FROM a market stall to the plates of food fans around the globe, a Bury businesswoman is helping put her hometown on the culinary map.

Now Debbie Pierce has even bigger plans for the Bury Black Pudding Company, which has grown into a thriving business with a £3.5million turnover, supplying most of the country’s major supermarkets.

Debbie, aged 45, started working on her family market stall at the age of 12 and is now responsible for overseeing a team of 63.

She said: "We knew there was a massive gap in the market for black pudding because it was fairly brandless.

"We know we've got a very good quality product.

"Although it's very famous in the North West, we have been concentrating on getting it UK-wide and further afield and into other countries."

Go into most pubs and restaurants and you are likely to find black pudding on the menu, from burgers topped with it to scallops served with the blend of onions, pork fat, oatmeal, flavourings and blood.

With no artificial ingredients and a great source of iron, Debbie says their black pudding rings contain less than 7% fat, the slices, less than 3%, and the gluten free roll, less than 1%.

Debbie, who went to Derby High School, said: "There's been a massive resurgence in old-fashioned food, things like bangers and mash on the menu.

"We've worked hard over the last seven or eight years trying to change the image of black pudding because it had quite an unhealthy image — a guy in a flat cap eating black pudding full of big lumps of fat.

"The cheap and cheerful black pudding does have a high fat content and isn’t as healthy but a good quality one like ours has got massive health benefits.

"Also, chefs have been doing great things with black pudding.

"It shows it's not just a breakfast food.

"At Nutters Restaurant (in Rochdale), he makes the bread you get with your soup with a bit of black pudding in.

"There are so many things you can do with it now, sprinkle it in your mash."

After breaking into international markets — including Europe, the USA, Hong Kong and Australia — Debbie plans to double turnover in the next two to three years.

Debbie, who plays rounders for Fishpool, champions of the Bury league, said: "We have just finished our expansion.

"We have expanded into the two units next door.

"We have just taken on a person to concentrate on marketing and develop the brand.

"And we have also just taken on an export manager to focus on building the export business. He can speak French and Spanish.

"We are looking to grow our export business massively over the next few years.

"We can freeze products on site now, that opens up a lot more opportunities for us.

"But, at the end of the day, we are still a traditional family business.

"Although we are getting bigger and wanting to grow, we are firmly keeping hold of the fact that we are a traditional family business."

Black Puddings first arrived in the UK via European monks, who named the product bloodwurst.

The company was founded in 2002 by Debbie and production director Richard Morris, from Bolton.

Debbie had initially sold black puddings made from Richard’s father Jack’s recipe on Bury Market.

The company is the only manufacturer of Bury black pudding actually based in Bury and their products are stocked by Tesco, Waitrose, Sainsbury's, Asda, Co-op, Morrisons, Iceland, Selfridges and Booker.

Debbie was a guest at an event hosted by the University of Bolton's Business School last night — An Evening with Debbie Pierce — in conversation with broadcaster Gordon Burns.

Giving advice for making it in the world of business, she said: "It's just a matter of getting the right people around you.

"Sticking at what you're good at and getting other people to do things you're not.

"Don't try and do everything yourself.

"It is very tough, when you're dealing with all the supermarkets. You have got to be 100% in everything you do.

"It is tough but it's enjoyable, it's been a great journey.

"We are still only half way there in my mind.

"It's good to be one of the biggest employers in Bury and shout out about Bury."