Karri Kitchen wins Tesco business for healthy South East Asian tastes

Tesco Northern Ireland has listed Karri Kitchen, the Portadown-based producer of award-winning South-East Asian meals, for an initial 23 supermarkets here.

The hugely important deal, announced ahead of the company’s participation in the Food NI Food Pavilion at this year’s Balmoral Show, is Karri’s first business with Tesco, Northern Ireland’s biggest supermarket network, and is for five of the Co Armagh company’s successful range of delicious ready-meals.

Tesco shoppers are now able to enjoy Karri Kitchen’s authentic Mango Chicken Curry; Spicy Coconut Chicken Curry; Black Pepper Beef; Firecracker Chicken; Mongolian Beef Noodles; and Chow Mein Chicken Noodles. The meals went on sale in Tesco stores from yesterday.

Innovative chef Shera McAloran, who founded Karri Kitchen with husband Chris, a local businessman, in 2019, commenting on the new business with Tesco, said: “This is a very exciting development for us. We feel our launch with Tesco will play a vital role in our business and will support the growth of our company. It’s tremendously encouraging recognition from Northern Ireland’s biggest supermarket network.”

A Food NI member, Karri Kitchen is now firmly established as Ireland’s fastest growing provider of a delicious range of healthy ready-meals with rich South-East Asian flavours. The restaurant quality dishes are all high-protein, low calorie and made from the freshest local ingredients.

“All of our food is healthy and perfect for those who want to eat a balanced, healthy, protein-rich and nutritious diet,” Shera adds

Originally from Indonesia, Shera is creating the innovative recipes from her own upbringing there, with her team in their state-of-the-art new product kitchen and production unit at Carn Industrial Estate, Co Armagh, now one of Northern Ireland’s leading food processing hubs.

She has won widespread acclaim for quality, innovation and outstanding taste from leading food bodies such as UK Great Taste and Blas na hEireann, the Irish National Food Awards.

The small company also achieved gold in the ready meals category in the highly influential Irish Quality Food and Drink Awards last year, an event watched closely by top grocery retailers.

The enterprising company has been awarded Best Poultry Ready Meal in Ireland for its mango chicken curry and a Healthy Product Innovation Award at the Irish Food Awards.

Shera’s tasty, nutritious and quality meals were also a success at the Northern Ireland Food and Drink Awards, winning the Healthier Product Innovation Award and Highly Commended in the Small Company Award. The company is now Ireland’s fastest growing provider of a delicious range of healthy ready-meals with authentic South-East Asian flavours.

Shera moved to Sydney in Australia from her home in Indonesia for her education and earned a degree in business management and marketing at the respected Australian Pacific College (APC).

She worked in hospitality during her time at APC. “I had always been interested in running my own small business and had no hesitation about a career in hospitality on graduation. Hospitality and clean, healthy eating have always been part of my life. It’s how I’ve been raised, my work experience, and our lifestyle,” she says. Overall, Shera lived and worked in Sydney for 12 years and then moved to Northern Ireland to marry Chris

She pursued her career in management but was then encouraged to think seriously about food preparation by family and friends who loved the distinctive Indonesian and other Asian themes and flavours of her meals.

 “I’ve carried a longstanding focus on fresh and local ingredients into the dishes within the Karri Kitchen portfolio,” she continues. “We endeavour to use as many ingredients from local suppliers as practicable,” she adds. Local suppliers include Lynas Foods in Coleraine; M&W Meats; and Gilfresh Vegetables, both Portadown.

The new business with Tesco is a major development for the business.

Tesco remains Northern Ireland’s favourite supermarket in the face of stiff competition. According to retail information company Kantar, Tesco maintained its position at the top of the table as Northern Ireland’s largest grocer, with a 39.4 percent share of the market, growing 12.4 percent year-on-year.

The supermarket, which set up here in 1996, spends more than £500 million a year on purchasing Northern Ireland food from around 100 suppliers. The store stocks upwards of 1,200 local food products. Tesco spends more on local food and drink than other national grocers in more than 50 stores, employing around 10,000 people

The supermarket has long supported Balmoral Show activities and hosts this year’s Tesco Theatre Kitchen in the Food NI Food Pavilion which will also feature The Steak Competition.

Karri Kitchen will be among almost 100 food and drink producers, large, small and artisanal enterprises in the Food Pavilion, the biggest presentation of local products this year,