Belfast Telegraph

Hamper deal is sweet success for fudge firm

By Margaret Canning

A fudge business founded by three sisters has won a new contract with an upmarket homeware retailer.

Blackthorn Foods said its Melting Pot fudge will now sweeten up hampers put together by Lakeland, a mainly mail order business which also has a few bricks and mortar stores, including one on Belfast's Boucher Road. While announcing the deal, which is for an undisclosed sum, Blackthorn also revealed it would be more than tripling production capacity, including investing in the latest vacuum packaging machinery, to meet demand for products.

Jenny Lowry, who co-founded the business in 2004 with sisters Dorothy Bittles and Cathy Johnson, said its fudge fondue had proved to be "a very important diversification" since its launch last year.

"This success has encouraged us to explore other market opportunities for our expertise in fudge-based products.

"Our business has been growing year-on-year since 2004 and is being driven by sales in Great Britain, the Republic of Ireland and the US.

"As a result of our sharp focus on these markets, we now sell 98% of our fudge and fondues outside Northern Ireland.

"The Lakeland contract is a marvellous boost for the business because it gives us a springboard for growth with a leading UK retailer."

Its products are sold in National Trust shops, Tesco-owned garden centre Dobbies and the Irish grocery chain Superquinn.