Belfast Telegraph

Chutney chef looks for a supermarket sweep

By Clare Weir

A Co Londonderry man who started making chutney in his kitchen as a hobby is relishing a move into major supermarkets.

Anahorish Preserves, based near Magherafelt, was formed in November 2009 by Malachy Gribbin.

The firm has used an Invest NI Innovation Voucher to create 16 new chutney and relish recipes.

Several products, developed with technical advice and from the College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise, are already on the shelves of leading retailers.

The company plans to add jams and basting sauce to its portfolio of artisan foods and it already has an opportunity to supply a substantial quantity of homemade jams to a leading local supermarket and is currently exploring export potential.

Mr Gribbin, who has extensive experience in rural economic development, said that assistance from Invest NI allowed him to turn a lifelong interest in food products into a small business.

"My ambition is to develop a wide-ranging portfolio of artisan products that could include farmhouse cheese and ice cream from local dairy farms," he said.

"I had been making chutney as a hobby for many years and giving the products to friends, one of whom suggested that I should consider producing it on a regular basis.

"This led me to sign up for the Exploring Enterprise programme and then the Go for It programme. Both were extremely beneficial and helped me plot a course for the start up business.

"I was also encouraged to push ahead with the idea by local businessmen including Robert Ditty of Ditty's award winning bakery in Castledawson and Paul Stewart, the managing director of JC Stewart's supermarket in Magherafelt."

"Approximately 50 recipes were prepared and following maturing and taste testing 16 new recipes have been selected to be introduced to the market over the next year."