A Cork company has almost eclipsed Katie Taylor by punching above its weight to win 16 golds at a prestigious food-tasting competition.
Irish Yogurts Ltd, which is based in Clonakilty, won the gold stars for its products at the annual Great Taste Awards organised by the British Guild of Fine Food.
There were 9,000 entries to the competition and they were judged over 45 days by master chefs, restaurateurs, food critics and writers.
The unprecedented scale of awards is the latest chapter in a remarkable business success story for the company.
From modest beginnings in 1994 with two staff, Irish Yogurts now employs 130 and has an annual turnover of €17m.
Its products are found under Irish Yogurts and own-label brands in retail outlets and supermarket chains nationwide and in Britain’s top four retail multiples. Sainsburys, Tesco, Morrissons, and Asda.
Later this month, Irish Yogurts will begin exporting to Austria, Finland, and Spain.
Its founder and managing director, Diarmuid O’Sullivan, said he was delighted with the awards.
“We have a big focus on the development of products which are novel and attractive to the different market segments in which we operate, from luxury yogurts to low fat, diet, and probiotic varieties.
“These obviously have to be of the highest standard but also must be differentiated from our competitors. To achieve that requires ongoing research and development work and innovation.”
He said the company combines the best of traditional food production values with R&D and new technologies.
“That is underpinned by investment in management and staff and a capital investment programme of about €10m over the past 15 years,” he said.
Currently the company produces 37 products and over 100 own-brand products for all the major retail multiples in Ireland.
The next milestone for Irish Yogurts will be the completion of a state-of-the art 25,000sq ft facility in Clonakilty, which will integrate the company’s operations on a single site in the town.
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