New innovator: Newgrange Gold
Jack Rogers, Newgrange Gold: put a huge effort into getting distribution well set up from the outset. Jack Rogers, Newgrange Gold: put a huge effort into getting distribution well set up from the outset
It’s not that long since rapeseed oil became the darling of healthy eaters as it boasts half the saturated fat of olive oil and high levels of Omega 3. Now there’s a new contender for the title: camelina oil, from fledgling Irish food company Newgrange Gold.
Newgrange Gold, which is based close to the ancient site of the same name in the Boyne Valley, started out cold pressing its own rapeseed crop to produce oil for culinary use.
By chance, the Rogers family came across camelina seed, a first cousin of rapeseed, and began looking into its nutritional profile.
As it turned out, camelina is even further up the superfoods ladder, with exceptionally high rates of Omega 3 (38.6g/100ml), as well as the desired two to one ratio of Omega 6 to Omega 3, plus a high level of antioxidants such as Vitamin E.
“Camelina was quite widely known up to the early 1940s and its existence in the diet can be traced back to the Bronze Age,” says Jack Rogers, an agricultural science graduate and who runs the family business.
“We were asked by a neighbouring farmer who had grown some camelina to press it for him and that’s where this all began.
“We had the oil analysed and its exceptional nutritional characteristics became apparent.
“Apart from being good for you, camelina also has a very nice fruity flavour. Earlier this year we won a three star gold Great Taste Award for it, which was a real feather in our caps. Camelina is a very stable oil; it retains its high nutritional content throughout its shelf life and is suitable for cooking at low to moderate heat. It can also be used as a dip or drizzle or for making dressings.”
Newgrange Gold began pressing its first rapeseed oil in late 2011 and Rogers has put a huge effort into getting its distribution well set up from the outset.
However, its real target market is the UK and Rogers says the company has the capacity to scale-up as required to meet demand.
“We looked at the possibility of treating the camelina oil very much as a “health” product and pricing it at a premium in health food outlets only,” Rogers says.
“But rightly or wrongly, we decided to go for general distribution and priced it accordingly.”
Rogers has not added up the total investment involved in setting up the company, but says it is “in the order of hundreds of thousands of Euro,” when everything from plant to packaging has been taken into account.
The company currently employs four people.
– OLIVE KEOGH