Positive feedback from customers and an increased demand from shop owners has led to an expanded supply by McErlain’s of quality baked goods to over 200 supermarkets here. In step with increased productivity and sales over the last 12 months, which have been dominated by the coronavirus pandemic, McErlain’s has recruited 15 new staff members with further plans to hire an additional 10 employees by May 2022.
The new premium products from the market-focused and innovation-led family bakery are a response to customers and suppliers in the company’s ongoing research into the views of regular customers and from its extensive network of quality focused suppliers.
High quality ingredients and years of baking expertise have gone into the mix to provide an exciting new offering to join the well-known anchor products of firm’s family favourites. Feedback and on both products has been extremely positive. They reflect the latest baking trends and the views of younger consumers in particular.
The traybake flavours include Belgian chocolate tiffin, cookie dough salted millionaire and biscoff rocky road whilst a twist on old classics such as caramel slices, raspberry ruffle and fifteens create the perfect assortment to suit all tastes. Cupcake treats offer chocolate, vanilla and strawberry sponge with whipped frosting topped with eye-catching decorations and come in handy four packs to comprise a range for all ages.
Throughout the generations and accompanying transformations, the McErlain brothers insist that two things remain unchanged: the bakery’s reputation for quality and taste.
John McErlain, who heads up innovation and product development, says: “By marrying the same traditional handcrafted techniques for which we are well-known with new and exciting recipes and collaborations we hope to expand our customer base.
“With an increase in production capacity and added investment this is an immensely exciting new chapter for everyone associated with McErlain’s Bakery.”
In May 2021, McErlain’s Bakery, assisted by Invest Northern Ireland, moved to a new purpose-built bakery at Creagh Business Park in Toomebridge, near Magherafelt, Co Derry, following a £1.5 million investment.
While the new 12,000 sq ft ultra-modern facility is ideally located and allows the well-known, multi-generational brand to stay close to its Mid Ulster origins, improved logistics also enable quick and efficient daily wholesale deliveries to an increasing range of supermarkets across Northern Ireland.
The expansion marks a hugely significant new chapter for the baking brothers whose name has been synonymous with high quality home baked bread, cakes and pastries for three generations.
Building upon the legacy established in 1968 by their parents, the three McErlain brothers - master bakers John and Seamus and sales manager Paul, alongside John’s son Peter - have kept it in the family and are future-proofing McErlain’s Bakery with a new expansion and firm platform for growth in both short and long terms.
Renowned for family favourites like the artisan Northern Irish wheaten loaves, using a special flour mix passed down from their parents, and hand chaffed soda farls crafted using the traditional method, the new high specification facilities allow the craft bakery to retain its daily production of traditional home bakery methods whilst creating room for exciting new products in line with market trends.
The new premises also feature improved logistics enabling quick and efficient daily wholesale deliveries to an ever- increasing range of supermarkets and other customers across Northern Ireland and further afield.
Based in South Derry, the McErlain family has a 50-year heritage in successful craft baking. The name is synonymous with quality baked goods throughout Northern Ireland, into the Republic of Ireland and Great Britain.
The family has vast experience in supplying delicious and quality products to the likes of Marks and Spencer, Waitrose and Tesco supermarkets. The original family business was established by the brother’s parents in 1968 and subsequently grew into one of Northern Ireland’s most successful and widely respected craft bakers.
The local family’s achievements have contributed substantially to Northern Ireland’s longstanding reputation in Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland as a source of superb breads and cakes including popular traybakes.
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