A SMALL initiative by Irwin's Bakery has been a big success for the local company.
One year after the Belfast-based firm launched smaller size loaves to the Northern Ireland market it is in the dough.
Such was the demand for the half-loaves that following the initial launch of the small Nutty Krust brand, the 400g Sandwich and Hi-Fibre loaves were rolled out in April.
The 'small' move has generated 1.5 million in loaves sales and produced an additional £1m in completely new revenue. In addition, the launch in April of the 400g Sandwich and Hi-Fibre pans together with the introduction of the Irwin's Softee, have also led to a 26% growth in the company's overall sales in those six months.
"This is a unique time for the bakery sector with a number of factors influencing bread buying and creating particular demand for smaller loaves," said Michael Murphy, commercial controller for Irwin's Bakery.
"More choice, shrinking household size, greater concern about food wastage and the recession itself are changing how we eat. More than ever, consumers want foods that are simple, value for money but still nutritious and versatile.
"Bread fits the bill, so shoppers are buying more of it and in greater variety, shape and size with the result that bread consumption is now at its highest since the early '70s."
He added: "It's also a product innovation that is helping us grow our revenue - bringing smaller households back to bread and also providing an effective 'trial size' for completely new customers locally and in our target Great Britain and Republic export markets."