Belfast Telegraph

Bakery rises to the top with new Morrisons deal

By Symon Ross

Northern Ireland bakery Irwin’s is looking to batter the competition in Great Britain after signing a deal to supply 400 Morrisons supermarkets with pancakes.

The Portadown-based family-owned business said the contract to supply its Rankin Selection Traditional Irish Pancakes will be worth £250,000 a year.

Morrisons is the fourth largest supermarket chain in Great Britain, but has benefited from the economic downturn as new customers are attracted by its prices.

The most recent data from industry researcher Kantar Worldpanel, showed the chain’s market share had jumped from 11.8% to 12.5% in January.

Irwin’s currently supplies Morrison’s with several Irish breads including fruit loaf and soda farls, one of the products in its Irwin’s Rankin Selection tie up with celebrity chef Paul Rankin.

The bakery company, which has existed for more than 100 years and now employs around 450 people, said that its latest contract win demonstrates that there is demand for traditional Irish breads among customers in Great Britain.

It said the sales of Irish breads had risen 200% since being launched in other parts of the UK in 2002, with Irwin’s bread accounting for 85% of this. In 2007 its Rankin Selection achieved sales of £16m.

Michael Murphy, commercial controller of Irwin’s Bakery, said: “Winning new business contracts of this scale are a clear sign that we are continuing to grow our share of the Irish breads market in GB. Having established credentials for producing innovative and superior quality products, we continue to drive consumer need for this speciality category. In 2002 when we launched the Rankin Selection Irish bread range in the UK, this sector was virtually unheard of.

“Since then we have been successfully building our share of the market, whilst flying the flag for traditional Irish breads and morning goods.

He added: “We are delighted to extend our existing business partnership with Morrisons, securing listings of Rankin Selection pancakes in 400 stores, and we welcome further opportunities to consolidate the strength of our relationship.”

Belfast Telegraph