Grace’s Traditional Irish Biscuits are now being stocked in Japan following an internet inquiry.

Shamrock-shaped shortbread and oatmeal biscuits supplied by the company, based in Bangor, Co Down, are available at the Osaka-based Otomo Shoji range of shops.

Grace’s Traditional Irish Biscuits was established in 2004 by managing director William Bullock, who has extensive experience in international markets, with the aim of creating a global food brand based in Northern Ireland.

Bullock said: “We were approached by Naoko Yamaguchi, the managing director of the family-owned retail business, which has around 100 outlets in Japan.

“She was searching for traditional Irish biscuits to add to their portfolio of quality UK brands and was intrigued in particular by our distinctive shamrock shape of premium shortbread and oatmeal products.

“We air-freighted some samples to her and she placed an initial order for both products. Repeat business has followed because of the success of the biscuits with Japanese consumers. It’s tremendously encouraging for us to see our products on the shelves in a leading Japanese retailer.”

Bullock said Grace’s Traditional Irish Biscuits was growing strongly because of a “strategic focus on building sales in global markets”.

He added: “Grace’s biscuits are now sold in the US, Germany and the Netherlands, as well as throughout the UK, where we recently secured business from major retailers, including Morrison’s and Booth’s, and the Republic of Ireland. In addition to the shamrock biscuits, we are growing sales abroad steadily for our Irish breakfast tea, traditional butter fudge and the range of Titanic brand jams.”