Beginning ProfileTree’s series of Food in Northern Ireland, Indie Fude’s Laura Bradley sits down with us to discuss her passion for local, ethical, and sustainable produce. With a background in the food and drink industry, Bradley takes us through what sets Indie Fude apart from the standard supermarkets. Check it out!
Indie Fude, a deli based in Comber, is run by business partners Johnny McDowell and Laura Bradley. Opening our discussion, Bradley reflects on how Indie Fude began. After Bradley’s experiences in the food and drink industry, she was running a successful blog when Johnny McDowell, her business partner, reached out to her on social media to test some of his finest foods at a pop-up shop he had established. After becoming a regular customer and with her expertise, McDowell invited her to work for him, within six months signing on as a full business partner.
Indie Fude endeavours to keep their products close to home. Bradley reflects, “The shop has a really strong ethos for local produce. Everything in the store is from the island of Ireland.” A true niche facility, Indie Fude supplies Irish products with a multicultural spin from curry paste being made in Limerick to Dexter beef from Comber, there is an array of foods to curate to anyone’s palate.
Growing from strength to strength, Indie Fude has grown into a scrumptious deli but also boasts other avenues of income. Describing their offerings Bradley reveals, “On the corporate side we would do a lot of hampers because they make a great corporate gift.” With an incredible display of Irish produce, Bradley believes that receiving a hamper is something people would utilise, that food is used and a thoughtful gift. In addition to receiving a unique gift, Bradley believes what they do only serves to enhance the local economy and community.
“Because it’s all local businesses, it’s us as a local business supporting local businesses. So, it’s us as a smaller business putting and branching out. We work with about 200 other local businesses now so you know everything is interconnected. It also ticks a corporate responsibility box a bit as well because you’re investing back into your local economy and giving that message to people that you know that you do care and everything from the package packaging is all recyclable”
Due to the intimacy that they work with suppliers, Indie Fude gives fresh knowledge and expertise to the food and drink industry. McDowell was asked to judge the World Cheese Awards in Amsterdam this year creating even more prestige for the Comber deli. Bradley believes “It’s all about connections” though. Working with over 200 suppliers, Bradley discusses how they have developed friendships and relationships with these businesses, “[because we] Buy mainly directly from the producers, they’re really keen to support us as well.”
“There’s so much more value in shopping with small producers, not only from putting money straight back into the economy but just from the way it’s made, there’s so much care and attention put into the process and you can trace it back so easily. You know like the beef in the shop from the Dexter cattle, I mean they’re in the fields around my house I know they’re in those fields. At this time of the year, they’re eating mixed pasture there.”
Not only does Indie Fude offer hampers and gift baskets for personal and corporate clients, but they also run corporate events. What makes these corporate events special is their flexibility. With event space on-site, Indie Fude can deliver supper clubs and demonstrations to full-scale corporate tasting events. Bradley reveals, “We use stuff from the shop to showcase what you can buy”
Another exciting prospect is Indie Fude’s future food tours. Laura Bradley divulges, “We’re just starting to roll out a food tour as well, so it’s going to be around the Strangford Lough area because that’s our kind of vicinity and a really special area” Working with local facilities and suppliers such as The Echlinville Distillery, Fodder, and Finnbrogue Woods, these food tours make an excellent alternative team building day. They also plan to deliver a public tasting day tour in the future as well.
Bradley recognises its “A really intimate thing to do is feed someone” but believes that their products offer a personal and considerate gift. In addition to their physical store, Indie Fude has an online store that showcases a plethora of products that can be ordered and delivered worldwide. Find them here at https://www.indiefude.com/foodhall/
Laura’s full interview can be accessed via the official ProfileTree Youtube Channel, joining business leaders from across Northern Ireland and beyond. To enjoy more industry-leading insights, follow the channel, and don’t forget to like and share. As always, to find out what the power of digital strategy can do for your business, contact the team at ProfileTree today!