Blackthorn Foods, the Belfast-based fudge and toffee manufacturer, have been selected to join the Tesco Artisan Programme.

The Tesco Artisan Programme is an initiative aimed at giving local Northern Irish artisan producers the support and capacity to grow their business by providing an opportunity to engage with members of the public, showcase and sell their products in store.

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Blackthorn Foods joined the Tesco Artisan programme following the recent launch of its new free-from range of fudges.

The rise in free-food food demonstrates consumers’ increasing desire for healthier alternatives. Having foreseen this gap in the market, Blackthorn Foods launched a range of fudges that are gluten-free, non-dairy and soya-free.

These new fudges come in four flavours: Madagascan Vanilla; Chocolate; Stem Ginger and Chocolate; and Chocolate and Orange and come in 90g packs and are marketed under the company’s Melting Pot brand. As part of the Tesco Artisan Programme, these products will be available to sample in-store at key dates throughout the year.

Dorothy Bittles, director of Blackthorn Foods, said: “We saw a developing opportunity for a range of products that are made without dairy, gluten and soya, and decided to invest in creating products to meet this demand. We are a family-run company producing award-winning fudge made in small batches so the opportunity to be involved in the Tesco Artisan Programme has given us the platform to reach an audience that would be difficult to reach on our own.”

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