Three Leitrim Businesses ‘Growing with Aldi’


Three Leitrim Businesses ‘Growing with Aldi’

While most business battle the challenges from the global pandemic, 2021 has been a very successful year for three Leitrim businesses as Blakes Always Organic and Jinny’s Bakery both from Drumshanbo and Dromod Boxty, Dromod have been chosen to participate in the Grow with Aldi programme. The three businesses beat competition from hundreds of businesses nationwide to participate in the campaign, opening up a vast new market for their products.

For Jinny’s Bakery, it’s the second year in a row that Aldi has chosen to stock their products, with two of the bakery’s bread mixes, the stout and the porridge versions being selected. Both products have a long shelf life, providing consumers with the option to enjoy fresh bread out of the oven whenever the mood takes them. “We find people love making the bread at home, especially as children can join in”, said Pascal as the lockdown-inspired interest in baking at home has given their product a welcome and timely boost.

Being chosen as one of three Leitrim food and drink suppliers to participate in the latest Grow with Aldi campaign means much more to the people behind Jinny’s Bakery than getting a foothold in 145 stores nationwide. “The introduction the Local Enterprise Office facilitated with Aldi was a game changer, which helped us to retain our workforce throughout lockdown, something we regarded as crucial,” said Pascal Gillard. The access to Aldi’s stores came as Jinny’s lost many food service clients - hotels and cafes which had to shut during the pandemic - so the timing was excellent. He said Jinny’s have always felt supported by LEO over the years whether through mentoring, financial advice or practical supports when buying equipment. “The Grow with Aldi campaign is just the latest in a long line of ways they have made us examine how we can develop to our best potential and strive for high standards”.

Aine Faughnan took over Dromod Boxty from her parents Timmy and Angela in 2015. Based on traditional family recipe’s, their products use all natural ingredients which is something Aine feels is key to their success. “When you taste some shop-bought pancakes it’s obvious they don’t use fresh ingredients but we would never use powdered milk or eggs. We always use local natural products”. While 2020 was a challenging year for many businesses, Dromod Boxty was in the fortunate position of looking to expand their business to exploit the opportunities coming their way. The invitation from Aldi coincided with a dawning realisation that they needed to extend the bakery and workforce, mainly due to most of their clients being food retailers, rather than those in the food service sector. Now the Aldi chain has chosen their pancakes, based on a recipe handed down from her grandmother, for its 2021 Grow with Aldi campaign which means Dromod Boxty now have a nationwide customer base.

“We have new customers all over the country who are buying the boxty and the pancakes in Aldi stores and it’s lovely to see the positive feedback,” said Aine. “We are delighted with comments we see on Instagram and social media from people who are tasting and loving our products. And I can’t believe the impact influencers on social media are having when they recommend our boxty or pancakes. We are very grateful for the role LEO played in helping us reach so many people”.

Blakes Always Organic first coffee blend won the Bord Bia Organic award for the Best Prepared Product category in 2017. Now it and another blend produced by the Leitrim company have been chosen for the Grow with Aldi campaign which aims to support up-and-coming artisan Irish food and drink companies. The initiative means that Blakes Always Organic’s “Culture” blend coffee and its “Purely Arabica” blend are now on sale in Aldi stores nationwide, exposing their Certified Organic coffee to a much wider audience.

Sales in Aldi stores have been very encouraging already and John Brennan says the exposure of being part of the Grow with Aldi campaign has provided a great boost at a time when many employers have had to reduce their workforce. “Something like this is very important when you are trying to grow a small business,” said Mr Brennan. He said the opportunity was as a direct result of the LEO ensuring that it and other Leitrim companies were in a position to show Aldi that it was capable of producing a top-quality product which would appeal to the most discerning customers.

The businesses all attribute their successful inclusion in the campaign with the support of the Local Enterprise Office who had invited Aldi to come and speak to local producers in Co. Leitrim.

Delighted to see the local businesses prosper, Head of LEO Leitrim, Joe Lowe said “It’s fantastic to see three Leitrim producers selected on this programme from only 56 nationwide. It really shows the quality local producers we have here in Leitrim. A key aim for LEO Leitrim is to continue the development of County Leitrim as a centre of Food Excellence and to further promote and support the Taste Leitrim initiative. We will continue to encourage local business to become involved in programmes such as those in Aldi, Lidl or Supervalu.”

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