Mashed potato pack shot

Northern Irish prepared vegetable specialist Mash Direct has launched its vegetable dishes into the Middle East.

Five retailers across Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates will sell the company’s traditional vegetable dishes.

The deal will see 23 of Mash Direct’s award-winning products retail in Bahrain’s key premium supermarket Alosra.

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More than 40 of the UAE’s largest supermarket chains, including Spinneys, Carrefour, Choithrams and Abela in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, will retail Mash Direct products.

Mash Direct’s expansion is further evidence of the growing strength of the UK Food and Drink export industry.

Jack Hamilton, director of Mash Direct, said the launch into the region was a “significant boost” for the company, which has £12m turnover and employs 140 people.

He added: “UK foods are gaining popularity throughout the world so it’s no surprise that Middle Eastern people are choosing our Northern Irish farm cooked dishes for an authentic taste of the British Isles.

“With the UK export food and drink market rapidly growing, we see this as a very important milestone for the business.”

Mash Direct was formed in 2004 after the Hamiltons saw an opportunity to diversify their traditional 405ha farm at Ballyrainey House, Comber, Co Down, Northern Ireland.

The Hamiltons realised there was a gap in the market for healthier ready-meal vegetable accompaniments.

Therefore, they produced an innovative range of quality, ready-cooked mashed potato, vegetable and cabbage products.

All Mash Direct vegetables are steam-cooked and packaged on the farm. About 50% of the vegetables are grown and harvested on the family farm, with the rest bought in to keep up with demand.