A MAJOR export deal for Kettyle Irish Foods could be worth up to £1.2 million in the coming year for the Lisnaskea-based meat processor.
The contract will see the business supply sustainably produced Fermanagh bacon to one of Europe’s top retailers, Albert Heijn, which operates supermarkets throughout The Netherlands.
Based at Manderwood Business Park, Kettyle Irish Foods specialises in dry-aging techniques and has been assisted to expand its European markets, grow its business and develop skills through a series of Invest NI programmes.
“We’ve been operating in this influential European market for many years and this has enabled us to keep abreast of trends there,” said Maurice Kettyle.
“Our parent company, Linden Foods in Dungannon, has been supplying beef to Albert Heijn for many years and is also conscious of the move towards greater evidence of sustainability that includes good standards of animal welfare.
“We were asked by the retailer if we could supply them with sustainably produced bacon from outdoor bred pigs, which we have been able to do. We decided to offer them a unique Fermanagh bacon from outdoor pigs that also features a distinctively different curing process using seaweed that’s readily available around our shores.
“The buyers there loved our samples and placed a contract with us that could be worth around £1.2m over the next 12 months. It’s an extremely exciting development that gives us an important platform for further growth with the chain in The Netherlands and will encourage us to explore opportunities in other European markets,” he added.
The company has won a series of industry awards including, most recently, three gold stars in the UK Great Taste Awards for its dry-aged bone marrow butter as well as for its steak and bacon.
“What’s also extremely significant about this contract is its inclusion within Albert Heijn’s prestigious ‘Excellence’ food range, which focuses on products produced using sustainable farming and processing techniques,” said Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster.
“Kettyle Irish Food has been quick to recognise a developing market trend in The Netherlands for foods which combine taste and sustainability.
“Other leading retailers in Europe are also starting to insist that suppliers show solid evidence of a commitment to sustainability. It’s a trend which could have a profound impact on the food businesses here and indeed throughout Europe.”