Expats get a taste of home

Irish emigrants longing for a taste of home treats are flooding a website with food orders for Christmas.

But Irish mammies are also swamping the site to ensure their offspring who have moved to find work abroad get their traditional festive snacks in time.

The family behind the new Cork-based food hamper business said it was stunned by the level of interest over the past two weeks in particular — with a surge in orders for its deluxe Christmas treats hampers.

“We’re getting hundreds of orders a week at the moment,” said Eimear O’Brien, who set up Just Like Home last April.

“Most of the hampers are being sent to Irish people who have moved to live and work in the US and Australia. I suppose it’s a sign of the times.”

Like thousands of other Irish families, the O’Briens have first-hand experience of emigration after Eimear’s brother and sister-in-law moved to find work in Sydney.

Ms O’Brien, who worked in Brussels for two years, said the idea for the business was borne out of her own experience of missing home treats such as Taytos and “real chocolate” while she worked abroad, combined with her brother’s request for food hampers to be sent Down Under.

“We sent a few hampers to him before but the biggest problem we had was guaranteeing that they actually got there.”

She conducted market research to identify the food products most missed by the Irish abroad and then launched the Just Like Home website.

Among the items that topped the list were Tayto cheese and onion crisps, Hula Hoops, Cadbury Dairy Milk chocolate bars, and Barry’s or Lyon’s tea.

The company normally ships two types of hamper — a One Moment in Time selection and a slightly larger Sweetie Delights hamper.

But with Christmas just weeks away, orders are pouring in for their Christmas Irish hamper and Special Irish hamper, featuring a larger selection of crisps, chocolates, and treats.

The hampers have been shipped to Irish people working in Britain, South Korea, India, the Cayman Islands, and Bermuda.

However, the vast majority of hampers are winging their way to the US, Canada and Australia, which has seen the biggest influx of Irish since the recession hit.

The food stuffs are packed in light-weight branded boxes to keep postage costs to a minimum.

Hamper prices start at €15.99 with the top-of-the-range Christmas hampers priced at €49.99.

It will cost you an additional €18 to post one of the hampers anywhere in the EU or US, with postage costs to everywhere else in the world priced at €29.

Ms O’Brien said the company guarantees delivery and offers a package tracing facility via email.

Orders must be placed by Dec 10 to guarantee delivery in time for Christmas.

* www.justlikehome.ie

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