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Lidl invested €1 billion in Irish agri-food businesses last year, according to a report by the retailer.

Its latest Supplier Impact Report says that €682m of its investment went towards products for its Irish stores.

The remainder - €318m worth of Irish food and drink – was exported to its outlets in other countries.

"Since 2018, we have been working hard to increase our customer offering, expanding our product range by more than 40% and tripling our buying team to focus on sourcing as many Irish products as possible, helping customers to do their full shop with Lidl while also buying top quality Irish products," said Lidl Ireland and Northern Ireland CEO JP Scally.

"As we look ahead to this upcoming year, we look forward to nurturing new and fruitful supplier partnerships and supporting even more local businesses to success."

Lidl said that, as of last year, it had over 400 Irish suppliers.

At the start of 2022 Lidl struck a €20m supply deal with Cork-based Keohane Seafoods, which has seen its products stocked in Lidl stores in countries including Britain, Germany and the US.

Last month the retailer agreed a €17m deal with Tipperary ham and bacon producer Honeyvale Foods, which is now exporting to Lidl stores in Portugal, Poland and Denmark.

Lidl has also invested €7m in its Bord Bia-supported Kickstart Supplier Development Programme, which helps start-ups in food and drink to develop and advance their offering.

"Over the past 20 years, Lidl has demonstrated a strong commitment to sourcing Irish produce, giving a wide range of Irish food, drink and horticulture producers access to a large customer base in Ireland as well as export opportunities," said Bord Bia CEO Jim O'Toole.