Northern Irish firm Ashers Baking Co has broken into the export market for the first time, with a deal worth a potential £75,000.

The bakery, based in Newtonabbey, makes a range of products, including fruit loaves, barmbrack, scones and sausage rolls. It has signed a deal with Dublin-based foodservice company VF Foods, which will supply a range of Ashers’ products to public sector organisations in the Republic of Ireland.

“This is the first of several export-led initiatives we are taking, as we have realised that, to grow, we must establish a position in new markets,” said MD Colin McArthur. “Listening to consumer demand has always been at the heart of our business model and, next, we hope to move into Great Britain.”

The firm is also planning to enter the online market with a range of celebration cakes, available to order on the web next year. “The way consumers shop is changing and we need to tap into the online market,” added McArthur.