Your health is your wealth!

Ireland as a nation has a firm focus on health, with Bord Bia data showing that almost nine out of 10 (87%) of Irish consumers regard their diet as fairly or very healthy. With that in mind, Gillian Hamill outlines the brands in demand as the healthy eating trend continues to flourish


Brand Central

25 August 2022 | 0

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Demonstrating the importance that Irish consumers place on healthy living, a study published by Spar Better Choices in January of this year, found that 98% of Irish people plan to make better choices when it comes to looking after themselves in 2022. While the dawning of a new year always brings a renewed focus on health and wellbeing, the study nevertheless reflects how a focus on health and wellbeing has increased over the years for Irish society, particularly within on-the-go options. The report found people’s main reason for wanting to make better choices was to improve overall health and quality of life, with 44% saying they would prioritise making changes to their diet and eating habits, while a further 44% were planning to increase physical activity levels and 12% say they would prioritise their mental health.

The better choices that people intended to make in 2022, include exercising more (73%), eating less treats and snacks (61%), eating more fresh food (54%) and eating more fruit and vegetables (53%).

In terms of what motivates people to make healthier choices, the survey found the top factor was ‘improving overall health and quality of life’ (58%), followed by ‘setting a good example for my family’ (10%), ‘increase energy levels’ (10%), improve fitness levels (9%), improve mental health (6%) and finally, ‘to live longer’ (6%).

Of course, all parents want what’s best for their children and eating right is essential for their health, both now and in the future. Sometimes eating well can be difficult for busy families. But the habits children learn at a young age will stay with them for life. According to from Growing Up in Ireland (GUI) published in 2019, 15% of five-year olds in Ireland were overweight and 5% were obese. Parents are concerned about the wellbeing of their children and want to make the right dietary choices to keep their little ones healthy, which puts levels of sugar, salt and fat in products which target children are under scrutiny. Many brands have responded to this interest by producing healthier alternatives to traditional sweet and savoury products.

Previous Bord Bia Periscope data from 2015 showed almost nine out of 10 (87%) of Irish consumers regard their diet as fairly or very healthy and this figure is the highest for all eight countries surveyed – Ireland and Great Britain, four Continental European markets, the US and China. Some 73% of Irish people say they eat healthy to take control of our lives, while 79% of Irish people consider what they eat to be really important for their mental wellbeing. Interestingly, it was reported at the time that 7% of Irish people now have a Nutribullet, 37% have a juicer and 31% have a smoothie maker. In the same vein, 49% of people have a steamer which was up from 34% in 2003 and deep fat fryers have dropped in ownership from 65% in 2003 to 42% twelve years later. Some 41% of Irish people claim to be following a balanced diet with 4% following a high protein diet.

As the trend continues to grow, here we explore the best new and classic products in the category.

Packed full of wholesomeness

The Thanks Plants range of vegan meat substitutes includes flavoured sausages and an Everyday Roast, as well as the NoMoooo Burger

For a wholesome plant-based alternative to meat, Irish company Thanks Plants is expanding its range of vegan meat substitutes. As well as a range of flavoured sausages and Everyday Roast, Thanks Plants recently introduced a NoMoooo Burger.

“When making this burger, we’ve put in as many great ingredients as possible while still keeping the meaty bite,” says Thanks Plants founder, Aisling Cullen.

“The recipe includes black beans, pearl barley, fresh carrots, beetroot, mushrooms and spices,” she adds. “The vegetables are blended so they are hidden within the burger which is great for my kids who can be picky eaters.

“We also felt that the burger didn’t need any oil in the recipe, making it a healthier product for all the family.”

The Thanks Plants NoMoooo Burger includes black beans, pearl barley, fresh carrots, beetroot, mushrooms and spices

Thanks Plants prides its recipes on good wholefood kitchen ingredients, with no nasties or artificial ingredients that other companies might use.

