Home grown is best

Avonmore products are chosen an average of 29 times a year by 83% of the population
Avonmore products are chosen an average of 29 times a year by 83% of the population

Research has shown that consumers will choose an Irish-made product over a non-domestic product the majority of the time. The ‘Buy Irish' message is firmly entrenched into the Irish psyche and is continuing to grow. As part of ShelfLife's Irish issue, Fiona Donnellan looks at some of the main players in the Irish grocery produce market


Brand Central

10 September 2013

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Ireland’s master brand

Avonmore was named as Ireland’s favourite brand*; chosen an average of 29 times a year by 83% of the population. The brand holds strong positions across a range of categories from milk, cream, cheese, yellow fats, and fresh soups. Avonmore has been a family favourite in Ireland from the early 1980s. Key to the brand’s success is its Irish roots and a continued passion for delivering quality Irish products. Avonmore is a proud supporter of both the National Diary Council (NDC) and Love Irish Food which guarantees the provenance of quality Irish products. The NDC logo on Avonmore packaging gives consumers the reassurance that they are buying milk or cream that is both farmed and processed locally. The NDC guarantee also directly supports 2,483 local jobs in the dairy sector giving consumers the opportunity to support local jobs by choosing which products to buy.

Avonmore has also become known for its innovative solutions, such as the ‘Easy Pour Jug’, and its range of functional value added milks, such as Super Milk, Slimline Milk, Heart Active and Lactose Free Milk. The brand is continuously innovating with Slimline Milk relaunching earlier this year as the first milk in Ireland to be fortified with extra iron, for added ‘get up and go.’

Avonmore’s range of value-added creams, from Whipped Cream, to Cooking Cream and its newest addition, Fresh Dessert Cream, continue to drive growth in the cream category. The brand’s cheese range has also recently been relaunched with new pack designs, and resealable packs to ensure convenience and freshness. Avonmore continues to be one of the most visible brands on Irish TV, due to its many brand campaigns, as well as its year round sponsorship of the RTÉ TV Weather. The brand has built a strong digital presence over the past few years, which continues to engage consumers directly.

*(Source: Kantar Worldpanel 2013)


The clear favourite

Ballygowan Natural Mineral Water is Ireland’s original and most popular water brand. All Ballygowan is bottled in a dedicated bottling facility in Newcastle West, drawing on an exclusive source. The brand boasts an extensive range of pack formats and sizes which means that great quality, Irish water is always close to hand throughout the day. It’s no wonder that Ballygowan is always topmost in consumers’ minds with higher purchase intent than any other water brand*.

Last year Ballygowan was relaunched with a modern bottle design celebrating the power and brilliance of water. The relaunch has been enthusiastically welcomed by consumers and Ballygowan has seen significant share growth, consolidating the brand’s number one market share position**. There is a big year ahead for Ballygowan. The ‘Drink it In’ consumer campaign will continue to pick up pace with a major new initiative planned to engage consumers and drive further growth of the water market. Ballygowan will also be hitting the shelves in the UK, bringing pure Irish refreshment to more consumers than ever before. Ballygowan is proud to be a founding member of Love Irish Food.

*(Source: Millward Brown)
**(Source: AC Nielsen Scantrack)

Commitment to quality

Barry’s Tea is a long established, family-run business located in the heartland of Cork since 1901. The company has adapted over the years to ensure the brand stays relevant to Irish consumers. However, what hasn’t changed over the years is the enduring commitment to producing the finest quality teas from sustainable sources in the Assam Valley of India, Kenya and Rwanda. As tea blending is something Barry’s has been doing for over 100 years in Cork, the firm believes it understands what Irish consumers want when they sit down to enjoy a cup of Barry’s Tea.

Barry’s says its Irish heritage is hugely important. It understands that tea drinking is one of Ireland’s most cherished rituals, and the distinctive taste of its teas has earned a reputation by word of mouth. This is why Barry’s represents over 65% of the ‘gold blend’ market. The company says it is very much a part of Irish family life and knows that the quality of Barry’s Tea always brings a richer tea drinking experience that makes every moment refreshing, soothing and rewarding.

Barry’s Tea was one of the founding members of Love Irish Food in 2009. According to the company, becoming part of Love Irish Food was a way to support Irish jobs and the Irish food industry. Love Irish Food continues to go from strength to strength and Barry’s Tea is very happy to be a part it.

