Sales at Northern Irish bakery Sweet Things have trebled to £1.5m over the past year, driven partly by NPD.

The Newry-based company, which was acquired by food-to-go manufacturer Around Noon in 2016, debuted a 30-strong cupcake range last November which has helped swell trade.

“The cupcakes have added more than £200,000 since launch and sales continue to grow rapidly,” Gareth Chambers, Around Noon CEO told British Baker.

The artisan producer supplies a number of well-known high street retailers and independent stores in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. It has also introduced a new alcohol-free summer cocktail cupcake range themed on drinks like mojitos.

Sweet Things general manager Steve Fogo (pictured) helped develop the new cupcakes and is currently recruiting for a baker as well as a bakery supervisor to help support the company’s NPD pipeline. Over the past year, Sweet Things has grown its workforce from two to 13 people.

Established in 2009 by Ciara Byrne, now company commercial director, and her partner, Ian Fowler, Sweet Things started by selling products at farmer’s markets.

It was bought by Around Noon, a business which makes food for coffee shop chains, convenience and forecourt retailers in the UK and Ireland and manufacturers upwards of 60,000 products including hand-made sandwiches, wraps, salads, snacks, and bakery items.

“We are delighted with the rapid growth that Sweet Things has enjoyed,” Chambers said. “After acquiring the business, we invested significantly in branding and marketing, as well as in new premises for the businesses. We’ve positioned it as a bakery that offers a bit of a ‘rock and roll’ take on bakery, and we did things like add the strapline ‘bad-ass bakery’.

“It has been a strategic acquisition for us that really complements our existing offering. Our customers spend in excess of £10million annually on bakery items, so there is real demand for the kind of products that we offer through Sweet Things. Our customers can now centralise their purchasing of food-to-go and bakery items.”