“We’re very conscious that some people think plant-based products can be highly processed, so when coming up with the recipes I only put in ingredients that I would be happy to serve to my own family,” adds Cullen. “The Frankfurters are also a winner with kids and the ingredient list is very easy for our customers to understand.”

Thanks Plants is available nationwide in SuperValu, Tesco and good independent stores.

Power up your water   

Popular squash range, Robinsons, is inviting consumers to discover their #MainSqueeze and power up their water this summer as it introduces a new pocket squash range with added vitamins. The new Robinsons Benefit Drops range will help consumers make tastier, healthier choices while on the go.

Available now in stores nationwide, Robinsons Benefit Drops is available in four flavours – Immunity, Boost, Focus and Vitality – each containing a different added functional benefit such as Vitamins B3 and B6, Vitamin C, and Zinc.

This tasty new range comes in an ideal portable format for consumers on the move, adding great taste and additional vitamins to their water with just one squeeze. Each bottle contains enough squash to make 20 tasty drinks wherever you are and what’s more the full range is sugar-free!

Robinsons Benefit Drops (RRP €3.49) is available now in select retailers across the country.

Award-winning family favourites

Mash Direct has scooped a 1-star Great Taste Award 2022 for four of its popular family dishes

Mash Direct (, the award-winning ‘field to fork’ vegetable accompaniments brand is delighted to announce it picked up four Great Taste Awards for its vegetable side dishes at this year’s prestigious Great Taste Awards 2022.


Mash Direct has been named among the top food and drink producers this year, picking up a 1- star Great Taste Award for four of its popular family dishes including: Beer Battered Onion Rings, Chilli Baby Bakes, new Skinny Fries and popular traditional dish Champ.

“We are absolutely delighted to continue receiving Great Taste awards for our products, bringing our total to 29,” says CEO Jack Hamilton. “Winning this award is a testament to the hard work our team puts in throughout the year to master our products’ taste and providing more options for our Gluten-Free customers to choose from in stores.’’

Mash Direct brings a family face to a product people can rely on and trust. From the initial dream of producing ‘Ulster’ Champ for convenience in 2004, the sixth-generation Hamilton family have grown Mash Direct into a national household brand supplying over 50 farm fresh products that are 100% Gluten free. These award-winning side dishes lead the market producing vegetable side accompaniments and have won over 200 accolades.

Utilising six generations of the Hamilton family’s farming expertise, Mash Direct’s products are created on its farm in County Down. The vegetables are gently steam cooked and packed on the farm, delivered fresh to your store.

Mash Direct helps individuals and families to save time in the kitchen and easily incorporate fresh vegetables into daily life. The brand produces unique and premium quality prepared vegetable side dishes which are great addition to any mid-week meal or perfect as part of a ‘fakeaway’ meal at home at the weekend.

Seafood satisfaction

Kevin Clarke, head of commercial, Green Isle Seafood and Keith McDonagh, business development manager, Musgrave Foodservice

Ireland’s leading white fish processor Green Isle Foods has launched a new range of Irish white fish with Musgrave MarketPlace under the Green Isle Seafood brand.

An Irish-owned company, Green Isle Foods employs 104 people across two sites. Headquartered in Naas, Co Kildare, its BRC approved primary fish processing facility is located in Gurteen, Co. Sligo and has been in continuous operation since 1984.

In fact, Green Isle Foods is the largest purchaser of white fish from the Irish catching sector and processes over 20% of Irish landed haddock, whiting and hake.

The launch of the new range took place in Austies Pub & Kitchen in Rosses Point, Co. Sligo, with the focus of the event being on Irish white fish products such as natural haddock and hake.

“Green Isle Foods is delighted to launch a new range with Musgrave MarketPlace,” said Kevin Clarke, head of commercial, Green Isle Seafood.

