CHEESE lovers in Finland and Spain are now able to enjoy Fivemiletown Creamery’s richly flavoured Oak Smoked Cheddar following a deal between the Tyrone dairy business and Lidl, the top European discount chain.
Lidl added Fivemiletown cheese to its portfolio of Deluxe premium products available in its 160-strong network of Irish stores last year, and the success of the cheese has led the discounter to make the Oak Smoked Chedder available in the two important markets.
The Deluxe brand is Lidl’s top tier offering, aimed specifically at consumers seeking premium and value products that also feature provenance.
The agreement means that the Fivemiletown cheese, smoked using oak chips sustainably sourced from Tyrone’s Caledon Forest, is on sale in more than 500 Lidl supermarkets across Spain and a further 200 in Finland. German-owned Lidl now has more than 10,000 supermarkets in more than 20 European countries.
Kevin McManus, Fivemiletown Creamery’s sales manager, said: “This agreement with Lidl is another tremendous boost for our smoked cheddar from one of Europe’s leading retail chains.
“The inclusion of our cheese in Lidl’s premium Deluxe portfolio will strengthen volume sales within our speciality cheese portfolio and will help bring tangble benefits to our network of milk suppliers at a particularly difficult time for the industry.
“The agreement is a measure of the popularity of our cheese among shoppers at Lidl’s supermarkets in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Our objective will be to help drive sales in both Spain and Finland and to see the cheese being listed across Lidl’s European network.
“Our success with Lidl contributed to the creamery’s record sales of speciality cheese last year, the best year’s performance in the history of the business.”
Caitriona Maguire from Lidl said; “Fivemiletown’s oak smoked cheddar has proved an outstanding success with shoppers in Ireland who value quality products that are affordable.
“At Lidl we are happy to provide opportunities for valued suppliers to introduce their key products into stores across our European network. We are delighted, therefore, that Fivemiletown’s superb cheese is available in Lidl stores in Finland and Spain.”
The Deluxe brand was introduced for the first time in November 2009 by Lidl and has proved to be a successful initiative. Deluxe lines now include meats, cheese fish, chocolates and bakery.
Lidl, part of Germany’s Schwarz retailing business, now has 10,000 stores throughout Europe. Schwarz is the world’s fourth largest retailer.
It set up its first stores in Northern Ireland in 1999 and the Republic of Ireland in 2000.
Fivemiletown Creamery was established in 1898 as a farmers’ co-operative. It currently employs over 80 people in the production of soft cheese and creamy cheddars for customers in 15 countries including the Republic of Ireland.