Artisan bakery group, The Com-pany of Irish Bakers has launched its first range of products, including Irish porter cake and fruit brack.

The group includes four artisan bakeries in Northern Ireland and one in Co Donegal in the Republic, with each of the bakeries contributing its own product.

Co Donegal-based Gala Bakery is making Ballybofey spiced fruit cake, and Heatherlea Bakery in Bangor, Co Down, is making Bally-holme Irish oatmeal biscuits.

The Corn Dolly Bakery in Newry is contributing Carlingford porter cake, while Hunter’s Bakery in Limavady Roe Valley fruit brack. Robert Ditty’s bakery in Castle-dawson is producing Sperrin Valley smoked oatcakes.

Robert Ditty, the driving force behind the company said: "We are maintaining the artisan nature of our products, while creating a very strong market identity. These are retro products, with packaging that appeals to a younger audience."

The bakeries have been working together since 2004 with Invest NI, which aids businesses in Northern Ireland. The five bakeries have also created an online community. Robert Ditty said a consumer launch would take place at the end of June, in Belfast and Dublin.