A nation’s pride
It’s fair to say that Irish products are renowned all over the world for their quality and authenticity at home and abroad. This month we round up some of the most exciting Irish brands and products out there today. Whether they’re brand new innovations or iconic brands, they’re essential for any retailer, writes Doug Whelan
10 October 2016
In the culinary world, ‘Irish’ is a byword for quality and authenticity. One need only look as far as the recent Blas na hÉireann Irish Food Awards in Dingle, Co. Kerry (sponsored by ShelfLife magazine), an event that celebrates the best of Irish food and drink. The exquisite products on show there represent the best of a thriving Irish industry, but there are thousands more Irish-made products stocked in multiples overseas, which enjoy strong sales and the sturdy reputation their country of origin brings. How many times have Irish people living overseas said “the milk’s just not the same” or “the tea bags just aren’t the same”? It’s said in good nature, but there’s definitely something behind it too!
At home, meanwhile, Irish products are naturally a big part of consumer spending habits. Four of the five most popular brands in Ireland* are Irish, while research shows that 41% of consumers deem buying Irish to be an important factor while grocery shopping**.
*(Source: Kantar Worldpanel: 100 Master Brands at Home, May 2016)
**(Source: Bord Bia: Retaining Loyalty to Irish Brands, November 2014)
It’s a widely known fact that Ballygowan is Ireland’s number one water brand, but it’s important to note that it’s also the fifth biggest brand in the Irish soft drinks market by value, and third biggest by volume. Ballygowan is tapping into the consumer demand for healthier options and delivering strong growth of 23% MAT, driving sales of water and soft drinks throughout the market. The exceptional performance from this home-sourced favourite has propelled the brand to deliver an additional €4.8m retail sales in the last year alone*. The secret to success is a commitment to quality and innovation, combined with an engagingly communicated rich brand provenance.
Ballygowan is bottled at source in a dedicated bottling facility in Newcastlewest, Co. Limerick. That source is St David’s Well, first discovered by the Knights Templar more than 800 years ago, and which sits in the grounds of the Ballygowan bottling plant to this day. A strong Irish brand, Ballygowan is a founding member of the Love Irish Food campaign which champions locally sourced goods, supporting Irish jobs. Ballygowan is also a proud supporter of Irish Sport and is Official Hydration Partner to Dublin, Cork, Kildare and Kerry GAA Teams.
The most recent addition to the range is Ballygowan Sparklingly Fruity – a refreshingly different range of low calorie, low sugar Ballygowan water drinks in a stylish can. With just 23 calories in a can and with no artificial flavours, colours or sweeteners, the range is ideally positioned to appeal to consumers looking for healthier refreshment.
*(Source: Nielsen Scantrack June 2016)
East Coast Bakehouse, Ireland’s newest biscuit brand, has recently launched with four delicious cookies: Choc Chunk, Caramel & Pecan, Choc Enrobed Choc Chunk and Stem Ginger & Choc Chunk. The range was launched and tasted by thousands of consumers at Bloom 2016 at Dublin’s Phoenix Park, and all got a universal thumbs up.
Made with Irish butter and Irish oats and proudly baked in Drogheda by a dedicated team of biscuit bakers, East Coast Bakehouse is targeting Irish biscuit lovers who are seeking better biscuits with quality ingredients, as well as switching consumers from imported biscuits, which account for a startling 99% of biscuits sold in Ireland.
Baking biscuits that people love is the number one priority at East Coast Bakehouse and the company wants to produce biscuits with just that bit extra that will get people talking. The Stem Ginger & Choc Chunk was selected as a result of over 2,000 taste tests at Bloom and the Choc Chunk Cookie is a Blas na hÉireann finalist.
With a strong launch budget of over €250,000 that includes radio, sampling, digital, PR and shopper marketing, East Coast Bakehouse aims to capture a significant share of the growing cookie segment. Available in 12 x 160g shelf ready packaging and with a RRP of €2.40 – €2.55, the East Coast Bakehouse range is firmly targeted at the mainstream biscuit consumer with more exciting launches across the biscuit category in the coming months.
To stock up now, contact Primeline Sales and Marketing or your local wholesaler/cash and carry.
Good things, small packages
Resting on the banks of the River Ilen, Glenilen Farm is an idyllic location for dairy farming. The lush hills of Drimoleague, County Cork offer cows a rich and plentiful supply of nutritious grass. In turn, those same cows supply the farm with the rich tasty milk which has become the core ingredient in all of Glenilen’s products. It all starts with the milk! At Glenilen Farm, there is a steadfast belief in the goodness of wholesome, natural food, a belief which ensures that all of the products deliver a pure authentic farmhouse taste for customers.