Enjoy the best bits

Club, the number one Irish soft drink and Ireland’s most popular citrus drink, is a truly iconic Irish brand. Club has always been number one in the market and continues its dominance today with 65% value share of the citrus market*. Club was originally developed in the 1930s by expert syrup maker, Oliver Grace. Unlike competitors, Grace insisted that the whole of the orange should be used, including the juice, pith and the rind. This unique idea was an instant success as people loved the delicious combination of sweet orange juice and real fruit ‘bits’. To this day Club is known for its taste and ability to unlock the ‘best bits’ in life!

In May 2013 Club brought a dynamic new look to the market, new advertising and a new flavour – Club Passion. The relaunch has been a huge success with the brand gaining over four share points in volume and value of the total carbonated drinks market since May. The launch of Club Passion has brought a  new summer taste to the market that has added incremental volume and value to the category.

The reaction to Club’s new advertising – The Club Wingman campaign has been fantastic with huge levels of engagement on-line, that combined with ground-breaking Digital Hub called bestbits.ie, where consumers can get all the best bits of the internet 24 hours a day, seven days a week in one place has meant that the brand is engaging with its core audience across all key consumer touchpoints. Club is also a founding member of Love Irish Food.
*(Source: Nielsen data to 16 July)

The best in fresh

Based in north County Dublin and employing approximately 200 people, Donnelly’s is a purveyor of the freshest seasonal fruit and vegetables, and is 100% Irish-owned.  More than 30 years in business, Donnelly’s has built its reputation on the quality of the fresh produce it sources and the highest level of service provided to its customers, as well as constant innovation and growth. Donnelly’s now daily supplies all retail channels in the Republic of Ireland as well as a multitude of independent and wholesale outlets.

There are many strands to the Donnelly business; Donnelly Fruit and Veg goes to great lengths to select only the finest quality fruit and vegetables through a network of Irish growers and specially selected growers worldwide. Wonderfoods produces great tasting deli salads, ready to eat salad leaves, and prepared vegetables. Glan Arís is Donnelly’s crate-washing operation, providing reusable plastic pallets and crates for the food industry and Donnelly Chilled Distribution is a partnership with BWG Foods to supply all chilled deliveries to stores nationwide.

Donnelly’s also has its own label that it sells some of its fruit, vegetables and salads under. Donnelly’s can be found on Twitter @DonnellyFandVeg, Facebook www.facebook.com/DonnellyFreshFoods, on LinkedIn, and also on its website www.Donnelly.ie.

A family business

As an Irish family business, Flahavan’s is proud to be Ireland’s favourite porridge oat brand. Milling quality oats at the family mill in Kilmacthomas, Co. Waterford, for over 200 years, the company’s Irish heritage and support of the Love Irish Food initiative is very important. Customers appreciate strong Irish brands, which promote trust, expertise and quality. Flahavan’s has been delivering continuous growth to the oats category in line with consumers’ increasing interest in porridge as a healthy breakfast cereal choice. Close attention is paid to the needs and tastes of Irish consumers and the company’s customers, which ensures that products that appeal to the target market are developed. Grown locally, milled and produced in Ireland, Flahavan’s Quick Oats range provides a wholesome breakfast that’s packed with taste, ready in minutes and keeps you going right up to lunch, making your breakfast a pleasure every day.

Flahavan’s has launched a new Golden Syrup sachet as part of its popular Quick Oats range. For generations, families in Ireland have enjoyed the unique taste of Flahavan’s porridge oats. Now the same unique taste is available in Golden Syrup flavoured porridge Quick Oat sachets, specially created to help you enjoy all the wholegrain goodness of Flahavan’s porridge oats. Flahavan’s Quick Oats appeal to on-the-go consumers because they require minimal effort.

Flahavan’s Quick Oats Golden Syrup sachets are available in 10 x 40g servings, are deliciously tasty and easy to prepare in the microwave in just two minutes. Flahavan’s has also introduced a new individual sachet format where consumers can use the free reusable liquid measure provided or simply pour milk or water directly into the sachet and fill to the splash line, making it the ideal portable healthy start to any day either at home or in the office.

Oats are a nutritious, warming food, high in fibre and low in salt and saturated fat. The new Flahavan’s Golden Syrup sachets are the latest addition to the Quick Oats range following the recent launch of its Apple, Raisin & Cinnamon sachets. The range also includes natural, multiseed and organic sachets, drum and portable porridge pots in natural, multiseed, strawberry and organic varieties.


