Winner of this year’s High Potential Export Award from the Irish Exports Association, Broderick Brothers cakes in Dublin is achieving international growth with a brand image that’s just a little bit wacky.
Director Bernard Broderick says that sales of the company’s products have grown by 30 % this year thanks to a focus on quality and a quirky approach to marketing. All product packaging carries a cartoon of a small caped figure with large glasses which Mr Broderick describes as his alter ego. Alongside this cartoon is one of a giant bearded head, which is said to be the alter ego of the other Broderick brother, and director, Barry.
Products which include bizarre sounding Road Rocking Choc Choc Blocks, Caramentals and Gooey Oozy Chocolatey solid bricks are now selling in 29 countries including the UK, France, Germany and Holland and since this year to Saudi Arabia, the US and Korea. Broderick’s is the retail division of Ina’s Handmade Desserts – a company which was set up by Bernard and Barry’s mother Ina in 1983 as a small family run bakery making cakes and desserts for the foodservice industry. Now employing a staff of 110 and achieving a turnover of €9.5m, the company is about to move in to a new 65,000 sq ft premises in Tallaght which is five times larger than its existing facility in Walkinstown. Developing the new muliti million facility , the company received funding from BDO Capital Finance and Enterprise Ireland.
Bernard Broderick said the new facility will allow both the foodservice and the retail divisions to develop their export potential and also continue to develop new products.
“In 2018 we plan to develop sales of Broderick’s in the US and Saudi Arabia, grow sales to supermarkets in Ireland and also expand in the UK where we see a lot of room for growth.”
The development of the Broderick’s brand – with its “cake crusader” packaging – came about as a response to the recession. Up until then Ina’s had only supplied the foodservice industry and was a much smaller company employing a staff of around 18.
“In the recession hotels were closing and volumes had dropped - we assessed the business and decided to try something different,” said Mr Broderick who joined his mother in the company in 2002, a few years after his brother Barry. “We looked at the retail market and saw there was an opportunity to sell high quality flapjacks made with Belgian chocolate and high quality ingredients.”
Launching with brownies, tiffin bars, granola and rocky road under the Broderick’s brand – the brothers gave their products creative names and used quirky packaging. “This was a point of difference and it was fun - we wanted to let people know this was a real business with real people.”
Initially it didn’t go well – “Our packaging was cool but not clever for the food market but we fixed it,” said Mr Broderick adding that exports to France began in 2010. He said in the last three years sales have taken off and that the Broderick’s brand now accounts for half of all sales at Ina’s cakes. “Exports account for 32% of the total business and 75% of Broderick’s,” he added.
Broderick’s sells in Ireland through Spar and Centra Ireland, Topaz and more recently to Dunnes while its export customers include specialty shops and large retailers including Costco and Carrefour. Ina’s Desserts sells its products to hotels, restaurants and coffee chains in Ireland and the UK, and customers include a large coffee chain with outlets across Europe.
The Broderick’s brand now has 10 products available in 18 different formats which include mini bites, bars and a Broderick’s bungalow with a variety of mini bites. For the American presidential visit in 2011 the company came up with ‘Oberama Barocky Road’ and in 2015 it added a gluten free range.
Currently Broderick’s is planning the launch of three new retail products and to complete the updating of the packaging which it started earlier this year. The goal for 2018 is 30% growth for the Broderick’s brand and 15% for the food service division.