Irwin’s Bakery secures £3.5m contract to produce speciality bread

Northern Ireland’s only independent plant bakery, Irwin’s, has ‘risen’ to consumer demand by securing a deal worth £3.5 million annually to produce bread for the UK market, with Waitrose and Morrisons to list its new Irwin’s Together range of speciality breads.

The family bakery will supply 600 Morrisons and Waitrose stores across the UK with its Irwin’s Together range of eight products, which includes Stoneground Wheaten and Brown Soda Bread, as well as Ancient Grain Muffins and a Cinnamon and Raisin Loaf.

Chief executive of Irwin’s Bakery, Michael Murphy, said:

“Winning new business contracts of this scale are a clear sign we are continuing to grow our share of the speciality breads market in Great Britain.

Currently just under 50% of our business is outside Northern Ireland, with the bulk of that going fresh, daily, to Great Britain, and we expect this to grow with the introduction of the Irwin’s Together range.

“Having established credentials for producing innovative and superior quality bread products, we continue to drive consumer need for this category.

“We have invested over £500,000 in both consumer research and brand development to ensure we understand consumers’ needs and usage occasions, alongside a brand identity that reflects our values, skill, and heritage as craft bakers.

“In addition, we have also invested in additional capability with the bakery focused on new product development.“

‘We don’t stand still’

Murphy added,

“The bakery might be over 100 years old, but we don’t stand still.

“Cultures are changing constantly, and Irwin’s prides itself on keeping up with these changes.

Consumers have enjoyed and experimented with food throughout lockdown and continue to look for ways to create great meals with everyday staples such as bread as the main ingredient for the whole family.

“We believe our breads lay the foundations for a great meal that brings everyone together at the table.”