Belfast Telegraph

Bakery in the dough after deal with luxury US chain

By Heather McGarrigle

A Co Londonderry bakery has won its second new export deal in five months.

Ditty's Bakery in Castledawson has won a listing from Dean -amp; DeLuca, a US gourmet and speciality food retailer.

It follows the announcement in December of the bakery's first Middle Eastern contract - supplying shortbread to an importer in Dubai.

Three of the producer's products will feature in the American catalogue: the Irish oatcake, celery and pepper oatcake and oatmeal biscuit.

Enterprise minister Arlene Foster said: "Ditty's is now a tremendous role model for other small and medium-sized food enterprises of what can be achieved through a dedication to excellence and to the exploitation of new business opportunities.

"Encouraging and assisting companies to develop the new opportunities that are now developing strongly in key markets in the US, Europe, China and the Middle East is at the heart of the Executive's economic strategy over the next four years."

Artisan baker Robert Ditty said: "Winning a listing from Dean -amp; DeLuca is a first step for us with this influential retailer. We will be endeavouring to build on this by developing our relationship with the business with a view to building sales and gaining listings for further products.

"The awards that we've won recently - and the support that we've enjoyed from organisers of major events such as last year's gala banquet in Dublin for the Queen's visit- have helped to raise the profile of our product portfolio.

"The listing in the US is also an extremely encouraging development of our strategy to grow business outside Northern Ireland."

Established in 1963, Ditty's employs around 70 people at its operations in Castledawson and Magherafelt. The company sells throughout the UK and Republic of Ireland and has also won export business in New Zealand.

Dean -amp; DeLuca was founded in 1977 in New York and is now a multi-channel retailer of gourmet and speciality foods, premium wines and kitchenware with operations throughout the US and abroad.

The company sells through its 14 stores and cafes in US cities and also operates a consumer and corporate gift catalogue and retail website.

The company also markets its private label products to other retailers and wholesalers throughout the world.


The year that Ditty's Bakery first opened for business