Belfast Telegraph

Award-winning baker makes short work of export deal to Middle East

A Co Londonderry bakery will send shortbread to Dubai after winning its first export deal to the Middle East.

Castledawson's Ditty's, run by Robert Ditty, the Baking Industry Awards' UK Baker of the Year 2011, won the new contract with importer Pan Euro Foods MENA.

The deal followed an approach from Pan Euro, which was seeking a shortbread supplier for the substantial UK and Irish ex-pat community in the Emirates.

Michael Palframan, marketing manager at Ditty's, said: "Pan Euro Foods MENA is now well established as importers and distributors of the finest Irish and European foodstuffs into the Middle East and North Africa region and has the network of contacts to drive sales of our products there.

"We look forward to working closely with the company to help increase sales of our award- winning shortbread and to adding further products."

Dr Vicky Kell, Invest NI's trade director, congratulated the company and said the deal was "another excellent example of quality products from Northern Ireland which can win business in even the most competitive markets".

She added: "The company has grasped an important opportunity in the Emirates and is now positioned for further growth in this quality-conscious and immensely significant marketplace.

"Ditty's has also used its proactive approach to develop opportunities in Hong Kong and China."

The Ditty family has owned the firm since 1963, employing 70 at its home bakeries in Castledawson and Magherafelt.

Popular