Glenilen yoghurts have a delicious creamy, natural taste, and are also low in fat and probiotic. The 160g yoghurt (in the much loved jar!) is available in a variety of flavours so there is something to suit every taste. Glenilen yoghurts are available nationwide and are currently on special offer. For more information on the Glenilen Farm brand and its ranges, visit www.glenilenfarm.com.
The one and only
Guinness is the world’s most popular stout. The iconic beer is brewed in 49 countries worldwide and sold in over 150, with almost 9 million glasses of Guinness enjoyed every day around the world. This year, Island of Ireland sales of Guinness grew by 4% and the brand’s volume share is now at 34.5% in the on-trade in the Republic of Ireland. What this means is more than one in every three pints sold in the pub is a Guinness brand.
This has been a momentous year for Guinness as it opened up its experimental brewery to the public for the first time in its history. Since opening 10 months ago, the Open Gate Brewery has become one of Dublin’s hidden gems. Every Thursday and Friday evening, beer enthusiasts have a chance to meet the brewers in their place of work and sample what they’ve been brewing up. As well as pouring famous Guinness stout, the brewers also share early, small-batch versions of their experimental beers, most of which will never leave the gates.
Guinness continues to support local communities through its long standing partnerships with the GAA, the Galway Races and Guinness Cork Jazz Festival among others. The October bank holiday weekend, sees Cork host the Guinness Cork Jazz Festival, now in its 34th year. The festival which began as a local celebration is now regarded as one of the best jazz festivals in Europe, attracting more than 40,000 revellers to Cork for the weekend and is worth an estimated €7 million to the local economy.
More information can be found at Guinness.com.
Passionate about chocolate
Lily O’Brien’s has been passionately creating mouth-watering chocolates in Co. Kildare since 1992 and currently employs more than 120 at its headquarters in Newbridge. Founded by Mary Ann O’Brien in her kitchen and named after her daughter, Lily O’Brien’s has grown into a truly international brand over the past two decades, with exports accounting for more than 85% of annual turnover.
Positioned as an ‘affordable luxury’, Lily O’Brien’s has maintained its position in the Irish market as one of the country’s best-loved premium chocolate brands with consistent market share, proven sales performance and a depth of range which appeals to a broad spectrum of consumers.
A proud member of the Love Irish Food campaign, the Irish chocolatier has been consistently ranked in the top three best-selling premium chocolate brands in Ireland. With stylish packaging, award-winning chocolate recipes and a range of products tailored to meet consumers’ shifting need-states, budgets and evolving tastes, Lily O’Brien’s consistently commands approx. 13% market share in the premium confectionery category during key confectionery seasons (Source: Nielsen 2016, Sales in Multiples).
Having launched its luxury chocolate bar range (80g) earlier this year, it was recently awarded a Great Taste award for its Delectably Dark Orange & Bergamot bar, which is available in key retailers nationwide. The range has performed extremely well since launch and continues to deliver positive sales growth and gain market share in the very competitive impulse sector.
As an Irish company on the world-stage Lily O’Brien’s proudly flies the flag for Irish quality, competitiveness and professionalism. The company is mindful of its contribution to the local community and wider economy, working with Irish suppliers whenever possible. The passion Mary Ann felt for her chocolate products back in her 1992 kitchen can still be felt throughout the business to this day and remains at the heart of what makes Lily O’Brien’s stand out from competitors in a very busy Irish and international marketplace.
Quality first, always
Since it was established in 2009, Truly Irish has gone from strength to strength. It currently supplies the Irish, UK and European markets. Uniquely, Truly Irish has full control of its pork supply chain, allowing the company to maintain the highest standards of quality in its meat. This has always been the mentality of Truly Irish: a refusal to compromise quality for profit.
Quality is of utmost importance when considering the nutritional value of food. Truly Irish works continuously on reducing the salt and sugar contents of its meats along with the saturated fat content. The new sausage recipe encompasses all of these qualities and more as the sausages are rich in protein, free from MSG and contain natural oats. They are an ideal centrepiece to any family meal and nutritionally conscious shoppers will not be passing them. Similarly, the Truly Irish roasting back bacon joint is rich in high quality protein and cooks in one hour without losing its shape. It is great for dinner or chilled and sliced for school lunches.
Recently the Truly Irish brand has extended across to dairy and cereal products. As with the branded meats range Truly Irish has ensured nothing but quality Irish ingredients are used. The granola has one of the lowest sugar contents available at 6.5% and it is proven to reduce cholesterol (contains oat-beta glucan which is proven to reduce cholesterol). The new Gluten Free Protein Porridge caters to a wide range of consumers as it is suitable for coeliacs and is registered with the Coeliac Society of Ireland. The porridge also has added milk protein containing whey and caseins, promoting muscle development and satiety.
Further showing its commitment to Irish producers and consumers, as of April 2016 Truly Irish became a verified Origin Green member. As part of this plan, Truly Irish has committed to using 100% Irish pork, dairy and oats in its ingredients. The company has also made commitments in education and health within the plan which will come to fruition over the next three years.
