A Newry company along with two other County Down homegrown artisan food producers are set to receive a business boost from Lidl after being selected by the retailer as three of 26 artisan producers from Lidl’s 2020 Kick Start Supplier Development Programme. The producers will have their locally crafted products stocked in 208 Lidl stores across the island of Ireland for a limited-edition promotion, from next Thursday 28 January.

Following an initial in-store sales promotion last summer, which saw their products snapped up by Lidl shoppers, The Little Meat Company, The Feckin’ Drinks Co and Oh So Lean have secured a second promotional listing with Northern Ireland’s fastest growing supermarket retailer.

David Grant, The Little Meat Company
David Grant, The Little Meat Company

Established in 2017 and based in Newry, The Little Meat Company specialises in producing a range of artisan hand-pulled meat products with a rich and intense taste. With over 50 years of butchery experience, Adele and David Grant and dad Peter work together to develop and refine recipes crafted using the latest techniques based on traditional values.

“It’s been a busy year for The Little Meat Company. Lidl’s Kick Start programme has given us a real taste of what it’s like to supply a major supermarket and upscale our operations to meet this level of demand. Through their in-store promotions we are able to tap into a combined base of two million weekly customers across Lidl’s 208 stores within the island of Ireland and in turn we’ve experienced a significant upsurge in sales and new business enquiries from retailers across the island of Ireland.

Following the significant boost in sales we enjoyed for our pulled meat products because of the Kick Start programme in 2019, for 2020 we put forward our new meat pie taster box. We’ve definitely noticed the sales of this product performing particularly strongly thanks to Kick Start and with yet another instore promotion to go, we’re on track to exceed our sales forecasts. We’re looking forward to sharing our product with even more customers during the second in-store promotion,” commented David Grant of The Little Meat Company.

Sean Morgan, Oh So Lean
Sean Morgan, Oh So Lean

Despite being a relatively new business, with the support of the Lidl Kick Start Programme, The Little Meat Company has gone from strength to strength in recent years and now boasts a product range of four types of hand-pulled, slow-cooked meats.

“Thanks to the Lidl Kick Start programme we’re moving forward into 2021 with a renewed focus and real drive to take our business to the next level. Securing a listing with a major retailer and seeing first-hand how our products were enjoyed by customers across the island of Ireland has given me and the team a tangible confidence boost and motivation to continue growing and developing The Little Meat Company,” continued David.

Now in its fourth year, the Lidl Kick Start Supplier Development Programme is designed to help small and medium sized local food and drink producers grow their brand, build their supply network and reach new customer audiences with the potential of becoming a permanently listed Lidl supplier.

Along with The Little Meat Company’s hearty meat pies, the promotion will see award-winning apple cider vinegar, succulent smoked meats, healthy ready meals and premium Irish gin, all crafted in Northern Ireland, hit shelves on Thursday 28January for a one-week limited edition promotion.

For the second year in a row, Kilkeel father-and-son duo Oh So Lean also secured a place on the Kick Start programme, showcasing their Creamy Chicken and Saffron Rice Ready Meal in 2020. Born out of Connor’s desire to overhaul his diet, he works with his father Sean to produce a wide range of premium, low-fat products.

Another County Down product line is produced at the Echlinville Distillery in Kircubbin, The Feckin’ Drinks Co produces tongue-in-cheek whiskey, vodka and gin. Their Feckin’ Irish Gin, a unique, refreshing lemon-infused spirit with citrus flavours and herbaceous notes, proved a success with Lidl shoppers in July.

Previous Kick Start success stories include Noisy Snacks based in Newtownards, Copeland Spirits distilled in Donaghadee and Refuge Hot Chocolate brewed in Belfast as well as many more.

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