Trish Dromey profiles a Limerick manufacturer of table sauces which, despite Brexit, seeks to expand across the Irish Sea
Irish consumers are having a love affair with mayonnaise — they are putting it on sandwiches instead of butter — eating it on burgers and using tikka and taco flavoured mayonnaise to spice up meals.
So say the founders of Limerick startup Global Sauces who have created a range of 34 different types of table sauces, including both traditional and spicy ones as well as 13 varieties of mayonnaise.
“Mayonnaise and flavoured mayonnaise account for close to 70% of sales — it is hugely popular,’’ says director Liam Hayes, who co-founded the company with Vincent Sheehan in 2013.
He says the table sauce market continued to grow throughout the recession and estimates it is now worth €100 million a year in Ireland, where the market is still growing by 6% a year.
Global Sauces has also been eyeing the £1.3bn table sauce market in the UK. It has been making plans to go after it.
The company founders attribute the increasing demand for table sauces, and mayonnaise in particular, to the fact that people now have a more hectic lifestyle and are now more frequently eating deli sandwiches and takeaways on the go.
“People also pick up more adventurous tastes on their travels and are looking for spicier sauces,” adds Mr Hayes, Winner of the Best Start-Up award in this year’s National Enterprise Awards.
The company now sells branded Global Sauce products to 50 wholesalers around Ireland who in turn sell them to restaurants, hotels and fast food outlets.
The company also manufactures own label bespoke sauces for several fast food outlets.
At the end of 2015, the company began selling into the North, which now accounts for 5% of sales.
As part of a new plan to develop sales in Britain, Global Sauces secured a BRC AA quality accreditation earlier this year. It has since been targeting wholesalers supplying the food service industry and large food companies across the Irish Sea.
While the sales of Global Sauce branded products now account for 80% of sales, the key aim for the future is to develop sales of bespoke sauces to food companies and the food service industry, in Ireland, the UK, and the rest of Europe.
Although the outcome of the Brexit referendum raises questions about sales to the UK, the company will go ahead with existing plans. This month it will attend a procurement event being organised in Britain by a large food producer.
“There are 20 large food producers which have a requirement of more than 200 tonnes of sauce a week. Some have a requirement of 50 tonnes a week of speciality sauces — this is the business we are going after,” reveals Mr Sheehan, adding the company will as a consequence of Brexit also be making plans to develop sales in Europe.
In setting up operations in 2013, Global Sauces entered a market which is dominated by some extremely well-known international players.
The founders saw an opportunity to supply the food service industry and large food producers making sandwiches and salads with bespoke sauces.
Mr Sheehan says the company’s key strengths are its flexibility to make bespoke sauces for customers and its ability to “supply the same quality product cheaper than market-leading brands”.
Mr Sheehan worked in the sauce sector in the food industry for more than 20 years. Mr Hayes previously ran his own company servicing the telecoms industry.
Starting out at a 4,000 sq ft plant at Raheen Food Park with a staff of three, they invested €250,000 in the venture and received support from both Limerick Enterprise Office and Enterprise Ireland.
In 2015, the company expanded into a second 4,000 sq ft unit and grew its staff to nine.
Planning to take on two additional staff , it is targeting a turnover of approximately €2m this year.
“If plans to develop sales to the UK work out, we aim to have a staff of 15 or 16 and a turnover of €3.5m by the end of 2017,” says Mr Hayes.
Company: Global Sauces
Location: Raheen Food Park, Limerick
Directors: Liam Hayes and Vincent Sheehan
Product: Table sauces
Markets: Ireland (with plans for UK and Europe)
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