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In a major boost for Northern Ireland’s agri-food sector, two local businesses – Finnebrogue in Downpatrick and Karro Food Group in Cookstown – have partnered to secure a sizzling £multi-million UK contract with Asda to supply its entire range of Extra Special sausages and hot dogs.

The biggest own label contract to be won by any Northern Ireland Asda supplier to date – with an estimated 3 million packs set to sell throughout the summer months alone – the Extra Special sausage range will be available in over 400 stores across the UK.

The growth of its own-label supply contracts has also resulted in job creation at Finnebrogue, which has recruited 60 new staff to help it meet product demand.
The Extra Special range developed for Asda includes 22 different product lines ranging from New York City inspired Hot Dog Sausages to hot Louisiana Cajun Spiced Sausages and smoky sweet Tennessee Barbeque Pork Sausages.

Top quality pork sourced from high-welfare farms across Northern Ireland is initially prepared at Karro Food Group’s Cookstown plant. The meat is then transferred to the multi award-winning Finnebrogue estate in Downpatrick where the sausages are hand-made in small batches using only prime cuts from the shoulder and belly, and blended with natural flavourings and spices.

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Posted in Press Centre on 15 May 2014
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  • News comes as Asda unveils the first in a series of special Mumdex reports in the run up to the 2015 election tracking the mood of the nation’s mums
  • The new series of reports will look at mums’ views of their lives in the UK today, the biggest pressures facing their families and what they feel Government should do to help
  • As few as one in 10 mums feel politicians have their best interests at heart
  • 81% of mums say policies addressing the cost of living would impact where their pen lands at the polls

With one year to go until the 2015 general election, Asda’s latest Mumdex report, which was unveiled at the Houses of Parliament today (8th May), has for the first time revealed the value of mums’ vast, yet hidden, contribution to the UK economy.

The report, which polls over 11,000 mums, found that the hours of unpaid work and care carried out by mums up and down the country amounts to £37.2 billion a year – equivalent to the country’s annual defence budget.

Read more and see full report
Posted in Press Centre on 08 May 2014
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  • Household spending increased year-on-year in every region of the UK in March; Northern Ireland and the North East saw some of the biggest gains, helping to close the gap with London
  • Cost of living in London is rising faster than elsewhere in the UK, holding back spending power growth in the Capital
  • The average UK household had £170 a week of discretionary income in March 2014, up £7 a week year-on-year, the sixth month in a row that families have seen their household incomes rise
  • The increase in spending power was driven by unemployment falling to its lowest rate in five years in the month of March – down by one percentage point year-on-year and a slowdown in the rate of inflation thanks to a huge fall of 6.6% in petrol prices

The latest Asda Income Tracker has revealed that the effects of the economic recovery are starting to be felt across the UK with discretionary incomes now rising in every region. Northern Ireland and the North East experienced some of the strongest growth in the three months to March, rising 4.8% and 5.5% respectively, with the North East benefiting from rapidly rising wages in the construction and manufacturing industries, which the region relies on.

Read more and see full report
Posted in Press Centre on 23 April 2014
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Today (Monday, 7th April) Doug McMillon President and CEO of Walmart met with the Rt. Hon. David Cameron MP at Asda’s Clapham Junction store in London.

Mr McMillon, who recently took on the role of President and CEO of Walmart, is in the UK as the world’s largest retailer prepares to hold its first ever Board meeting in the UK. Mr McMillon showed Mr Cameron around the London store, which is one of 577 Asda stores in the UK. Asda became part of the Walmart family, which operates over 11,000 stores globally and employs 2.1 million people, in 1999.

Following the visit, Mr McMillon, who until recently oversaw Walmart’s international operations said:

“It has been a pleasure to meet with the Prime Minister today and reaffirm Walmart’s commitment to investing in the UK. We know that the UK is a great place to do business and since Walmart acquired Asda 15 years ago we have been able to invest £8bn in the UK economy – creating over 100,000 jobs, opening 342 new Asda stores and bringing lower prices to millions of customers.

“A seismic shift in the structure of the retail market is underway – not just in the UK – but right across the world. Asda recognised the change in its market and took early action to develop and implement a strategy that will see it grow – creating more new jobs and bringing real value to more customers in the UK.”

Asda’s five year strategy has the potential to create up to 12,000 new jobs in parts of the country where Asda does not currently have stores.

Prime Minister David Cameron said:

“Supporting business, creating jobs and cutting taxes are all part of our long-term economic plan. Yesterday, our tax reforms cut income tax for 26 million people and will help businesses to create jobs. I am delighted that Asda is continuing to invest heavily in the UK, creating another 12,000 jobs that will give people financial security for the future.”

Posted in Press Centre on 07 April 2014
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  • The average UK household had £169 a week of discretionary income in February 2014, up by £5 a week year-on-year, representing the fastest growth in family spending power since November 2012
  • The latest increase is the fifth month in a row that families have seen their household incomes rise
  • Family spending power in February was boosted by a slowdown in the rate of inflation, which dropped to just 1.7% – beneath the Bank of England’s 2% target
  • A fall in the cost of petrol, which is 5.1% lower than the same month last year, eased the pressure on household finances

The latest Asda Income Tracker has revealed that families had £5 a week more discretionary income in February 2014 than in the same month the year before. The rise in discretionary income – the income left once taxes and the spend on essentials like rent, utilities and bills have been deducted – in February is the fastest increase seen since November 2012. Household incomes were boosted by two major factors including slowing inflation, helped by a drop in petrol prices, and a 1.6% increase in private sector wages, which have experienced their fastest growth since December 2012.

Find out more and read the full report.
Posted in Press Centre on 31 March 2014