Suppliers to Lidl get chance to shine in Europe
DISCOUNT retailer Lidl is on track to export €300m of Irish produce by 2020, with strong growth in demand for craft beers, cream liquor and grass-fed beef.
The news comes as the chain launches its latest Kick Start supplier development programme to give small producers a chance to have their products on shelves in its 153 stores in the Republic of Ireland.
The limited-edition 'Best of Ireland' food promotion will run in September, with 80 products chosen and three of those sold in Lidl stores elsewhere in Europe.
Liam Casey, Lidl commercial director, said they were working with over 200 Irish suppliers sourced through an 80-strong purchasing team.
"Last year and for the last couple of years we have been reaching about €500m spent on Irish produce, that is bought and sold here in Ireland from local suppliers," said Mr Casey.
The UK, Germany, France and Spain are the big purchasers of Irish produce, with 36 suppliers now exporting to Lidl stores in 26 counties. Mr Casey said the most popular products were beef, Irish cream liquor and craft beers from the Rye River Brewing Company, which have experienced a huge rise over the past year.
Lidl plans to invest €200,000 in the Bord Bia supported Kick Start programme. Suppliers entered 450 different products last year. Over 71 products went on sale for a limited period last year with everything from artisan cheese to gluten-free burgers delivering a €1m turnover.
Irish product Pow-Cow high-protein frozen yoghurt has now been permanently listed in Lidl stores after it sold strongly via the Kick Start programme.
Niall Moloney, the dietician who came up with the idea after working with the 2012 Olympic squad, said their volume had increased "massively" and they expected to sell 250,000 tubs business-wide in the next year.