Lidl Northern Ireland has ploughed a record £300,000 into the Mid and East Antrim Borough Council agri-food sector in the last financial year ending February 2023, according to its annual Supplier Impact Report.
Lidl Northern Ireland employs around 65 people across four stores in the area including Larne, Ballymena and Carrickfergus.
This contributes to a combined investment of £455 million worth of goods from the local agri-food industry last year (FY22/23) across Northern Ireland, representing an increase of more than 30% from £347 million in FY21/22.
Furthermore, the report also found that of the £455 million, £390 million worth of goods were exported globally through Lidl’s expansive international store network, showcasing the best of Northern Ireland produce across thousands of Lidl stores in Great Britain and Ireland and as far as Romania, Greece and Cyprus.
This year’s report once again highlights the retailer’s significant economic contribution to the agri-food industry and underscores its longstanding commitment to sourcing produce locally. The investment figures were revealed as Lidl Northern Ireland tees up to celebrate 25 years in the region next year, marking the opening of its first store in Cookstown in 1999.
From Willowbrook’s fresh salads and Hellbent’s distinctive spicy sausages, both proudly made in Newtownards, to tasty baked treats from Holmes Bakery in Portadown and mouth-watering ice cream from Dale Farm in Belfast, Cookstown and Kilrea, Lidl shoppers across the globe are being offered an increasingly expansive line of authentic local produce from Northern Ireland.
Alongside its established supplier network, Lidl Northern Ireland is also already committed to backing home-grown businesses to realise their potential through its industry-leading Kickstart Supplier Development Programme.
The programme supports SMEs with training and mentoring in areas such as quality control, packaging, marketing, public relations and other important aspects of business development, as well as selling those businesses’ products on the shelves of Lidl’s stores across the island.
Now in its sixth year, the retailer has invested more than €8 million in growing more than 400 small and medium sized suppliers across the island of Ireland through the Kickstart initiative.
Ivan Ryan, Regional Managing Director, Lidl Northern Ireland said:
“As the region’s fastest-growing supermarket retailer, I’m very proud of the positive contribution Lidl Northern Ireland continues to make to the local food and drink industry, thanks to our longstanding supplier partnerships and initiatives like our Kickstart Supplier Development Programme.
“Our Supplier Impact Report demonstrates just how significant those schemes are in supporting an entire network of local producers to grow, develop, and enjoy success - not just locally in Northern Ireland but also across Europe and beyond through our global Lidl store network.
“As we look ahead to our ‘silver’ anniversary next year - marking 25 years of Lidl Northern Ireland – we look forward to investing further in our local supplier network and to bringing even more great quality, locally sourced produce at great value to the customers in our ever-growing network of stores across the region.”
J.P. Scally, Chief Executive Officer of Lidl Ireland and Lidl Northern Ireland, said:
“Growing our local supplier network has always been a priority for us and over the last two decades we have worked hard to establish and develop a robust and agile local supply chain.
“We remain committed to supporting local food and drink producers and look forward to building on this in the years ahead, as we work to deliver on our ambitious growth plans, expand our store network and employee base in Northern Ireland, and open up export opportunities for the region for wider industry growth.”
The Supplier Impact Report launch coincides with the publication of Lidl Northern Ireland’s financial results for the 2022/23 period which recorded turnover of £434 million.
Lidl Northern Ireland has powered through almost a quarter of a century with its high-quality, low-price proposition, and has firmly embedded itself as a local brand committed to supplying fresh, home-grown produce at exceptional quality and value.
For more information, please visit lidl-ni.co.uk
For more information on the Kickstart Supplier Development Programme, visit lidl-ni.co.uk/kickstart