It’s not your wadi, it’s MiWadi

MiWadi is the leading brand within the dilute category with a market share of 43%*. MiWadi is a truly iconic Irish brand and continues to go from strength to strength in the marketplace appealing to all age groups. From small beginnings in 1927, when it was filled by hand in Nassau Place in Dublin and distributed by horse and cart, MiWadi has become one of Ireland’s best-loved brands and continues to be the largest dilute brand in Ireland. It is still produced in Dublin to this day and over 320 million glasses of MiWadi are consumed every year.

MiWadi fruit dilutes are all prepared from sun-ripened fruit and contain real fruit juice. MiWadi has been a fruity and flavoursome part of childhood in Ireland for 85 years and has always remained relevant to Irish families with a wide range of flavours in both regular and no added sugar formulations and is available in both single and double concentrate formats. No added sugar is the key driver of category growth in dilutes as consumers look to reduce sugar intake for their children.

MiWadi is proud to be an Irish brand and to be part of the Love Irish Food initiative.

*(Source: Nielsen Scantrack MAT July 2013)

International brand with local roots

Lily O’Brien’s has been passionately creating mouth-watering chocolates in Co. Kildare since 1992 and now employs more than 110 people 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 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 consumer segments.

A proud member of the Love Irish Food campaign, the Irish chocolatier has maintained its position as one of the top three best-selling premium chocolate brands in Ireland through key confectionery seasons for the past five years, consistently commanding approx. 15%* market share during these key seasons.

*(Source: Nielsen 2013, Sales in Multiples)

Kilbeggan Whiskey is set for a relaunch in the global market fresh on the heels of winning several prestigious awards

Kilbeggan Whiskey is set for a relaunch in the global market fresh on the heels of winning several prestigious awards

An exciting relaunch

Beam Global is excited to present the official relaunch of Kilbeggan Irish Whiskey. Available since 1757, the small village of Kilbeggan, Co. Westmeath has been the home of one of Ireland’s best kept secrets; Kilbeggan Irish Whiskey. Previously awarded with the gold medal at the 2012 San Francisco World Spirits Competition, the silver medal at the IWSC Quality award in 2011, 2010 and 2008, Kilbeggan Irish Whiskey is set for a global relaunch.

Kilbeggan’s 18 year old Irish whiskey was named Best Irish Blended Whiskey in the world for the second year running at the 2013 World Whiskey Awards (WWA). With modern and exciting packaging, Kilbeggan will be introduced to the world as Ireland’s finest whiskey. Like most Irish people, it is easy going and approachable, but with its own distinctive style. The finest grain and malt whiskeys are blended together for a smooth, sweet taste and lovely malt finish, a characteristic of Kilbeggan’s pot still that is over 180 years old and still at the heart of Kilbeggan Irish whiskey.

Kilbeggan Whiskey, through the distribution capabilities of Barry and Fitzwilliam, will now be widely available. Barry and Fitzwilliam is now Ireland’s largest independent drinks distributor, carrying over 100 international brands from the multinational drinks groups Beam Global, Accolade Wines, Remy Contreau, Edrington, Mc Guigan Wines, Villa Maria, Jagermeister, Corona Extra and Corona Light.


Unique character

Tullamore Dew has always had a special place in Ireland’s heart, both geographically and emotionally. It is a whiskey born out of the unique character of the man that created it: from the heartland of Ireland, Daniel E. Williams, general manager of Tullamore Dew, famed for his hard-nosed, no-nonsense attitude and pioneering ideas, brought electricity to Tullamore town in 1893 when no one thought it could be done. He also had the distillery install the first telephones and introduced motorised transport when people did not know how to use them, and also single-handedly created the very first blended Irish whiskey when other distillers couldn’t.

It is this spirit of innovation in the face of adversity, while doing the utmost to support and advance the wellbeing of the local community, which Tullamore Dew carries with it to this day. It is with this in mind that in 2012 Tullamore Dew opened its extensively renovated and upgraded Visitors Centre in Tullamore town, creating dozens of new jobs and bringing increased business to the area, which since then has become a tourist focal point for both Irish and international travellers.

Further to this, Tullamore Dew owner William Grants & Sons was granted planning permission for its pot still whiskey and malt whiskey distillery on the town’s outskirts in December 2012, bringing whiskey production back to the town for the first time since the original distillery closed in 1954. The construction of the €35 million state of the art whiskey distillery started in April 2013 on a 69 acre site and is due for completion at the end of 2014.

See www.tullamoredew.com for more information.

Exclusive products

PostPoint retailers can purchase stamps at a discount exclusively through PostPoint. Stamps are a huge seller during key occasions such as Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and Mother’s Day. In addition to the 4% discount received on every order, PostPoint retailers can purchase stamps conveniently through PostPoint’s tele-sales ordering service and all orders are delivered free of charge straight to the retailers door.

