Business News

Food for thought: a Wolf pack, cookery schools and busy bees

By Business & Finance
05 January 2017
food for thought

The inside track on Ireland’s booming food and beverage industry, edited by Deanna O’Connor.


cool-beansAfter only two years, upmarket healthy baked bean brand Cool Beans has successfully made the jump from farmers markets and music festivals to national listings in SuperValu, Spar and Eurospar.

They have now secured a nationwide listing across 20 Dunnes Stores outlets. Cool Beans hit the headlines in November of last year when they succeeded in obtaining a listing with UK grocery chain Waitrose.

“Entering the UK market was a huge opportunity for us and we learnt a lot over those first few months,” said co-founder Isolde Johnson. “However the impact of the Brexit vote means there is huge pressure on SME’s, especially Irish food companies exporting to the UK. The currency instability is a huge concern for us and most businesses, but we are managing our risk by expanding our presence in Ireland through new listings and looking to new export markets.”

dublin-cookery-schoolEIPIC FEASTS

Dublin Cookery School begins the first of its biannual three-month certificate courses for 2017 with the addition of a new guest chef, Michelin-starred Danni Barry from Deanes EIPIC in Belfast. The in-depth cookery skills training courses take place in a 3,000 sq ft purpose built facility in Blackrock, with a maximum of 24 students per class.

Field trips, pop-up restaurant nights and placements give students the grounding they need to work in professional kitchens or start their own food business. The next Three Month Certificate course at Dublin Cookery School takes place over 12 weeks from early January until Friday March 24th and costs €8,590.


east-coast-bakehouseOver 300 delegates attended Ireland’s largest foodservice seminar, chaired by Bobby Kerr, at the Aviva Stadium in November.

‘Foodservice’ incorporates any food eaten out of the home, from restaurants to hospitals to vending.

Almost 35% of consumer spend is found in Quick Service Restaurants, which comprises traditional fast, and more upmarket, food outlets, along with the growing area of food-to-go. Ireland’s foodservice industry grew to a record €7.5bn this year.

Speaking at the seminar, Bord Bia’s foodservice specialist, Maureen Gahan, said, “It has been a bumper year for foodservice in Ireland. Despite the uncertainty that Brexit brings, we are still in the enviable position of being the fastest growing economy within the EU. The foodservice market has witnessed an annual growth rate of over 5% per year for over the past number of years, with both consumer and business tourist numbers fuelling major growth in urban centres.”


aldiAldi have reached the milestone of donating 500,000 meals through their partnership with FoodCloud, the social enterprise that combats food poverty and eliminates food waste by connecting businesses with charities in their local communities, through an innovative software platform.

Finbar McCarthy, Aldi’s Group Buying Director, said, “We are delighted to reach this milestone of donating 500,000 meals to charity through FoodCloud, helping charities to make a €700,000 saving in the process. 

“Even across an efficient retail operation such as Aldi, there will unavoidably be some unsold, surplus food each day. By partnering with FoodCloud such surplus food goes to a good cause. Combating food poverty and waste in the areas our stores serve is a central pillar of our community programme and we would encourage any charity or community group that can benefit from FoodCloud’s services to register at


ballymaloeBallymaloe Original Relish has secured a major distribution agreement in over 400 Woolworths stores across Australia. Ballymaloe Foods, the small family-run company in Cork owned by Yasmin Hyde, daughter of Myrtle and Ivan Allen of Ballymaloe House, marked its 25th year in business last year.

They had been working with Taste Ireland in Sydney for their online shop and in some select Irish pubs for several years but this is the first time that there will be a substantial distribution deal throughout Australia.

“We are proud to be supplying Woolworths all over Australia,” said Maxine Hyde, marketing manager, “and while it’s lovely to hear that people have been taking our relish out in their suitcases to their family members abroad, it did surprise us to hear that it was one of the most confiscated liquid items at Cork Airport!”


business-pollinator-plan7Irish businesses are being called on to take action in helping to save the bees. The National Biodiversity Data Centre and Bord Bia have launched a Framework for Businesses as part of the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan, which identifies actions that companies can take to help protect pollinators and the livelihoods of farmers who rely on their invaluable pollination service.

Companies are being urged to sign up at and implement the plan’s business guidelines. The guidelines suggest 18 practical actions that any business can take in both indoor and outdoor spaces.

Pictured with an insect hotel that provides shelter for insects, and is an example one of the practical actions a business can take, are Jim O’Toole, director of Sustainable Development, Bord Bia and Dr Jane Stout, deputy chair of the All Ireland Pollinator Plan Steering Group.


wicklow-wolfWicklow Wolf brewing company is looking towards opening a new larger brewing site in Co Wicklow, and boosting production capacity 15-fold, on foot of €2m investment.

The projected growth and expansion domestically and into international markets including the USA, Asia and Europe, will lead to an increase of staff by 20.

Quincey Fennelly (who previously worked with C&C wholesale, United Beverages and Ballygowan) and Simon Lynch founded the company in August 2014, and one month later sold their first beer to The Harbour Bar in Bray; they now supply 150 pubs and 550 off licences across Ireland. Halo Business Angel Network’s Food Syndicate is one of the major stakeholders in the deal, which is also supported by Enterprise Ireland and a number of private investors.

The HBAN Food Syndicate, chaired by Stephen Twaddell (previously president of Kellogg Europe), contributed €722,000 to the deal, bringing their total investment into Wicklow Wolf over the past 18 months to more than €800,000.


musgrave-ballymun-opening2Musgrave MarketPlace last month unveiled their vision for the cash and carry of the future at the launch of their upgraded 75,000 sq ft store in Ballymun.

The €2.2m investment formed part of the wholesaler’s commitment to delivering a first class customer experience, with free wi-fi, self-scan store entry and touchscreens throughout the store to provide access to the wider range at the central distribution warehouse.

Innovative product offerings include a butcher offering meat cut to specification and bespoke maturation service; a coffee concession with equipment, beans and cleaning materials in a one solution offering; and a state of the art food theatre which will host demonstrations and broadcast across their social media channels.