Foodie bootcamp: Got an idea for a new food product?

A food enterprise programme helps start-ups get their product from conception to counter

Niall Moloney, founder of Pow Cow, Alison Cummins, co-founder of the Wicked Food Company and Conor Coughlan, founder of Black Twist, three of the eight companies that brought new products to market with the help of Food Works 2016.

Niall Moloney, founder of Pow Cow, Alison Cummins, co-founder of the Wicked Food Company and Conor Coughlan, founder of Black Twist, three of the eight companies that brought new products to market with the help of Food Works 2016.

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Bright sparks with a great idea for an innovative food or drink product are invited to apply for Food Works 2017, an accelerator programme for start-ups, supported by Bord Bia, Enterprise Ireland and Teagasc.

A series of regional meetings will be held and a shortlist invited to a bootcamp at which the final line-up to take part in the programme this year will be selected.

Since 2012, Food Works has worked with almost 70 fledgling food and drink companies, securing more than €2 million in funding from Enterprise Ireland. One in five of these has already had success exporting their product, in markets in Europe, Asia, Africa and North America, generating €1.5 million in export sales last year alone.

To market

The 2016 programme featured eight companies, five of which are now trading, two about to start trading, and one still in development.

Sabrina Amodeo and Larry O’Connor developed a range of salad dressings using Irish and Italian ingredients, which they are marketing under the Amodeo label. Joe Doyle’s Nicoya range includes superfood meals and healthy treats such as raw cocoa and coconut mousse. Andrew Wynne also targeted the wellness market with his Nutmost range of activated nuts.

James and Declan Cunningham’s Connemara Food Ventures is producing a seaweed blend for baking and cooking, and Niall Moloney’s Pow Cow is a high protein fat-free frozen yoghurt, which he claims is the first of its kind in Europe.

Alison Cummins and Pat O’Flaherty’s Wicked Food Company (flavoured pork bites) and Conor Coughlan’s Black Twist (coffee spirit drink) used the Food Works programme to progress their ideas and are about to start trading, while Yvonne Dolan’s NuLyfe/Blendy, ambient ingredients for smoothies, is still in development.

Supports offered

The supports offered to start-ups taking part in Food Works include mentoring, market research, technical advice, commercial viability testing and access to research and development facilities.

Introductory meetings will be held in Dublin (March 28th, May 16th and June 27th); Dundalk (April 18th); Galway (April 25th) and Cork (June 6th). For more information, see foodworksireland.ie.

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