By staff reporter
Rankin Selection breads, a selection of traditional Irish breads developed by celebrity chef Paul Rankin, from Co Down, can now be found in Lulu supermarkets across Abu Dhabi.
Irwin’s Bakery will apparently have the bread on the shelves in the chain’s stores within 24 hours of being baked at its Northern Irish base.
Rankin’s range of breads includes soda farls, potato farls, stone-ground wheaten are produced by Irwin’s Bakery, a family-owned and managed business operating out of Portadown.
Irwin Bakery’s business development manager Brendan Lappin said: “This is a very significant contract for us with one of the biggest and most successful retailers in the Gulf, It gives us a solid platform for further growth in a very dynamic marketplace. It’s a market that we’ve been targeting for some time and is the result of ongoing discussion over the past 18 months.”
He added: “The Rankin Selection range is on sale in an initial eight Lulu supermarkets within 24 hours of leaving the bakery in Portadown – a significant logistics operation involving a distributor in Liverpool. The supermarket asked us if we could provide the bread as fresh as possible and we’ve been able to meet the challenge.
“As well as the Rankin Selection breads, we are providing Jammy Joey and Snowy Joey cakes from our Howell’s Handmade subsidiary. Initially all the bread and cakes will be available in eight stores but these outlets are strategically placed close to Lulu Group headquarters in Abu Dhabi. Our aim is to build the business steadily and to widen the customer base beyond the ex-pat community.”
Barry Clarke, Invest NI Vice President, Middle East and India, said: “Assisting retailers and foodservice operations in the Emirates to experience the quality, safety and provenance of Northern Ireland food and drink is a priority for the team in our Dubai office.
“Northern Ireland is justifiably described at the UK’s food basket’ because of the wide range of products supplied to every major retailer and many independent food stores. Increasingly retailers in the Gulf and other parts of the world including China are sourcing innovative products from Northern Ireland because of their reputation for outstanding taste, wholesomeness and safety.”
Paul Rankin, probably best known as one of the regular chefs on TV cookery show Ready Steady Cook, set up the restaurant Roscoff with his now ex-wife Jeanne in Belfast after a period in London, followed by others. At its best, the Rankin Group had nine restaurants in its portfolio, but Rankin has since had to close or sell the majority of them.
The chef joined forces with Irwin’s Bakery to create a range of products that would give those in Great Britain a real taste of Irish Breads. Starting off with just four lines, the Rankin Selection has now grown to twelve different products.