County Antrim meat company Doherty & Gray has secured a significant new listing with Tesco.
The company, based in Ballymena, is now supplying sausages under the Tesco Finest brand to 30 of the retailer’s stores across Northern Ireland.
The listing has increased Doherty & Gray’s annual business with Tesco by 50% and the contract is expected to be worth more than £500,000 per annum to the Co Antrim food firm.
The eight-strong Finest range includes pork sausages as well as pork with sweet chilli, caramelised onion and two distinct local flavours, Armagh Bramley and scallion. There are also beef and black pepper, beef and red wine jus and chorizo-style pork sausages in the line-up.
Doherty & Gray, which employs 100 people and has been in business for 61 years, first started to supply Tesco in Northern Ireland 18 years ago. It has cemented existing jobs and taken on two extra staff as a result of the latest deal with Tesco.
Apart from the Finest sausages, Doherty & Gray supplies Tesco Northern Ireland with 24 other lines, including Hull’s and Prima Valley sausages and Tesco Butcher’s Choice sausages and burgers. Its famous Hull’s veg roll remains a firm family favourite.
The company invested £30,000 in new equipment, staff training and packaging design on securing the Finest contract.
Alan McKeown, the company’s Commercial Sales Manager, said: “We have a highly skilled workforce and pride ourselves on making the highest quality sausages to be enjoyed by consumers.
“The Tesco Finest sausages are all made using Northern Ireland pork and Northern Ireland beef and fresh ingredients are used where possible in order to deliver a quality succulent sausage with superior taste.”
Alan added: “We are using an improved mixing process to deliver an enhanced looser, coarser texture of sausage – one that we know shoppers will enjoy.”
Leanne Black, a food technologist with Tesco Northern Ireland who helped to develop the range, said: “Doherty & Gray’s products are simply superb and our customers love them. The Finest sausages produced by them have only just gone on the shelves, but the feedback from customers has already been excellent.”
Tesco spends more than £550million on Northern Ireland products each year, it has more than 90 local suppliers and it stocks more than 1,200 local products.