Maghera-based family bakery Genesis Crafty has doubled its cake business and adedd 47 new jobs after securing a multi-million pound expansion of its existing contract with retailer Marks & Spencer.
The new tea range, which comprises eleven new lines, will be distributed in over 800 M&S stores throughout the UK from this month.
The impact of the new business can already be seen in a significant £6 million investment by Genesis Crafty in new equipment and site development over the last 12 months.
An additional benefit is the creation of 47 new jobs, including 10 management positions, for which recruitment is currently underway.
“We have worked with M&S since 2010 when we launched Jam Bakes and Lemon Bakes in their Northern Ireland stores,” said commercial director JP Lyttle.
“Local success of the products led to national distribution and since then we have produced a number of seasonal lines for them.
“The development of this new premium teatime range began in early 2016 and involved significant research across the UK and beyond to find inspiration to create the best pastry, sponge, buttercream and jams.
“Taste trends such as salted caramel combined with new approaches to traditional tarts and cakes have been incorporated in the range, as well as an acknowledgement of customers’ interest in portion control with the smaller treat sizing on offer.”
Georgina Wells, cake buyer with M&S, said: “Our partnership with Genesis Crafty has been characterised by both quality and innovation.
“The company’s commitment to extensive research combined with its unique artisanal approach to production, delivers products which our customers love and we are proud to sell.
We have already had some really positive feedback from customers on these latest additions to our small cake offer and are looking forward to the next two launches in December and early 2018.”
Genesis MD Brian McErlain said: “We are delighted that M&S has continued to work alongside Genesis Crafty to expand its UK customer offer and in turn contribute to major growth in our production capability, facilities and expertise.
There is great synergy between our two companies as we come into our 50th year in business and M&S celebrates 50 years of operating in Northern Ireland.
“We are looking forward to further developing our partnership and to that end will be launching additional M&S ranges for Christmas with further cake lines planned in the spring.
“In support of this growth we are now actively recruiting 47 staff at all levels which is a welcome boost both to Genesis Crafty and to the local economy.”