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Lidl ploughs £45m into growing agri-food producers in the NI to success


Lidl Northern Ireland, the region’s fastest-growing supermarket retailer, has ploughed £45 million into the agri-food industry in the Northern region in the last financial year ending February 2022, a new impact report has revealed.


From the finest freshly dug potatoes grown in the Glens of Antrim, to whole bean and ground coffee expertly blended in Antrim, premium beef and lamb farmed in Ballymena, to tasty sweet and salted popcorn popping up from Antrim, shoppers are enjoying a real taste of home with an increasingly expansive line of authentic Northern Irish produce.



Developed with the support of the Northern Ireland Food & Drink Association, the new report highlights the retailer’s significant economic contribution to the agri-food industry and underscores its longstanding commitment to sourcing produce locally.


Representing a combined investment of £347 million across Northern Ireland, 85% (or £298 million) worth of goods procured by Lidl Northern Ireland from suppliers in the region was exported globally through Lidl’s expansive store network, reaching new customer bases across Europe from Great Britain and Ireland as far as Romania, Greece, Cyprus and even to the USA.



Welcoming the new report findings, Michael Bell, Executive Director, Northern Ireland Food and Drink Association (NIFDA) said:


“Locally, our food and drink sector is Northern Ireland’s largest manufacturing sector, contributing £4.9 billion in value added to the region and supporting some 113,000 jobs. It’s a huge driver of economic growth and this report by Lidl Northern Ireland demonstrates just how significant its supplier relationships are not only to its ongoing success, but to supporting an entire network of local producers to grow and export.”


Alongside its established supplier network, Lidl Northern Ireland is also committed to supporting SMEs and home-grown businesses to realise their potential through its industry-leading Kickstart Supplier Development Programme. Now in its fifth year, the retailer has invested more than £1 million in growing more than 30 local suppliers through the initiative.



“NIFDA has been a supporter of Lidl Northern Ireland’s Kickstart Supplier Development Programme for the past couple of years and it’s inspiring to see a retailer so committed to local sourcing and cultivating home-grown suppliers to future success. The platform has led many SMEs to become household names through this platform and provided ongoing support to many more to grow their potential”, added Michael Bell.


With 41 stores and more than 1,000 employees, Lidl Northern Ireland has powered through two decades of growth with its high-quality, low-price proposition since it opened its first store in Cookstown in 1999. Since then, the retailer has firmly embedded itself as a local brand, with stores strategically built within the heart of communities and a commitment to supplying fresh, home-grown produce at exceptional quality and value.



In May 2021, Lidl Northern Ireland secured a supply deal worth more than £500,000 with Antrim-based coffee producer SlumberJack Coffee, in a 12-month contract to supply their premium Italian Espresso whole bean and ground coffee across 216 Lidl stores in the island of Ireland.


Based in Antrim, SlumberJack Coffee is a family-run business roasting the freshest, highest quality coffee beans at its state-of-the-art roastery for an intense, luxurious flavour.


Established in 2014, the artisan business sources coffee beans directly from a family farm in Brazil’s Alta Mogiana Mineira region, which is part of a cooperative ensuring 100% traceability of beans with each harvest meticulously tested for quality and taste.



The new supplier partnership with Lidl Northern Ireland has enabled the young coffee roasting company to avail of export opportunities and reach new markets, as well as growing its business and upscaling production to meet customer demand.


Conor Boyle, Regional Managing Director Lidl Northern Ireland said:


“At Lidl Northern Ireland, we’re focused on investing in our local supplier network and bringing great quality, locally sourced fresh produce at great value to nearly half a million weekly shoppers across the region.


"Our established 'Big on Quality, Lidl on Price' brand proposition continues to resonate with shoppers and particularly during these challenging times, we’re seeing even more customers make the switch to Lidl Northern Ireland. A huge part of our success is down to our supplier partnerships and being able to offer customers unrivalled choice, quality and value.



"Our fantastic suppliers represent the best of Northern Ireland’s food and drink industry. Through our supplier partnerships and initiatives like Kickstart, we’re proud to be able to showcase our best performing suppliers on the global stage through our Lidl network.


"As we look ahead to the next decade, we look forward to nurturing new and fruitful supplier partnerships, working with more farmers, growers and producers to champion the region and promote its unrivalled credentials for exceptional quality produce through our global store network.”


For more information please visit lidl-ni.co.uk


For more information on the Kickstart Supplier Development Programme, visit lidl-ni.co.uk/kickstart

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