Soda farls, potato bread and wheaten will soon be on shelves in the Gulf states after Portadown bakery Irwin’s landed a major contract.
Irwin’s, with the help of Invest Northern Ireland, have secured a deal to supply their Rankin Selection range to LuLu Group in Abu Dhabi, one of the biggest retailers in the Gulf states.
As well as the breads, the company is also providing Jammy Joey and Snowy Joey cakes from its Howell’s Handmade subsidiary.
The contract, worth an initial six-figure amount, was announced by Brendan Lappin, Irwin’s business development manager, and welcomed by Dr Vicky Kell, Invest NI trade director, during a visit to the company at Carn Business Park.
The local produce will be on sale in an initial eight LuLu supermarkets within 24 hours of leaving the bakery in Portadown - a logistics operation involving a distributor in Liverpool.
“The supermarket asked us if we could provide the bread as fresh as possible and we’ve been able to meet the challenge,” said Mr Lappin.
“Initially all the bread and cakes will be available in eight stores but these outlets are strategically placed close to LuLu Group headquarters in Abu Dhabi.
“Our aim is to build the business steadily and to widen the customer base beyond the ex-pat community.
Dr Kell said, “LuLu set Irwin’s quite a test in terms of delivery of the products, which this very professional and progressive company has achieved.”
Mr Lappin said the Gulf was a market they had been targeting for some time and was the result of ongoing discussions over the past 18 months, which followed meetings with LuLu in Northern Ireland.
He added, “Hosting visits to Northern Ireland from key procurement managers from supermarkets, such as LuLu, is proving to be a very successful initiative for companies such as Irwin’s, which are keen to grow sales outside Northern.”