Lidl selects 11 new local suppliers to hit shelves

Connor Morgan of Oh So Lean with Tara Mullan, Refuge Hot Chocolate, Lidl deputy store manager Rebecca O'Neill and Joel Kerr, Curious Farmer
Connor Morgan of Oh So Lean with Tara Mullan, Refuge Hot Chocolate, Lidl deputy store manager Rebecca O'Neill and Joel Kerr, Curious Farmer

An initiative from Lidl will see local producers get a unique shot at boosting sales as 11 from across the province have been selected to take part in the firm’s Kick Start Supplier Development programme.

With a wide range of products, the chosen suppliers will see them on sale in all 195 Lidl stores throughout Ireland and Northern Ireland from September 17 for a limited period while stocks last.

Earlier this year Lidl called on small and medium-sized Northern Ireland suppliers to enter the Kick Start programme designed to help artisan businesses to grow their brand and build their supply network.

Beating off competition from over 200 entrants, a total of 20 new and exciting products have been selected including bacon jam from Enniskillen, Rhuberry gin from Saintfield, chilli beef craft peanuts from Newtownards, premium pesto from Ballymena and pulled pork from Newry.

East Belfast based Refuge Hot Chocolate will see its product go on sale in all Lidl stores across Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Founder, Tara Mullan, was inspired to create her product after sampling a similar drink while skiing in Andora.

Refuge was established as a social enterprise to help support survivors of human trafficking.

“For our product to be recognised by one of Europe’s leading retailers is an incredible endorsement,” Tara said.

“Having our products on Lidl shelves this month will bring a whole new level of exposure to Refuge, taking us from a regional to a national level.

“We aim to use ethically sourced eco products while raising awareness of important issues through our support of the anti-trafficking charity, Flourish.”

Liam Casey, commercial director at Lidl Ireland and Northern Ireland said the initiative represented an investment of almost £180,000.

“This is Kick Start’s Northern Ireland debut, and as a committed local sourcing champion with ambitions to grow our current supplier base, we were very encouraged by the vision, skill and commitment of the producers who applied.

“A total 86 products have been selected from across the island and more than a quarter were from Northern Ireland which is fantastic to see.”