Belfast Telegraph

Gourmet hamper firm to expand

Local hamper company Irish Gourmet is bracing itself for another hectic December as it prepares to send out thousands of Christmas Hampers.

By placing particular emphasis on the quality of the food, which was long regarded as the poorer relation within a traditional Christmas Hamper, the company has managed to grow sales every year since 2002 from its base in Bangor, County Down.

The sound of the Christmas music has been reverberating around the warehouse since early November to get everyone in the mood for hamper assembly. The tunes may be starting to get a little stale – but the same can’t be said for the contents of the hampers! The freshly baked mince pies, cakes & buns arrive on a daily basis from several of the provinces leading bakeries, the cheese is being cut in Fivemiletown and the Causeway Coast, and we’re still waiting on the salmon to finish being smoked. We stagger production to ensure our customers receive the freshest hampers in the UK and Ireland.

The most important part of the Irish Gourmet are its staff and its suppliers. Without it, the company would not exist. Most of the suppliers are from Northern Ireland. In some cases suppliers will begin to work on the Irish Gourmet’s order from January. The company begins its search for products in Northern Ireland, then extends the parameters beyond the border into Ireland.

The staff members recognise that it is a busy time for the company and so are prepared to work longer hours and work weekend shifts at Christmas time. There is no dramatic increase in seasonal workers. Regular staff simply work longer hours or respond to spikes in demand.

The Irish Gourmet is the luxury food division of . It represents a very important part of the business – However, the company originally started off as a gift basket business providing personalised gifts for Northern Ireland. Today the company competes with the large Scottish and English hamper companies for international business throughout Britain, Ireland and Europe.

The company aims to be the best hamper provider in Europe, using mostly Northern Irish food products. In the process it is creating an export market for local food produce on the national and international level, a fact recognised at the 2010 business awards when it won best small business in Export Growth.

Belfast Telegraph

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