Ballymena firm wins £350,000 Tesco contract

Caoimhe Mannion, Marketing Manager of Tesco NI and Alan McKeown, Commercial Sales Manager at Doherty & Gray.
Caoimhe Mannion, Marketing Manager of Tesco NI and Alan McKeown, Commercial Sales Manager at Doherty & Gray.

Ballymena based meat company, Doherty & Gray, has secured a major new contract with Tesco Northern Ireland.

The company will produce a range of Tesco Finest-branded burgers and Tesco beef burgers to selected Tesco stores across Northern Ireland, developed with support from Tesco NI Technical Manager Leanne Black.

The contract will be worth around £350,000 in it’s first year to the Co. Antrim food firm, and will introduce locally-produced burgers to the shelves just in time for the barbecue season!

The listing has increased Doherty & Gray’s annual business with Tesco Northern Ireland by around 30% and the addition of two more employees to it’s staff of 90. This follows a company decision to invest approximately £200,000 in the latest production and packaging equipment as part of a continual improvement programme which will allow the company to fully engage in further strategic growth opportunities.

Doherty & Gray, which has been in business for 63 years, first started to supply Tesco in Northern Ireland 20 years ago. Apart from the Finest burgers, Doherty & Gray supplies Tesco Northern Ireland with several other lines, including its renowned Hull’s Vegetable Roll, Tesco Finest Sausages, and Tesco Butcher’s Choice sausages and burgers.

Speaking about the production methods, Alan McKeown, the company’s commercial sales manager, said: “Superior production techniques were used to give customers a rustic burger with an open texture for an enhanced eating experience. We have used store cupboard fresh ingredients where possible to deliver a fantastic burger experience. For example, the Finest Chilli Flavoured Beef Steak Burger is a made using fresh chilli and scotch bonnet puree giving it a flavoursome fiery taste, the Finest Caramelised Onion Beef Steak Burger used fresh onions and delivers a meaty burger with a sweet, onion aroma and the Finest Beef & Pepper Steak Burger delivers a meaty flavour with prominent black pepper heat the whole way through. Each burger has a unique and delicious flavour.”

“The company has a highly skilled workforce and prides itself on making the highest quality sausages and burgers to be enjoyed by consumers. The Tesco Finest Burgers will all be made using locally sourced Northern Ireland Beef.” Alan added.

Leanne Black, Technical Manager from Tesco Northern Ireland said: “At Tesco Northern Ireland, we are extremely proud of this new investment with Doherty & Gray as it is another step in our commitment to the local farming and agri-food community. It also gives Tesco NI another opportunity to bring an excellent product to our customers, made with the best ingredients, at an affordable price.”

Tesco spends almost £590 million on Northern Irish products each year. It has over 1,200 local product lines on its shelves produced over by 90 suppliers and 6,000 farmers.

For more information on local Northern Irish food and recipes, visit, Tesco Northern Ireland’s new online magazine that celebrates local food and drink.