TV licence renewal is another service which PostPoint retailers can offer their customers. In recent years, the service has grown in popularity on the back of a substantial marketing campaign, which included print, TV slots and outdoor advertising.

One4all Gift Cards are only sold through PostPoint outlets and post offices. They make the perfect gift for any occasion and have become a very popular choice for customers. One4all Gift Cards can be ordered free of charge by PostPoint retailers through the support desk or online at www.postpoint.ie/retailer. If you would like information on partnering with PostPoint or have any questions regarding the exclusive services offered, call 1890 20 42 20. 


Tom Durcan, craft butcher for over 30 years

What is the local, Irish story behind your brand?

My love affair with beef began as a youngster and I first learned the craft of butchery working during my school holidays with Jim Kidney’s butcher shop in Carrigaline. Kidney’s also had their own slaughter-house and this provided me with a fantastic education in sourcing animals and learning all the ground rules for good butchery. It was here, that I also first learned about spicing beef, using a recipe that Jim had used since time began (or so I was told!). I still use the recipe today as a basis for my own spiced beef. Spiced beef has been a Cork tradition for generations, especially at Christmas time. During the season over six tonnes of spiced beef crosses the counter at our shop in the English Market, into the hands of home cooks, professional chefs and even celebrities. When Queen Elizabeth II visited Cork in 2011, she too, took some spiced beef home! I began trading in the English Market in 1985. Before then I ran a butcher shop in Douglas supplying many large industries including the Irish army and Navy services and I also spent some time in Denmark where I learned the craft of curing and smoking meats.

Tom Durcan

How important is your Irish identity in driving sales and how have you strived to communicate your Irish credentials?

Sourcing and supplying Irish beef has always been paramount for me. We have so much great tasting produce here in Ireland that I am proud to supply throughout the country via SuperValu and the Musgrave group. I insist that all our beef comes only from Irish cattle that are less than two years old and maize fed for at least three months. We also stock prize winning Hereford Irish beef, which is renowned for its rich flavour. All our stocks are butchered and aged accordingly, with prime cuts being dry aged for up to 28 days.

The butcher shop itself is located in the heart of English Market, which has been a long standing tradition in Cork and is a bustling hub for food shoppers in the city centre. Here you will find a wealth of organic and local produce from small scale producers and family run businesses as well as ethnic foods and spices from across the globe. It is important for me to stay close to our Cork traditions and I continue to work on a daily basis in the shop meeting customers, advising on different cuts of beef and listening to their needs.

How has your business expanded in recent years and how do you intend to grow in the future?

In more recent years, we have specialised in cooked, sliced and packed spiced beef, corned beef and roast beef, all of which are now available in SuperValu supermarkets nationwide. Initially we began supplying local stores and our beef is now available year round, in stores throughout the country. This recent nationwide contract, worth €250,000, has meant increased employment within our own business and of course given me the satisfaction of knowing that our beef is enjoyed on dinner tables throughout Ireland.

We have also been accredited with many awards including three Associated Craft Butchers Awards and two Blas na hEireann, Irish Food Awards. In August this year, we were awarded with a gold star at the Great British Taste Awards and this has opened up many new doors in the competitive British market. I will be supplying Budgens shops throughout Great Britain through my connections with the Musgrave group.

How does your company support Irish jobs?

Directly we have employed two extra staff, bringing our total amount to five in our Cork city shop. Indirectly, we estimate we have secured four other jobs through the processing of our products. The new staff in our shop join our long standing team. At Christmas time, all hell breaks loose and we pull in all the team, including my wife Yvonne, my twin boys Harry and Johnny and any cousins, friends or relations who are willing to survive the busy, seasonal rush. By purchasing only Irish beef, this helps secure the livelihoods of many people involved in the processing of my products along the supply chain. I also have a good relationship with a lot of the farmers whose beef I sell on a day to day basis.

To what extent has your brand identity been shaped by your company history and tradition and do you think this gives you a valuable selling point over rivals?

We have always remained true to our roots and we are proud to be able to bring a unique taste of Cork to homes throughout Ireland. Customers know when they purchase a Tom Durcan’s meat product that they are buying into a tradition and value of over 30 years of craft butchery. Even our product packaging and labelling reflects this; designed and printed locally with a fresh design that still emphasises Cork’s tradition and history. Customers know that they can visit me or our knowledgeable butcher staff any day in the English Market. We are there to reliably explain our meat sources and advise on any cuts of beef. This personal touch and of course the excellent quality, is what keeps bringing customers back on a weekly basis.

