Foster announces new export success at Ditty’s Castledawson


Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster has announced that Ditty’s Bakery has won a listing from Dean & DeLuca, the US gourmet and speciality food retailer.

The Minister announced the food industry’s latest export success during a visit to the award winning bakery in Castledawson, where she met Robert Ditty, the Managing Director, who was named UK Baker of the Year in 2011.

Ditty’s has won a listing for three of its products in Dean & DeLuca’s popular summer catalogue. The three products are: Irish Traditional Oatcake, Celery and Pepper Oatcake and Oatmeal Biscuit.

Arlene Foster said: “This is an immensely important listing for this enterprising and quality-focused bakery in the huge US marketplace with one of the nation’s most prestigious gourmet food retailers. The listing gives the company a solid platform for growth and is a marvellous endorsement of the three premium products that have now been selected.

“The listing is also an extremely encouraging follow-on from the company’s success in winning business in Dubai last December, another quality conscious and affluent international market that offers great business potential for Northern Ireland food companies.”

Ditty’s has an extensive range of sweet and savoury biscuits and a longstanding commitment to innovation and new product development. The company has won a series of national awards for innovative products such as its smoked oatcakes. It also works closely with other artisan producers in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

The Minister added: “Ditty’s is now a tremendous role model for other small and medium sized enterprises in food of what can be achieved through a dedication to excellence and to the exploitation of new business opportunities.

“Encouraging and assisting companies to develop the new opportunities that are now developing strongly in key markets in the US, Europe, the Middle East and China is at the heart of the Executive’s economic strategy over the next four years.”

Robert Ditty said: “Winning a listing from Dean & DeLuca is a first step for us with this influential retailer. We will be endeavouring to build on this by developing our relationship with the business with a view to building sales and gaining listings for further products. We work alongside our retailers to develop products that meet their specific requirements.

“The awards that we’ve won recently, and the support that we’ve enjoyed from organisers of major events such as last year’s gala banquet in Dublin for the Queen’s successful visit to the Republic, have helped to raise the profile of our product portfolio as featuring high quality, wholesome and tasty breads, sweets and savouries.
“The listing in the US is also an extremely encouraging development of our strategy to grow business outside Northern Ireland.”

The company, established in 1963, employs around 70 people at its baking and retailing operations in Castledawson and Magherafelt. Ditty’s sells products throughout the UK and Republic of Ireland. It has also won export business in export markets such as New Zealand.

Founded in 1977 by Joel Dean, Giorgio DeLuca and Jack Ceglic with the opening of its flagship store in SoHo New York, Dean and DeLuca has grown into a multi-channel retailer of gourmet and speciality foods, premium wines and high-end kitchenware with operations throughout the US and abroad.

Dean & DeLuca speciality products are sold through its 14 retail stores and cafes in select US markets such as New York, Washington DC, San Francisco, Charlotte, North Carolina and the Kansas City metropolitan area. It also operates a consumer and corporate gift catalogue and an e-commerce site.

The company also markets its private label products to other retailers and wholesalers throughout the world.