Entries now being accepted for the 2020 Lidl Northern Ireland Kick Start programme
Northern Ireland’s fastest growing retailer, Lidl, served up a taste of home this September as 11 new products from four local producers went on sale across all 200 Lidl stores throughout the island of Ireland for a limited period.
From fiery chocolate to succulent pulled meats, the locally made artisan products crafted in Northern Ireland were selected as winners in this year’s Lidl Kick Start Supplier Development Programme.
The Kick Start Programme is designed to help small and medium size local food and drink producers grow their brand, build their supply network and reach new customer audiences.
Earlier this year, Lidl called on local producers to enter the programme and pitch their product to be stocked across all its stores. Producers across right the island of Ireland applied for the programme, with 11 new and exciting products from Northern Ireland passing the taste test and earning their place on the shelves.
This year’s winning range included Erne Larder Marmalade with Whiskey from Fermanagh, Little Meat Co’s pulled meat range (chicken, turkey and pork), Oh So Lean ready meals (chicken curry, chilli chicken and spicy vegetable noodles), Oh So Lean smoked burgers (turkey and steak) and Wee ChoCo chocolate bars (honeycomb and chilli and lime) – all produced in County Down.
Speaking about the importance of Kick Start, chocolatier and Director of Wee ChoCo, Steph Fulton, said:
“The Lidl Kick Start programme is an unrivalled platform for a small company like ours to boost our business and achieve a higher level of exposure for our products and brand. We are delighted that one of Northern Ireland’s fastest-growing retailers has given its endorsement to our products for great taste and quality and we look forward to utilising its expertise to help make us export success story. We can’t wait to see where this programme takes us.”
Since taking part in the inaugural Lidl Kick Start Northern Ireland scheme last year, local producers have been enjoying the benefits that a boost from a major retailer can provide to smaller businesses.
As well as the limited edition in-store promotion, Kick Start also provides the ambitious companies with free business development seminars delivered by a panel of Lidl and wider industry experts, covering key disciplines such as quality control, packaging, communications and brand building.
Representing a major investment by Lidl into its local supplier network, the Kick Start programme is now open for applications for its 2020 scheme.
Northern Irish food and drink producers interested in applying can find out more information and submit their applications by visiting www.lidl-ni.co.uk/kickstart