Northern Ireland bakery Irwin's has increased its business with supermarket giant Asda, it has been revealed.
The Portadown-based company is to supply 200 of the multiple's stores in Britain with five products from its selection of Irish breads endorsed by celebrity Ulster chef Paul Rankin.
The deal is worth around £400,000 per annum to Irwin's, which already earns millions each year from existing contracts with Asda.
"At some 750,000 additional product units per year, this is an enormous boost to our GB business and we are delighted that our partnership with Asda is going from strength to strength," said Chris Moore, Irwin's national account manager.
The Portadown company also revealed its business in Britain is extending beyond the retail sector into the food services arena following a contract win worth up to £250,000 annually with leading Irish pub chain O'Neill's.
Mr Moore further pointed out: "Winning new business at this scale with Asda is a clear indicator that we are not just growing our own share of the Irish breads market but that we are in fact developing the category itself.
"This is apparent from the fact that when we launched our Rankin Selection into GB in 2002, Irish breads had low volume and visibility on supermarket shelves.
"Now they command a distinct and growing share of the specialist breads category. Overall, we would say that the Irish breads market has grown by over 200% in the last three years and Irwin's' breads, both under the Rankin Selection and Irwin's brands, now account for 85% of this."
Meanwhile, German retailer Lidl, which has 36 stores in the province, has issued a statement saying that it is growing its list of Northern Ireland suppliers. The list includes Irwin's.
The discount food store operator's fresh food manager in the province, Martin McGlone, who is based at its distribution centre in Nutts Corner, said: "At Lidl we pride ourselves on our ability to provide excellent quality, fresh local produce at extremely competitive prices.
"We have worked to build great relationships with local businesses that can provide us with the very best produce.
"Shoppers today are increasingly discerning and supportive of local businesses. By ensuring, where possible, that fresh produce is sourced locally, we are listening to our shoppers and alleviating their concerns about high 'food miles'."