UK bake-off and food-to-go giant Country Choice is planning to take on rival Cuisine de France (CDF) on its own turf, by entering the Northern Irish market, which the latter dominates.

A team of 12 key Country Choice staff will be blitzing the market over a two-week period from Monday, visiting as many retailers as they can and offering a series of deals, sampling, free stock, and awareness days in a bid to open accounts.

Richard Acey, sales director of Country Choice, part of UK foodservice supplier Brakes, said there is a three-year business plan to gain a "significant market share", before probably moving south into Ireland and then on to France.

He said: "Our market share in the UK has finally got to the point where all that’s really happening on a day-to-day basis is we’re poaching from CDF and they’re poaching from us.

"We need new geography. We believe the retailers in Northern Ireland are desperate for some choice, and that we’re best-placed to create that choice.

"The foodservice market there is much more advanced anyway, so there is a strategic benefit to get a better understanding of where the UK is headed."

Country Choice’s business development manager Alan Curley will oversee the NI operation, and McCain Foodservice will act as distributor of Country Choice’s food-to-go offer.