Irish Lumper potatoes
: Glens of Antrim Potatoes
Launched: May 2012

Looks can be deceiving. Glens of Antrim MD Michael McKillop is on a mission to bring some interest and excitement back to the most mature of all grocery categories, particularly in Ireland. The endearingly titled Lumper is a variety of spud that has not been commercially available since before the potato famine in the 1840s and the latest crop was grown from a handful of rare seedlings by a specialist grower in Limavady. Part of Glens of Antrim’s Heritage range, the Lumpers were sold this year in Selfridges. “There is so much more to the humble spud than consumers are aware of,” says McKillop.

Honey-glazed parsnips
: Mash Direct
Launched: 2012

Launched with Christmas in mind and in tandem with its Brussels sprouts and bacon and duck fat roast potatoes, Mash Direct’s honey-glazed parnsips are aimed at consumers looking to take the pain out of festive cooking while still enjoying quality, fresh and additive-free vegetables. “If it isn’t fresh, I won’t use it”, claims Mash Direct MD and founder Martin Hamilton. Mash Direct’s business has grown 30% this year, with the company’s turnover topping £10m in just eight years, suggesting that Hamilton’s philosophy is working.

Jamie Oliver chicken range
: Moy Park
Launched: June 2012

Of course, celebrity chef Jamie has his name on a wide variety of food products, but his tie-up with Moy Park this summer represented the end of a five-year war with the UK poultry industry over the issue of welfare standards. As well as being a huge coup for Northern Ireland’s biggest supplier, the range, which included Empire Roast Chicken with Bombay potatoes, Finger Licking American Barbecue Chicken and a Jubilee Chicken Casserole, signalled Moy Park’s intent to develop a strong value-added convenience food business.