Derrylin becomes the pizza place

Derrylin-based food processor Tenderlean has secured a major contract to supply the complete range of own label chilled pizzas to Dunnes, the Irish supermarket chain, for its food stores.

Tenderlean is now manufacturing pizzas for the chain’s three brands including its upmarket ‘Simply Better’ range in a deal which has established the Co Fermanagh company as a significant supplier of these convenience foods to retailers throughout the island of Ireland. It follows the company’s successful launch last year of its own premium ‘La Pizza’ chilled range.

The company has taken part in a number of Invest NI initiatives including a series of ‘meet the buyer’ events and the Design Development Programme. The contract with Dunnes was announced during a visit to the company by Ian Murphy, Invest NI’s Managing Director of Clients and Entrepreneurship, and Maynard Mawhinney, Invest NI’s Food Director.

The family-owned and managed business operates from a modern processing plant and is now the largest manufacturer of fresh, chilled pizzas in Ireland. It has a longstanding reputation for excellence in processing beef and lamb products for leading food retailers.

Mark McCaffrey, Tenderlean’s Managing Director, commenting on the new contract, says: “This is a marvelous endorsement of the quality of the pizzas that we are able to produce at Derrylin. What it also does is to strengthen our reputation as a producer of a broad range of convenience meals, a high growth and very dynamic sector, within the food marketplace.

“It’s been a new development which enables us to use our expertise and our reputation as a quality food processor to enhance our overall business offering in a competitive and fast moving marketplace.

“We’ve invested heavily in developing our pizzas, an investment which includes recruiting a top Italian chef who has created new flavours as well as old favourites.

“Key to the growing success of the pizzas is the focus he has brought by using only Italian ingredients including distinctively flavoured hand-stretched and wood fired bases from a specialist bakery in Italy. We’ve worked closely with him and provided our knowledge on products from our own farms and others throughout Ireland.

“Our drive to establish Tenderlean as a leader in chilled pizza production has benefited enormously from Invest NI’s ‘meet the buyer’ and other initiatives to help local food companies boost sales throughout Ireland and to Great Britain. Derrylin is also strategically placed to supply multiple food stores in the Republic and Northern Ireland,” he adds.

Mr Mawhinney, welcoming Tenderlean’s latest success, says: “This is a tremendous boost for the team at Derrylin. Its commitment to new product development in response to market opportunities, identified through its strong relationships with key retailers, is clearly paying dividends.”

“We’ve been working closely with this ambitious and progressive company in the development, branding and marketing of the new products,” he adds.

Tenderlean employs over 100 people at its EU approved processing plant which operates to the highest BRC and Bord Bia hygiene standards.