“We have a wealth of experience in white fish sourcing and processing across a number of fish species, including Irish haddock, whiting and hake,” Clarke continued. “Access to fish is a particular strength and we work with the leading Irish fishing co-ops. In addition, Green Isle Foods has breading and battering coating capabilities and we are channel specialists in foodservice, so this is an excellent fit for both ourselves and Musgrave MarketPlace.”

Barry Madden, trading manager at Musgrave MarketPlace, added that seafood is “an important focus” of the company’s sales efforts for 2022 and 2023.

“Partnering with Green Isle Foods makes commercial sense; they have experience in Irish fish processing and a focus on sustainability,” he said.

Green Isle Foods has an important role to play in the sustainable development of the Irish fishing industry and the protection of our waters. To that end, the company is participating in the Bord Iascaigh Mhara backed Fishery Improvement Project (FIP) to improve fishery sustainability for Irish white fish.

The FIP is a five-year plan and covers fishing practices, onshore handling and data collection for marine scientists. Green Isle Foods procure fish from Irish co-ops and fishermen who are members of the FIP. Green Isle is also a member of Origin Green, a sustainability initiative led by Bord Bia.

Pots of power

NutriQuick High Protein Power Pots are available in six great-tasting flavours

NutriQuick, Ireland’s leading brand of healthy, nutritionally balanced ready-made meals is continuing to strengthen its offering with the addition of its new High Protein Power Pots.

The delicious range of benefit-led overnight oats are expertly made with carefully selected ingredients, giving your body the right nutrition to support everyday wellbeing.

NutriQuick, Ireland’s leading brand of healthy, nutritionally balanced ready-made meals is continuing to strengthen its offering with the addition of its new High Protein Power Pots

With everyone leading increasingly busy and hectic lives, these NutriQuick Power Pots are an easy and tasty addition, high in protein, rich in fibre and are ready to eat, making them a perfect option for a healthy breakfast, snack, or dessert on the go.

Much more than just overnight oats, from a small pot of inner strength to a reviving breakfast with friendly bacteria or a luscious energising guilt-free treat with added vitamins and minerals, consumers can enjoy a NutriQuick Power Pot with all the added benefits.

There are six great-tasting flavours to choose from, including:

  • Berry Burst Immune Support
  • Bischoff Vitality
  • Banana & Peanut Butter Performance
  • Tropical Summer Revive
  • Oreo Focus
  • Rocky Road Boost

The full range of Power Pots will be available in retail stores starting from 30 August.

Fresh new shoots

Last month, McCormack Family Farms, the award-winning producer of baby salad leaves, herbs and edible flowers welcomed the first harvest of organic Irish spinach at its farm in Boycetown, Kiltale Co. Meath. This development sees the brand build on its position as the largest grower of salad leaves in Ireland to also become the largest Irish producer of organic spinach, and it marks a new venture for the company into organic farming. The company will continue to produce its existing range of unwashed salad leaves to retail and foodservice outlets, which naturally provides a longer shelf-life and keeps the produce at peak quality. McCormack Family Farms Organic Irish Spinach can be found in Lidl stores nationwide, as well as under private label in other retail chains.

“McCormack Family Farms is an impressive business embedded in its local community of Kiltale, who is making a real impact in the food production sector in Ireland,” said local TD and Minister for State for Business, Employment and Retail Damien English. They are part of a very talented and progressive SME community in Meath that are driving employment opportunities and economic activity in the county.”

A second-generation family farm that has been in business for almost 40 years, McCormack Family Farm’s range of baby salad leaves and fresh-cut herbs is available from supermarkets nationwide.

For more information, visit or join the conversation on Instagram @mccormackfarms.

Use your noodle!

The Happy Pear are on a mission to bring plant-based food to the masses. The benefits of incorporating more plant-based meals into your diet are endless, and The Happy Pear are making eating plant-based the easiest and tastiest option.

