Channel Clusters Dissemination Seminar Takes Place in Cork

The second in the series of Channnel Clusters dissemination seminars took place in the Radisson Blu Hotel in Cork Airport on Wednesday 19th October. There were 5 speakers at the seminar.

They were Conor Hyde of Bullseye Food Marketing; Gareth Coleman of Glenstal Foods; Deirdre Collins of Dee's Wholefoods; Anthony Creswell of Ummera Smoked Products and Birgitta Hedin-Curtin of The Burren Smokehouse. Conor Hyde spoke about the importance of distribution for food producers; Deidre and Anthony gave an overview of their businesses and how the Channel Clusters programme has assisted them.

Conor Hyde gave an overview of the learnings about distribution on the programme. He said it costs €1000 a week to keep a van on the road when you cost up fuel, tyres, servicing, insurance, covering holidays, depreciation etc. Small food producers cannot be distributors and food producers at the same time, if they want to be successful. He gave an outline of the different distribution channels from speciality food to going online and he gave a lot of tips on managing the relaltionship with a distributor as we as how the choose one. He also spoke at length about the green agenda and Carbon Footprinting.

Gareth Coleman opened his presentation by informing the attendees that his company was a dairy trader with just 7 employees. The reason for the low head count is that they contract out everything that they can. Glenstal trades in cheese, butter, milk and powder and their suppliers include the major Irish dairy producers. Glenstal sell to customers across the world with the exception of South America and a few other places. 

Gareth said they use the word ‘Irish’ on their cheddar cheese packs (Irish Mild Cheddar) in the Middle East. This is because no one will recognise the name ‘Glenstal’ in those markets. He said that this works well. In contrast, for the foodservice channel they use the name Glenstal on packs. He advised that participants should use search engine optimisation so that buyers can find Glenstal when they look up Irish cheese. He said it’s vital to have a partner when dealing with retailers in overseas markets. They will understand the local culture better and he said it’s very important to have that link in the chain.

Deirdre Collins of Dee's Wholefoods and Anthony Creswell of Ummera Smoked Products spoke at length about their businesses and how the programme helped them to grow and develop. Deirdre mentioned the success she has had recently in the multiples and she has also received positive feedback from Sainsburys and Booths in the UK about potential listings in the New Year. She is already listed with the wholesaler, Marigold, in London.   

Finally, Birgitta Hedin-Curtin gave an insight into the Burren Smokehouse and how the company has won new customers in overseas markets including Fortnum and Mason in London, KaDeWe in Berlin and Dean and Deluca in New York.  Birgitta said that the listing in Fortnum and Mason has opened doors for her and has been a big help. She said her recipe for success is to react to deadlines even if they’re very tight and make sure you deliver the product on time when you state you will.

 The seminar ran from 9.30 to 1pm with networking afterwards.