It is without doubt that Truly Irish is working hard to support Irish farmers and promote Irish produce in Ireland and around the world. Most importantly, it has not veered from the mission to supply the consumer with quality Irish food. Irish by name, Irish by nature!
Ready to crumble
Murryhill Foods last month launched Crumble’n’Crunch, a brand-new range of crumbled cheese with complementary toppings designed to enhance salads, pizza dishes and more. Developed by Murryhill Foods through participation in the Bord Bia, Enterprise Ireland and Teagasc Food Works Programme, Crumble’n’Crunch won the Innovation in Food Award at JumpStart 2015.
The range comes in three varieties, and can be tossed onto fresh leaves to create a healthy and delicious salad, or sprinkled onto a pizza base to add texture and flavour.
The three varieties are:
- Crumbled Goat’s Cheese with Beetroot & Walnut Crumb
- Crumbled Mature Cheddar Cheese with Maple, Bacon and Oat Crumb
- Crumbled Mozzarella, Red Cheddar, White Cheddar and Parmesan with Seasoned Crispy Onions
Each pack serves up two portions and is completely resealable, reducing waste for the consumer.
Crumble’n’Crunch is the only complementary crumbled cheese product range on the market that gives extra texture and taste to dishes. It started life on a kitchen table as the partners focused on the key trends identified in their research: a desire to eat healthy ingredients delivered in convenient formats that suit busy modern lifestyles. As well as utilising Bord Bia’s research resources, Ainé Kinsella and Niamh Duffy travelled extensively across the UK and USA, visiting innovative food service operators and food retailers.
Sourcing only the finest ingredients from approved facilities located in Wexford and Cork, Murryhill Foods combine them creatively to the highest standards at the LINC Learning and Innovation Centre, Blanchardstown, Dublin.
Creating local jobs
Celtic Pure is sourced locally from deep beneath the Drumlin Hills in Co. Monaghan. Since its humble beginnings in 2000, Celtic Pure water has grown to produce 120m bottles per annum with a wide distribution base nationwide in conjunction with retailers such as Dunnes Stores, Aldi, BWG Group, Gala and Apple Green.
With a pack size for every occasion, the high quality water source has been used by the McEneaney family for the past 300 to 400 years. Not only is the natural spring water sourced locally, the unique bottles are manufactured onsite under a Quality Management System which reduces their carbon footprint and manufacturing costs.
A new 65,000 sq ft warehousing operation and offices are currently being constructed adjacent to the existing facility on the outskirts of Corcreagh, Co. Monaghan, and will house a technologically advanced management and tracking system, new bottling lines and additional office space for the company’s expanding workforce. The new warehousing facility will enable Celtic Pure to store 14,000 pallets and increase production to 250 million bottles per annum.
Chief executive of Celtic Pure, Padraig McEneaney said that the investment in company facilities will further create 25 + new jobs. “We will increase our annual production capacity by 65% and see our annual turnover rise twofold by 2017,” he said. “Our target is to bring the business to the stage where we can target sales of €20 million to €25 million.”
The fast-growing mineral water brand has won accolades including the Bord Bia ‘Success at Home’ for adaption and innovation, and the esteemed SFA’s Manufacturing Company of the Year 2015 for outstanding achievement in business growth and management. The still and sparkling water range has been recognised with four international gold medals from the British Bottlers’ Institute.
For more information, contact Celtic Pure on 042 9691820.
Irish and healthy
Ireland’s fastest growing soft drink is truly Irish! It’s a testament to Irish creativity that Vit-Hit is competing with and surpassing sales of many of the international, mainstream brands in Ireland. With sales of nearly 16 million units per year in 10 countries worldwide, Vit-Hit has become a serious competitor to less healthy sugary drinks. With listings which include names such as Boots, Tesco, El Corte Ingles and Superdrug, European retail seems to be waking up to the fact that low calories and no added sugar are benefits that are here to stay.
With growth this year of over 300%, Gary Lavin, founder of Vit-Hit says it shows the strength of the brand, after 15 years of Vit-Hit, people are still embracing change and moving away from sugary drinks, over to the healthier, lower calories. This month, the brand is launching in Denmark and Norway with national distribution. “It’s important for us to build significant relationships with distributors in other countries,” Lavin says, “as they are representing us in everything they do. We are extremely selective with our partners, we need to know that our brand is in safe hands, and we believe we have found that in Scandinavia.”
Most significantly, Vit-Hit has just completed a successful test and launch stage in the US market. “It was a logical step for us,” Lavin says. “We tested the market 12 months ago with very strong results in Virginia, and have since set up a base there and launched across the state in July. Our plan is to treat the first state like a country, then when we succeed there, move to another state, and so on.”
The sky is certainly the limit for this brand.