Lidl supply network worth £347m for Northern Ireland agri-food firms - report

The chief executive of Lidl Ireland, JP Scally (left) with Lidl Northern Ireland boss Conor Boyle (right).

LIDL’S relationship with the local agri-food chain was worth £347 million last year, according to a new report.

The German retailer said it supported 60 Northern Ireland producers in the 12 months to February 2022.

It came during a period where Lidl Northern Ireland recorded a 7 per cent rise in its turnover to £369m.

The report, compiled with the Northern Ireland Food and Drink Association (NIFDA), found that of the £347m, some £298m worth of goods procured by Lidl NI from suppliers in the region were exported globally through the supermarket’s extensive store network.

That saw everything from Killowen Gin and Irwin’s bread to Willowbrook’s salads and Wilson’s Country potatoes exported through customer bases across Europe as far as Romania, Greece, Cyprus and to the USA.

Welcoming the new report, NIFDA’s executive director Michael Bell said: “Locally, our food and drink sector is Northern Ireland’s largest manufacturing sector, contributing £4.9 billion in value added to the region and supporting some 113,000 jobs.

“It’s a huge driver of economic growth and this report by Lidl Northern Ireland demonstrates just how significant its supplier relationships are not only to its ongoing success, but to supporting an entire network of local producers to grow and export.”

Alongside its supplier network, Lidl’s kickstart supplier development programme is now in its fifth year.

The retailer said more than £1 million has been invested to date helping more than 30 local suppliers grow through the initiative.

Lidl NI’s regional managing director Conor Boyle said: “A huge part of our success is down to our supplier partnerships and being able to offer customers unrivalled choice, quality and value.

"Our fantastic suppliers represent the best of Northern Ireland’s food and drink industry.

"Through our supplier partnerships and initiatives like Kickstart, we’re proud to be able to showcase our best performing suppliers on the global stage through our Lidl network. As we look ahead to the next decade, we look forward to nurturing new and fruitful supplier partnerships and supporting even more local businesses to success.”

JP Scally, chief executive of Lidl on the island added: “Our longstanding position of Northern Ireland’s fastest-growing supermarket is testament to our established business model focused on investing in our local supplier network and bringing great quality, locally sourced fresh produce at great value to nearly half a million weekly shoppers across the region.

"Our consistently strong business performance allows us to continue to invest resources in expanding our local supplier network as well as our network of stores in the region, which has grown significantly over the last decade.

"We’re looking forward to building on this even further in the years ahead, working with more farmers, growers and producers to champion the region and promote its unrivalled credentials for exceptional quality produce through our global store network.”