THE director of a growing food brand has pledged to open his first distribution warehouse near York after a sales boom in the Middle East.

Craig Benton has secured a £1.8 million contract to supply locally produced nibbles to a supermarket chain in the Middle East under his brand The London Deli Company.

As the business grows Mr Benton, of Barmby Moor, says he is now working on creating a distribution warehouse near Pocklington, in a move set to create at least 30 jobs.

The London Deli Company, which sells its own branded preserves, crisps, biscuits and confectionery, is the trading name of export firm Luminar, which Mr Benton set up nearly three years ago, aged 24.

Mr Benton said: “I had travelled to the Middle East, and while there saw a huge demand for high-end British products. As a result of that I set up Luminar to accommodate premium exports from the UK. I then thought, instead of selling other people’s brands, why not set up my own?

“Anything with London in the title or the Union Jack on the packaging just flew off the shelves over there, and that’s what formed the basis of The London Deli Company.

“We initially looked into produce that’s easy to export and so far the response has just boomed. The whole brand has snowballed.

“Now the trade routes have been established we will be looking at expanding our product ranges.”

The London Deli Company products have ingredients which are sourced from across Yorkshire, before the finished items are produced at four sites in the region, employing 15 staff in total.

Mr Benton says there is strong potential for further export growth as he is currently in talks with retailers in Europe and India, alongside preparing to launch the brand in China and the US later this year.

He is also working on growing The London Deli Company’s presence with “high-end” retailers in London, having already secured contracts with a number of independent companies.