Portadown bakery has the right recipe for export success

Kitchen Bakes managing director Dean McCullough
Kitchen Bakes managing director Dean McCullough

Portadown-based Kitchen Bakes is celebrating 30-years in business with plans to ‘cook up a storm’ with new customers in the Republic of Ireland and further afield.

The wholesale bakery, which specialises in desserts, tray bakes and frozen baked products, is on course to increase sales to Ireland this year by 50%.

The business was originally established by Hal and Gladys McCullough as a high street bakery in Portadown in 1986. The company now employs 25 people, operates out of a 5,000 sq ft facility and produces 650,000 products annually for customers including Musgrave, Hendersons, Costcutters and Nisa.

Three generations of the McCullough family are currently involved in the business and the company is hoping to secure a greater slice of the UK’s £2.3bn bakery export market. In addition to building its presence in Ireland, the firm is also exploring options to tap into the Middle East’s growing appetite for traditional bakery products.

“Building upon successes with independent outlets in the Republic of Ireland, Kitchen Bakes has now secured contracts with larger food service providers,” said MD Dean McCullough.

“By combining traditional values with a commitment to quality Kitchen Bakes has become one of Northern Ireland’s leading wholesale bakeries. We’re confident that winning recipe can be successfully translated to a global market.”

Kitchen Bakes has been working with Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council’s ‘Food Heartland’ initiative and Invest NI to develop its export potential, attending a number of ‘meet the buyer’ events and export masterclasses.

Business development manager Amanda Furphy, said:

“Although the traditional high street bakery has faced difficult times in recent years, the wholesale market has remained strong with demand for traditional products such as caramel squares and Madeira cake all enjoying something of a renaissance.

“We’re very confident about our products, the quality of our raw ingredients and the skills of our local bakers.”

Kitchen Bakes is one of a number of firms being showcased during the year-long Food Heartland campaign which reflects ambitious plans by the Northern Ireland Executive to grow Northern Ireland’s agri-food sales by 60% to £7 billion by 2020.