Avondale Foods, a UK salad-to-snacks group, is making its first move into continental Europe having secured a listing with Netherlands discounter Hema.

The Northern Ireland-based firm has struck a deal to supply Hema with garlic butter dough balls. Avondale secured the listing with the support of Invest NI.

"Our garlic dough balls, one of the most popular chilled bread products with a high-end retailer in Britain, attracted Hema's interest and they placed a contract with us," head of sales Philip Conway revealed. "We've begun to supply the product and are now working closely with the Invest NI team to expand sales with Hema and other major retailers."

Conway said that the company aims to build a "strong base" in Europe and believes it can leverage its presence in the Netherlands to act as a "springboard" to neighbouring regions such as Belgium, Germany and Denmark.