All sweets made by the company are manufactured by Wm. McKinney & Sons Ltd.
The business began as a wholesale and retail outlet on the Port Road in the town. The McKinney family began to make their own sweets and in August 1927. The first sweets were made on the open coke fire in a shed at the back of the shop. The land on which the factory now stands was purchased in November 1929, the first sod was cut in February 1930. Six people were employed at the time.
The company at the time was known as Mayfield Confectionery but the name was quickly changed as another company in Manchester traded by this name. The company name was changed to Oatfield. The land on which the factory is built was known as Oatfield. The May was dropped and Oat was substituted and hence the name “Oatfield”. The weekly production of confectionery was about 3 tons. Today the company produces approximately 65 tons a week.
Sugar was purchased in the 1930's from Tate & Lyle. Glucose came from Manchester. They were delivered by ship and rail via Derry to Letterkenny railway station. Later, glucose was shipped from Holland to the Letterkenny Port. Today, only Irish sugar and Irish glucose are used. Butter has always been Irish Creamery Butter.
By 1960 Oatfield decided to stop marketing packed sweets made by Cadburys, Rowntree, Urney's Chocolates, Bassetts Licorice Allsorts, Jacobs Biscuits, William and Wood, Ritchies Mints and Milroy Confectionery. The company now began to focus on entirely selling Oatfield sweets. This was a major decision and proved a major success for the company.
Exporting began in 1964. The first sweets were exported to Northern Ireland. The sweets are exported on a world-wide scale which includes countries as far away as the United States,Canada, Hong Kong, Australia, Kuwait, Greece and France to name a few.
Today, the factory employs approx 95 people and up to 65 tonnes of sugar and chocolate confectionery are produced each week. The main production lines are Emerald, Toffees, Eclairs, Boiled sweets. The biggest sellers are Emerald, Colleen Assortment and Orange Chocolate. The factory experiences a constant demand for its products especially at Christmas.
Since 1999 Oatfield sweets is owned by Donegal Creameries PLC.