John Molloy from Yeats Country Foods explains why his third generation, family dairy is devoted to the art and craft of producing award winning dairy products.
Located on the outskirts of the village of Convoy in Co. Donegal, Yeats Country Foods use the most carefully selected natural ingredients that this beautiful North West region of Ireland is renowned for.
Established in 1983 in Sligo, initially as a dairy business, Yeats Country Farm (as it was then known), was a sideline for the family. “Farmers in the area weren’t getting enough return for their product so we started bottling milk for a neighbour and sold it door-to-door,” John Molloy recalls.
In 1999, the family and the business moved to Donegal, and in 2004, the factory was redeveloped.
Since then, the business has gone from strength-to-strength and while still rooted in quality, local production, Yeats Country Foods is now very much a global business capturing new markets and opportunities in the UK and across Europe.
The big cheese
Today, Yeats Country Foods produces a range of products in the form of soft spreadable cheeses and continues to supply own-brand milk to supermarkets nationwide.
The company also delivers cheese products to Domino’s Pizza and to major UK customers such as Bakkavor Foods who use the soft cheeses in Sainsbury and Marks & Spencer deserts.
Yeats Country Foods has also extended into markets in Belgium, Denmark and Holland and is on course to extend to new markets in Europe this year.
According to Molloy: “We do a lot of R&D with our researchers looking at what the customers want and developing products to meet these demands.”
He attributes the success, growth and opportunities for the company to the commitment and dedication of the team and to the quality of the products. “Our ethos is quality, service and commitment and we never compromise on these,” he says.
Proof in the pudding
The proof of taste and quality is in the eating and Yeats Country Foods has won numerous awards including Great Taste Awards and Best Irish Cheese at the International Cheese Awards.
Molloy agrees that the Irish food industry has huge potential and is a vibrant and strong export proposition. “We have developed a presence in Holland, Belgium and Denmark this year and see huge success and growth potential.”
According to Molloy there are more opportunities for companies that are flexible and that can meet the needs of smaller customers. “Without companies like us, customers would be reliant on imports so there is massive opportunities for food producers here.”
Like any business starting out, taking an idea from conception to commercial success can be challenging. Molloy has this advice: “Get as much advice as possible. Talk to people in the industry – there is a lot of knowledge out there and there is no need to reinvent the wheel.”