‘Kick Start’ alumni Hellbent secures permanent listing with Lidl Northern Ireland as retailer announces applications now open for 2022 supplier development programme 


Lidl Northern Ireland today announced the launch of its Kick Start Supplier Development Programme for 2022, welcoming applications from artisan producers across the region keen to grow their brand, build their supply network and reach more consumers.


Launching the ground-breaking programme for a fifth consecutive year, Lidl Northern Ireland also confirmed that it has signed an annual supply deal worth £340,000 with Holywood, County Down-based spicy meat maker Hellbent to supply its succulent Chakalaka Boerewors to all Lidl stores within the island of Ireland on a permanent basis and for a limited summer promotion in UK stores.


The brainchild of South African-born Ulster Rugby aces Louis Ludik and Schalk Van der Merwe, Hellbent secured a coveted place on Lidl Northern Ireland’s Kick Start programme only last year.


Proving a big hit with shoppers at Northern Ireland’s fastest-growing supermarket retailer, Hellbent has grown exponentially since then and this latest deal with Lidl Northern Ireland will help propel its success even further.


Hellbent’s eye-catching products combine a delicious fusion of South African flavours quality Irish meat produce, creating a new taste sensation that pays homage to both countries and cultures.


Featuring a tasty line-up of beef and pork products, Hellbent benefited from a range of in-store promotions across 215 Lidl stores across the island of Ireland as part of last year’s Kick Start programme, proudly showcasing its Original and Chakalaka Boerewors spiced using traditional farmhouse seasoning, Hellbent Burgers, Black & White Pudding as well as seasonal festive Cranberry & Feta Sausages.

The Lidl Northern Ireland Kick Start programme is designed to help small and medium-sized local food and drink producers grow their brand, build their supply network and reach new customer audiences, upping their potential to open up new export opportunities.


As well as the limited edition in-store promotion, Kick Start also provides ambitious producers with free business development seminars delivered by a panel of Lidl and wider industry experts, covering key disciplines such as quality control, supply chain management, branding and distribution.


Since its launch in 2017, the programme has grown exponentially and is now delivered in partnership with the Northern Ireland Food & Drink Association (NIFDA), providing a significant boost to the programme and additional benefits and opportunities for selected suppliers.


More than 50 Northern Irish artisan products and dozens of local businesses have been led to success through the Kick Start Supplier Development Programme including Copeland Gin in Donaghadee, Refuge Hot Chocolate brewed in Belfast and Noisy Snacks from Newtownards to name just a few.

The Lidl Kick Start Supplier Development Programme is just one of the many ways in which the retailer supports local suppliers.


Last year, Lidl Northern Ireland struck a deal worth £500,000 annually with County Antrim coffee roasters SlumberJack Coffee to supply their Italian Espresso whole bean and ground coffee across all stores within the island of Ireland. Other supplier deals signed in 2021 include an expanded contract worth £2.7 million with Irwin’s Bakery and a significant £24 million deal with Fermanagh-based bakery, Crust & Crumb, for an expanded pizza line.


Hellbent’s Chakalaka Boerewors are available in all Lidl stores across the island of Ireland from 6 April 2022, priced at £3.99.


For more information on the Kick Start Supplier Development Programme, visit lidl-ni.co.uk/kickstart