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Dairy products and Ireland are pretty much synonymous terms. However, one dairy product — yoghurt — is a fairly recent addition to this centuries-old tradition. No one is quite sure where it originated, although it reached Western Europe in the 20th century. It’s now pretty much everywhere, which is hardly surprising: not only is nutritionally rich, but it tastes great. A perfect way, you might argue, to ensure that kids get a reasonable intake of protein, calcium, and a number of useful vitamins.

Those sort of qualities make yoghurt something of a win-win for the right business too. Certainly our friends at Glenilen Farm, the successful family dairy business based in West Cork, seem to think so with their new range of kid’s yoghurts in Supervalu.

Glenilen has been producing yoghurts, desserts and creams on the family farm using the milk of their own dairy herd and other natural ingredients for some while. That has an obvious attraction for SuperValu, and not just because of its — and Musgrave’s — commitment to local production. If retailers like SuperValu help small-scale Irish food entrepreneurs to find a market for their output, those entrepreneurs can start building up to the economies of scale that could take them even to markets even further afield, with all that means for Irish business, jobs and growth.

We’re not being starry-eyed about this, of course. It takes time. And quality; we won’t sell something just because it’s Irish. But likewise, we know that a lot of small and growing producers are offering very high quality product that might be overlooked without our help. That’s why been working with Glenilen for more than ten years — a tribute, we like to think, to our ability to spot and nurture real local talent and Glenilen’s ability to make great products.

Together we have seen Glenilen grow. Who knows what other entrepreneurs are out there bringing local expertise to products that have an international market? Wherever they are, we aim to find them. Ireland’s future may depend on them.

 

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