Portadown based Irwin’s Bakery has secured a major deal with retail giant Asda to supply its ‘Irish Batch’ bread into 150 stores in England. The deal, which is worth around £200,000 per annum to the local bakery, will make the loaf (known as ‘Nutty Krust’ in Ireland) available for the first time in England.
Created by Irwin’s almost 50 years ago – ‘Irwin’s Irish Batch’ (sold as Nutty Krust locally) is made using traditional local recipes and techniques, including the original fermentation and slow-baking processes, which give it a distinctive flavour and texture. From mixing to slicing the baking process takes six hours and is called ‘batch bread’ as it is baked, not in individual tins like ‘pan bread’, but on the sole of the oven as part of an overall batch.
“Developing our products into key export markets across the UK and Ireland remains central to our business strategy,” explains Michael Murphy, Commercial Director of Irwin’s Bakery. “We are particularly pleased to have secured this deal with Asda, which will see the iconic Northern Irish batch loaf become widely available through its store network in England. We are regularly contacted by Northern Ireland people based in England asking where they can purchase our batch bread, so this move will not only respond to that demand but also introduce the product to a whole new audience.”
The product has already proven successful within the GB market following its introduction to the Scottish marketplace three years ago.
“Nutty Krust is one of our ‘champion’ products across Ireland,” Michael continues, “but we decided to market the brand as ‘Irwin’s Irish Batch’ in Scotland three years ago as our experience and consumer research indicated that GB consumers enjoy authentic Irish products. The product continues to perform very well in Scotland and for that reason we will also market the product as ‘Irwin’s Irish Batch’ in England. The product is available in an 800g size, as our research shows a demand for a full size batch loaf.”
David Quigg of Asda adds: “We are delighted to be bringing this much-loved bread to England for the first time through our continued strategic partnership with Irwin’s Bakery. We are confident Irwin’s Irish Batch will be well received by the English consumer, given its unique appeal. This deal underpins our ongoing commitment to supporting regional producers across the UK.”