Gluten-free specialists James Doherty (Meats) in Derry is expanding its business in Britain as a result of a deal with Central Foods, based near London with a depot in Nuneaton.

Central is now distributing Doherty’s range of gluten-free Irish pork sausages, cocktail sausages, meatballs and burgers. 

The new agreement follows the success of the Northern Irish meat business in winning a listing from Ocado. It already supplies Asda in the UK with a range of meat products.

Brian McQuaid, Doherty’s sales manager, says the deal with Central Foods is a major development for the business in its strategic focus on extending outlets in Britain particularly in foodsevice.

“Central is an excellent fit for us because it supplies meat products to over

Salt-aged beef from Hannan Meats in Northern Ireland was showcased at the recent GREAT Festival of Creativity in Istanbul. The three-day event was developed by UK Trade and Investment as “a dynamic celebration of creativity in business” and is part of an ongoing campaign to boost UK exports and investment.

Salt-aged beef from Hannan Meats
Salt-aged beef from Hannan Meats


Hannan Meats was the only Northern Irish company among nine UK food and drink producers organised by celebrated food writer Tom Parker Bowles. The food for VIP events during the novel showcase in Istanbul was prepared by top chef Tom Kitchin and his team. 

Hannan Meats because of the outstanding taste and quality of beef produced in the world’s biggest Himalayan salt ageing chamber at its plant in Moira, county Down.

Peter Hannan, managing director of Hannan Meats, a leading supplier of meat to foodservice organisations and high-end retailers, including Fortnum and Mason, in the United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, France and Portugal, says: “Being asked to participate in this and future showcases is a marvellous endorsement of the innovation and creativity which underpin our business and help to set us apart in today’s competitive markets.

Island Shellfish in Northern Ireland has developed an innovative commercial micro hatchery to regenerate the European native oyster, an endangered species. 

The small company has developed breakthrough technology that enables shellfish production areas to use indigenous stocks to produce seed oysters or other shellfish including clams. 

This control over seed supply removes the need to import shellfish such as Pacific Oyster helping to protect the industry from potential diseases.

Island Shellfish, based on Larne Lough in county Antrim, once a major oyster rearing area, was formed in 1997 by Dr Don Saville, a marine parasitologist, and engineer Billy Johnston as a research project to help regenerate the native oyster sector. The company is now commercialising the research.

Dunville, once the best-known Irish Whiskey brand that was established in Belfast in 1801, is back on the market again after more than 80 years.

The new Dunville Irish Whiskey is being produced at Echlinville Distillery, based at Kircubbin, near picturesque Strangford Lough, in county Down, which was granted a licence to distil whiskey last year.

Consignments of the historic Dunville whiskey have already been shipped to customers in Britain, other parts of Europe and the US.

Shane Braniff, managing director of Echlinville House Distillery in Kircubbin, with the Dunville Irish Whiskey casks
Shane Braniff, managing director of Echlinville House Distillery in Kircubbin, with the Dunville Irish Whiskey casks

Shane Braniff, managing director and founder of Echlinville Distillery, who also formed the Feckin Irish Whiskey brand in 2005, commenting on the rebirth of the Dunville brand, says: “Bringing one of the best-known Irish whiskey brands back to life is tremendously exciting. Back in the late 19th and early 20th centuries the North of Ireland was the biggest producer of Irish whiskey worldwide. 

Innovative foods developed by Northern Ireland companies for major UK retailers will be showcased at the finals of the Quality Food and Drink Awards in London in November.

Food and drink from five Northern Ireland companies produced for retailers such as Marks and Spencer, Tesco, Asda and the Co-operative have been shortlisted by the panel of judges for the finals.

The Northern Ireland foods for retailers are:

Cooked Venison and Pheasant from Finnebrogue in Downpatrick for M&S;

British Chicken Thighs with Pork Sage and Onion Stuffing from Moy Park, Craigavon for Tesco;

Breaded Buffalo Chicken Wings from Moy Park, Craigavon for the Co-operative; and 

Stuffed Globe Courgette with Feta and Sundried Tomato from Unimush, Armagh for Asda.

Creating a single and resilient supply chain will transform food in Northern Ireland into a £7 billion industry and provide 15,000 new jobs by 2020, Tony O’Neill, Chairman of the Agri-Food Strategy Board, said today.

Mr O’Neill said Going for Growth, the strategic action plan for the growth of Agri-Food in Northern Ireland, identifies an urgent requirement to focus on a single food supply chain.  He urged the Northern Ireland Executive to respond positively and quickly on the action plan’s recommendations.

Speaking at the Farming Futures conference in Coventry, Mr O’Neill said: “We have to make the supply chain better able to withstand and overcome shocks such as last year’s horsemeat problem and other local, national and international challenges including the impact on food resources from the rapid growth in the global population.”

Mr O’Neill was a keynote speaker at the two-day national event on The Role of Agricultural Technologies in Delivering Food Supply Chain Resilience organised by Farming Futures, part of the Centre of Excellence in UK Farming. He was speaking in the conference session on Industry Strategies to Increase Supply Chain Resilience.

He said: “What our strategic action plan does is to focus attention on the importance of the supply chain, from feed suppliers through farms and processors, to retailers and customers. This is why the strategy is underpinned by an agreed statement that Agri-Food in Northern Ireland is a single supply chain, working towards the same goal.”

He told delegates that the action plan aims to develop “a sustainable, profitable and integrated Agri- Food supply chain in Northern Ireland that is focused on delivering the needs of the market, rather than producing food and drink that we wish to in the hope that they might eventually sell”.

“The focus on strengthening our supply chain is the outcome of a decision by Government in Northern Ireland, encouraged by farmers and producers, to explore the policy and other measures required to help accelerate the growth of what is widely recognised as a strategically important industry.  

“It’s an industry in Northern Ireland with enormous potential against the background of a rapidly rising global population and a spiralling demand for quality and safe food at a time when pressure on resources is growing.

Echlinville Distillery is offering Irish whiskey devotees and connoisseurs worldwide the opportunity to be the first to enjoy a new Irish malt whiskey to be produced in Northern Ireland for almost 150 years.  

Echlinville Distillery is offering Irish whiskey devotees and connoisseurs worldwide the opportunity to be the first to enjoy a new Irish malt whiskey to be produced in Northern Ireland for almost 150 years.

The company, based at Kircubbin in county Down, is creating a limited edition of 144 casks in three sizes, 200ltr, 120ltr and 60ltr  for enthusiasts wishing to be among the first to own a cask from the new Irish whiskey distillery. 

The distillery is also unique in malting from barley grown on its own farm.

This very special limited edition cask offer is called ‘The Patron’s Promise’ and comes with a choice of either pot still or malt whiskey in one of a number of wood finishes. 

Shane Braniff, Echlinville Distillery managing director, says: “Interest in Irish Whiskey has been growing dramatically, particularly in the US over the past five years. 

Cirdan Ultra Ltd, a subsidiary of Cirdan Imaging Limited in Lisburn, a specialist in  medical imaging technology, has acquired the intellectual property and assets of the Centricity Laboratory Division of GE Healthcare IT in collaboration with Kainos Software Limited in Belfast.  Centricity Laboratory Division is headquartered in the US.

Hugh Cormican
Hugh Cormican

As part of the acquisition, Cirdan Ultra has taken on responsibility for the support of the customers using the current versions of the Centricity Laboratory Information System (LIS) products across North America, Asia Pacific and the UK. 

Announcing the important strategic acquisition, Hugh Cormican, Cirdan Imaging’s Chief Executive Officer, said: "Laboratory information systems are becoming even more central to the diagnosis and clinical management of disease.