Northern Ireland food group Linwoods Foods has added a range of healthy "superfoods" to its portfolio, marking a diversification from its core bakery and dairy products business.

Linwood has made a move into milled, blended and organic seeds and berries. Among the new products are organic milled flaxseed sourced from Canada, sundried whole goji berries from China and other varieties of healthy organic seeds from around the world.

Linwood said the diversification had been made possible by a GBP0.6m (US$1.2m) investment in plant and packaging. The company is aiming to increase exports, while developing innovative new seed combinations for the rapidly growing health food market.

"After experiencing a steady increase in our sales of milled organic flaxseed, we realised that we could produce other variants of organic cold-milled seed products locally which would be of superior quality," said Linwood's sales and marketing manager Joanne Hayden. "We have had great success in the local market across health stores and pharmacies, giving us the confidence to look further afield."

Hayden added that the company was already making "excellent progress" in developing sales of its superfoods range in the UK, Ireland and further afield, with distribution through almost 70% of health stores in the UK. In addition, sales were reported to be growing in Spain and the Netherlands.