Our biggest challenge is the lack of labour and we’re not the only business facing this issue
What is your background?
In the 1990s, my husband, Willie Allshire, and I bought a 17ac farm here in Rosscarbery and started keeping a herd
of free-range pigs. We probably have the oldest free-range pig herd in Ireland.
From 2000, we started producing our own range of free-range sausages and dry-cure bacon, which we sold under the Caherbeg brand name. Drinagh co-op was our fi rst customer. Then in 2001, we bought the Rosscarbery Recipes brand.
How has the business evolved?
Today we have 110 pigs in our herd, with 12 sows. We have our own processing facilities here on the farm, which allows us to really focus on quality. It’s something we’re obsessed with. All pork products that come from our own herd are still sold under the Caherbeg brand.
For the Rosscarbery Recipes brand we source pork cuts from Staunton Foods in Timoleague and some beef cuts from ABP in Bandon.
A member of Love Irish Food, we’re now selling (mostly direct) to customers in Dublin, Wexford, Waterford, Limerick, Cork and Kerry.
What is your flagship product?
Our range of Rosscarbery black and white pudding is very much our fl agship product and biggest seller. We also produce bacon, sausages and gluten-free pudding. Everything we do on both brands is dry cure and the finished product is 98% pork. After completing
their Leaving Certifi cates, our two sons, William and Maurice, decided to join the business. Maurice developed our latest product, Rosscarbery Irish Biltong, which is a cured and air-dried beef snack. It’s a healthy snack, with 50% protein.
Is the “free-from” trend here to stay?
In my view the “free-from” trend is one that’s here to stay. I have mixed emotions on it, particularly when it comes to gluten-free because you have people who are genuinely diagnosed with coeliac disease and others who just go on a gluten-free diet. We launched our gluten-free pudding in response to demand from coeliacs, but since then, the “freefrom” section has grown considerably.
What is the biggest challenge for an SME artisan food business?
Our biggest challenge is the lack of labour and we’re not the only business facing this issue. By that I mean there
appears to be a serious shortage of people who are genuinely interested and passionate about working in an artisan food business like ours. We might start our day at 5am but a lot of people just aren’t interested in starting their day at that hour.
Killowen Farm takes home €150,000 ‘winner takes all’ Brand Development Award
Prize includes a creative bursary, product development package and business ‘healthcheck’
7 February 2021: Killowen Farm has been named the winner of the Love Irish Food Brand Development Award for 2022, a prize worth €150,000. The award is run in partnership with Global, one of the country’s leading Outdoor advertising companies, and is supported by Checkout Magazine as trade media partner.
The award will provide Killowen Farm with €150,000 toward a campaign throughout 2022 that will optimise their business and marketing objectives. The main focus of the campaign will consist of three bursts of advertising across Global’s PurchasePoint and dPod Retail network. The prize also includes: a creative bursary offered by Owens DDB Advertising; a product development package by Innovate Solutions; and a financial wellbeing business health check by Bank of Ireland.
Based in Co. Wexford, Killowen Farm is an award winning, delicious yogurts and cream cheese which are packed full of gut healthy cultures. Led by ninth generation dairy farmer Nicholas Dunne, Killowen Farm started producing its award-winning yogurts in 2004 after Nicholas was inspired to create something new with his wonderful herds’ milk. With their herds milk travelling meters not miles to the yogurt plant it really is a pasture to pot story which they look forward to sharing with you.
Since 2012, the Brand Development Award has been providing Love Irish Food member brands, which support over 12,000 jobs in the Irish food industry, with the chance to win a fully funded national Outdoor advertising campaign from Global through its strong retail network, as well as receive trade marketing support from Checkout Magazine.
Kieran Rumley, Executive Director, Love Irish Food said: “The Love Irish Food Brand Development Award is a unique Irish food industry award. We launched these awards 10 years ago to provide Irish SME brand producers with the opportunity to advertise to Irish consumers on a national level, giving them a huge opportunity to build brand awareness, connect with their target audience and have a robust business understanding of their company.
“At Love Irish Food we would like to congratulate Killowen Farm on winning this year’s Brand Development Award and we are proud to present them with this prize. Killowen Farm is a leading Irish food and drink brand, with very good retailer distribution. This award will give Killowen Farm the assurance that they will be able to carry out an impactful business and advertising campaign worth €150,000 in 2022 and reach their target consumers nationwide. It will also give them a greater opportunity to engage with retail buyers and planners. We look forward to helping to promote and support them in their branding goals throughout 2022 and seeing their story reach Irish consumers on a national level.”
Accepting the Brand Development Award, founder of Killowen Farm Nicholas Dunne, said: “We are thrilled to win the 2022 Love Irish Food Brand Development Award. As a family-owned Irish business it is very important for our brand to be aligned with Love Irish Food and the work they do to support and highlight local food brands that are made in Ireland. With this award, we are excited to share the Killowen Farm family story with our customers and further promote our wonderful product within the Irish market.”
Antoinette O’Callaghan, Marketing Manager, Global, said: “The Brand Development Award is a great opportunity for an Irish brand to drive both brand awareness and purchase activation. Killowen Farm has an incredible story to share and we are excited to see the campaign come to life across our Retail Network throughout this year.”+