Their latest launch, The Happy Pear Noodle Bowls are tasty ready-to-heat and eat complete meals that deliver two of an individual’s recommended five portions of daily veg. Available in two delicious flavours, Sticky Soy Noodles and Tasty Thai Noodles, the Noodle bowls are a convenient and healthy option to be enjoyed mid-week or are perfect for when you feel like reaching for a weekend takeaway treat. The Happy Pear Noodle bowls are the ideal ‘fakeaway’ option, coming in at just €5.25 and under 400 calories each, stocked in SuperValu and Centra stores nationwide.

“Everyone can benefit from incorporating more whole foods into their diet,” say founders Dave and Steve. “We want to make it es easy as possible for everyone to make the right choice. Our new Noodle Bowls couldn’t be more convenient, just pop them in the microwave and in five minutes you have a healthy meal ready to go. They’re perfect for when you want that tasty treat meal, but still want to eat something wholesome and nutritious.  They’re ready to go in a few minutes, with minimum effort.”

The Happy Pear Sticky Soy Noodles and Tasty Thai Noodles retail at €5.25 each, available in SuperValu and Centra stores nationwide.

40 years of plant-based

With 63.8% MAT value share, Alpro is number one in the plant-based drinks and yogurts category


Proud to be the pioneer of plant-based eating and drinking, Alpro has been creating delicious plant-based drinks, alternatives to yogurt, cream, custard, and desserts for more than 40 years. The brands mission is to bring health through food to as many people as possible and Alpro knows that in real life, healthy comes with an (ish) – because life happens. Leading the food revolution and making plant-based a positive choice for the planet and its people, Alpro is number one in the plant-based drinks and yogurts category with 63.8% MAT value share*.

Made from either non-GM soya beans, coconuts, almonds, hazelnuts, rice, or oats, the Alpro range gives Irish consumers the widest choice in plant-based dairy alternatives. 2022 has been an exciting year for Alpro with the successful launch of ‘This Is Not M*Lk’. The closest tasting product to dairy, this has pushed Alpro to a whole new audience who are eager to grab a creamy milk-like experience but is 100% plant-based. In 2023, Alpro will bring even more exciting news to drive growth into the plant-based category.

*(Source: Nielsen Total Scantrack ending 16 June 2022)

New plant-based milk alternative for toddlers

SMA Nutrition is bringing a new yummy plant-based drink, Little Steps Plantygrow Plant-based Growing Up Drink that is nutritionally designed for toddlers from 1-3 years of age as part of a varied and balanced diet.

This tasty plant-based milk alternative is a great and versatile choice for parents looking to diversify their toddler’s diet. It can be mixed into a toddlers’ favourite breakfast, added to yummy smoothies and shakes or just as a drink in a toddlers’ cup.

It’s great for tots because it has no added sugars*, is a good source of Vitamins A, C, B2, B12 and iron and has been enriched with iodine and Omega 3 and 6. The drink also contains calcium and Vitamin D which are needed for normal growth and bone development in children.

“Consumers are increasingly choosing plant-based milk alternatives for themselves and looking for options that contain the added nutrients their growing toddlers need,” says Andrew Quinn, category manager at Nestlé Nutrition Ireland. “We know that every day toddlers are growing, learning, doing something new and overcoming little challenges. We want to help support toddler’s development, as part of a varied and balanced diet, while they have fun and get on with living their best life! Setting them on the right track to a bright future.”

Little Steps Plantygrow Plant-based Growing Up Drink comes as a ready-to-drink liquid with no preparation required, just shake it. It is available in convenient on-the-go 200ml or 1 litre resealable cartons that are easy to pour and can be kept in the fridge (5°C or below) after opening for up to 24 hours for 200ml and 48 hours for 1 litre.  The 200ml format is now stocked in Tesco.

*(contains naturally occurring sugars

(Important Notice: Little Steps Plantygrow Plant-based Growing Up Drink is suitable for young children from 1-3years, as part of a varied and balanced diet and is not a breast milk substitute. ZTC5852 06/22)








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