McErlain’s Bakery has ramped up its business with Tesco, securing deals to supply 460 stores in the UK and all 38 of the retailer’s in-store bakeries in Northern Ireland.

The Magherafelt-based bakery, which produces products under the Genesis Crafty brand, already supplied Tesco in Northern Ireland, but it will be the first time the firm has supplied its stores in the UK.

MD Brian McErlain told British Baker that the business began supplying the UK outlets with a range of its own-brand products Fruit Scones, Big Pancakes and Soda Bagels last month, in a deal worth around £1.2m a year.

Meanwhile, in a deal worth up to £500k a year, the bakery has been developing breakfast products for Tesco’s Finest range, which were launched in its in-store bakeries across Northern Ireland in the past few weeks, said McErlain.

The range comprises four varieties of scone and three types of traditional Irish soda bread. He said they were currently only available in Northern Irish stores, but if the products were successful, he hoped to roll them out to additional outlets, and was keen to increase the amount it supplied to the UK. He added that the bakery was in talks to supply a number of its products south of the border to the Republic of Ireland.

The combined Tesco deals, along with an additional foodservice contract, have meant the bakery has needed to take on extra staff. "We added 25 people at the bakery in April, taking our total to 145," said McErlain.

Last year, it launched a new Irish bakery range at Marks & Spencer, after becoming only the 16th food and drink firm in Northern Ireland to gain M&S supplier accreditation.

>>Genesis Crafty in Marks & Spencer