Find out more:
Tom Durcan Meats
Princes St Entrance
The English Market

Tel: 021 4279141
Website: www.tomdurcanmeats.ie


Oliver Carty, pork and bacon supplier

What is the local, Irish story behind your brand?
Based in the heart of Ireland in Athlone, Co. Roscommon, the business was set up by Oliver Carty back in the 1960s and the company continues to be run as a family business, with Ted Carty (Oliver’s son) overseeing the day-to-day running of the business in his capacity as managing director.

How has your business expanded in recent years and how do you intend to grow in the future?
We have enjoyed significant growth in the past 15 years – with a turnover of less than €1 million and a staff count of 11 people back in 1997 – growing to an annual turnover of €48 million and a head count of 150 people in 2012. The business continues to go from strength to strength and we can attribute this growth to the strong working partnership we enjoy with SuperValu. We hope to build on this into the future and further develop our working relationship.


How does your company support Irish jobs?
We employ 150 full-time staff in Athlone, Co. Roscommon and the workforce expands at certain busy times of the year, for example during Christmas – a time when we are extremely busy catering for the Christmas ham demand.

How important is your Irish identity when supplying own brand products?
We work closely with Bord Bia and are extremely proud of the fact that all SuperValu own-brand bacon and rasher products carry the Bord Bia Quality Assurance Logo, a badge of honour that gives the customer a sense of confidence that they can trust where the product came from. We have taken this a step further, linking up with the company Identigen to implement a DNA traceback system – ensuring that we can deliver a best in class traceability service to any SuperValu customer, if they wish to find out more about where the own-label bacon or rashers they purchased came from.

Do you think your company history and tradition gives you a valuable selling point over rivals?
Whilst company history and tradition are important and a fundamental part of who we are as a business, they can often be taken as a given in today’s competitive retail environment. In order to stand out from the crowd, we feel the need to continuously improve on key areas of our business – such as quality and innovation, just two areas we put huge focus on internally.

Orange Juice


Paul Walshe, Sunshine Juice

What is the local, Irish story behind your brand?

We set up approximately 14 years ago from a family farm and we converted my father and mother’s old dairy milking parlour. I developed the idea of making fresh juice from the States about 12 years ago. I was on holiday over there and a lot of people were drinking a wide range of juices. Most of them were freshly squeezed and I thought if it’s a trend in America now, it might happen over in Ireland and throughout the UK in a few years to come so that’s where the whole idea started. We subsequently set up in a small 150 sq ft unit in Carlow and started squeezing orange juice. We began supplying a few hotels, restaurants and a couple of shops and then around three years later we started talking to SuperValu and the Musgrave Group in general and we’ve been making freshly squeezed juices for SuperValu and Centra under the own-brand label – the SuperValu Supreme label – for the last eight to 10 years.

How has your business expanded in recent years and how do you intend to grow in the future?

We’ve introduced a lot of new product development (NPD) and exciting new flavours. In the last few years, we’ve launched freshly squeezed apple juice, grapefruit juice and lemonade into the Musgrave Group. We received four Great Taste Awards for our SuperValu range in 2013. We now have six different flavours; we have two smoothies and four juices, all freshly made in Carlow. Four of the six flavours were new products introduced over the last two years so that has increased our market and we are displacing imported products on the shop shelf. We have grown the business locally and nationally through SuperValu and Centra by introducing new flavours and new ranges.

How does your company support Irish jobs?

We would have a core group of 30/35 employees and in the high season we would take on up to 15 additional employees in order to meet demand.

How important is your Irish identity when supplying own brand products?

I think people want to know where the products are made; they’re concerned about food miles. It’s therefore a strength of ours that we’re local and we’re the only company in Ireland that is making freshly squeezed juices and smoothies all under one roof. People want to support Irish and local businesses and they see that we’re creating jobs and we have a great tasting product as well. You have to get the mix right; people won’t buy Irish if the product doesn’t taste good. Our product tastes good and it’s Irish, which is an added plus for people’s shopping baskets.

Do you think your company history and tradition gives you a valuable selling point over rivals?

Our USP is that we make freshly squeezed juices. We press and squeeze our juices on a daily basis and that gives us a better tasting product. Our rivals do not freshly squeeze their products. Some use a high volume of concentrates in their juices or a high volume of not-from-concentrate juices. The fact that we make 100% freshly squeezed juices allows us to deliver the taste factor and the fact that we’re Irish and local is a bonus.

For more information, visit www.walshes.ie and www.sunshinejuice.com.

















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