Posted on Tuesday 22 July 2014 by Ulster Business

manna from portadown irwins seals middle east deal

Brendan Lappin, Irwin’s Bakery Business Development Manager, with Dr Vicky Kell, Invest NI Trade Director.

A Portadown bakery has sealed a deal to supply soda farls and potato bread to the Middle East.

Irwins Bakery said it has signed a “six-figure” contract with LuLu Group in Abu Dhabi, one of the biggest retailers in the Persian Gulf, to supply the iconic Northern Ireland products under its Rankin Selection banner.

Brendan Lappin, Irwin’s Bakery Business Development Manager, said it had been in discussion with LuLu over the past 18 months, thanks to introductions arranged by Invest NI and has committed to delivering the breads to its new customer within 24 hours after leaving the Portadown bakery.

“The Rankin Selection range will be on sale in an initial eight LuLu supermarkets within 24 hours of leaving the bakery in Portadown - a significant logistics operation involving a distributor in Liverpool,” he said. “The supermarket asked us if we could provide the bread as fresh as possible and we’ve been able to meet the challenge.”

As well as the Rankin Selection, which also includes wheaten bread, it will supply Jammy Joey and Snowy Joey cakes from its Howell’s Handmade subsidiary.

The bread and cakes will initially be available in eight LuLu stores but Mr Lappin said the aim is to build the business steadily and to widen the customer base beyond the ex-pat community.

Dr Vicky Kell, Invest NI Trade Director, said the deal is testament to Irwin’s export ability.

“LuLu set Irwin’s quite a test in terms of delivery of the products, which this very professional and progressive company has achieved. It’s great to know that the traditional breads which we tend to take for granted here are now being enjoyed in the Gulf, set apart by their outstanding flavours and serving versatility.”

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