswimming, where he was given tips on how to perfect his stroke along with other faces from the NI media and blogger scene.


The campaign is based on the insight that one in three 11 year olds leave school unable to swim, has been launched to educate NI families on the importance of swimming as part of an active lifestyle for children and includes an on-pack promotion offering the chance to win courses of swimming lessons.


The #nutsaboutswimming campaign is all about encouraging people to incorporate swimming into part of a healthy lifestyle. Forest Feast has sponsored the AquaSprint Junior League for a number of years and has a long-standing affiliation with the sport, locally. With the support of Swim Ulster, we wanted to encourage some of NI’s most well-known faces and media folk into the water – it’s never too late to build confidence and who better to do it than our fantastic Commonwealth swimmers.

Forest Feast dives in with AquaSprint

Forest Feast continues to support local swimming talent as lead sponsor of AquaSprint League.


The announcement comes as two former AquaSprint participants take their positions on Team NI in this year’s Commonwealth Games. Jordan Sloan from Bangor Swim Club and Danielle Hill, Larne Swim Club, began their swimming careers with AquaSprint, formerly Teltots, signalling the League’s important role in helping to grow and nurture home-grown talent.


Jordan Sloan said that ‘From a young age, being part of the League allowed me to foster my love of swimming and to hone my talent, leading me to compete for GB in the Commonwealth. It’s great to see AquaSprint going from strength to strength; somewhere for young aspiring swimmers to compete, train and benefit from coaching, support and camaraderie.” 


The League involves 25 clubs across Ulster, with the aim of supporting local swimming talent and promoting healthy lifestyles across the province.


Forest Feast are thrilled once again to be the sponsor of AquaSprint. We are passionate about supporting Northern Ireland’s young swimmers in their sporting careers all the while encouraging a healthy lifestyle. It is wonderful to see familiar faces, Jordan and Danielle now competing in the Commonwealth Games.


Find out more about the AquaSprint Junior Swimming League by clicking here.

Fr Shay Cullen receives 2017 Martin Buber Award

On  17th November 2017  in Kerkrade, the Netherlands  Irish Columban missionary, Fr. Shay Cullen recieved the 2017 Martin Buber Plaque Award in recognition of his internationally acclaimed work on human rights undertaken through the PREDA Foundation which he established in the Philippines in 1974. He was presented with the award  during the annual International Festival of Dialogue – EURIADE.


Professor Martin Buber was a Jewish philosopher who advocated peaceful dialogue, mutual recognition of human rights and dignity, and a united Jewish and Arab Palestine. He became well known internationally for his ‘dialogical principle’.He died in 1965, and the prestigious award in his memory was initiated in 2002 with German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher as the inaugural recipient. Since then, recipients have included Queen Silvia of Sweden, President Klaus Johannis of Romania, Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, Prince Irene of the Netherlands, and Karl-Heinz Böhm, founder of the Austrian Menschen für Menschen Foundation for Ethiopia.


Fr Shay has received numerous international awards that recognise his work in human rights. His recent proposal to restrict the passports of paedophiles to curtail their travel to the sex tourism trade in the Philippines and other Asian countries has received widespread attention internationally.


For more information on Father Shay’s work and the work of Preda, visit


Wear it Pink Day!

We were delighted to raise a total of £579.00 for the Charity Breast Cancer now on our ‘Wear it Pink’ day on Friday 18th of October. It was amazing to see everyone enter into the spirit of the day.


The staff here at Forest Feast proudly supported #WearItPink Day on Friday 18th October by dressing head to toe in pink, baking treats for Forest Feast’s ‘Great Pink Bake Off!’ and raising money for a cause very close to our hearts – Breast Cancer Now. We were delighted to raise a total of £579.00.


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