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Irish Independent: Irish-made Keogh’s Crisps secure major contract with the largest international airline in the world.

April 12, 2018 Profiles and Interviews

Keogh’s Crisps of North Dublin has secured a major contract with Emirates, the largest international airline in the world, which will see an estimated one million bags being served onboard annually.

The premium Irish brand will be available to First Class passengers only and was selected by the Emirates  Group following a blind tasting of 15 different brands, of which Keogh’s came out top.

The Irish-made crisps will be served onboard Emirates flights as part of the airline’s First Class Hot Sandwiches and Snacks service and as an accompaniment to drinks.

The announcement was made today at Marketplace International, Bord Bia’s annual food buyer event in Dublin, where the two brands were first introduced in 2016.

Keogh’s Crisp flavours selected by the Emirates Group include Irish Mature Cheddar, Shamrock and Sour Cream and Lightly Salted with seasonal variations such as Roast Turkey and Stuffing being introduced onboard for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

2017 saw Keogh’s secure 8pc of the overall Irish crisp market, while exports are now set to grow substantially with the announcement of the Emirates deal.

The 400-acre farm will be increasing potato production to fuel growth to meet its current three-year expansion plan, which aims to increase productivity by 50pc.

The most recent accounts for the company show that its accumulated profits were €1.1m as it continued its drive to be “the go-to luxury brand for crisps in a number of countries”

Established in 2011, the company is based around the family’s 400-acre farm in north county Dublin, but its sales stretch as far around the world as China and the Middle East.

The vast bulk of sales are in Ireland but the company has been making inroads into the luxury crisp market in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), China, Germany, the UK and the US, over the past few years.

While it enjoyed six-figure profits in 2014 and 2015, its most recent figures show that profits were €€67,548, due to an investment programme that saw it expand its production facility in order to keep up with increased demand for its products.

Part of this expansion has been reflected in the crisp range, with flavours such as chorizo, sweet chilli and steak making their way onto the company’s crisp menu.

According to Tom Keogh, Managing Director of Keogh’s Crisps, Bord Bia’s Marketplace is an invaluable platform for Irish producers to gain access tooverseas markets.

“We have designed an innovative new 25g pack in the popular lightly salted flavour for First Class passengers to accompany their drinks.  Quality and consistency is what first class demands, so we are delighted that our crisps will be flying premium all over the world.”

Enda Corneille, country manager for Emirates in Ireland said, Keogh’s joins other fantastic Irish products onboard selected flights including Gahan meats, Killowen Yogurts, Jameson Whiskey, Bailey’s and VOYA beauty products.

“Emirates is very particular about the origin and quality of the food servedonboard and caters to the palates and preferences of its passengers.  Having Keogh’s served to our First Class customers is testament to the quality and taste of the crisps being produced at the North Dublin farm.”

Emirates carries up to 1,500 tonnes of cargo from Dublin eastbound every week so that international audiences can enjoy a flavour of Ireland that now included Keogh’s Crisps, helping the Irish success story go global.

Family Tradition

The Keogh’s have been farming the fertile lands of north county Dublin for over 200 years, but the idea to move into crisp production came as the consumption of potatoes started to fall in Ireland.

Today, the Keogh’s grow a number of variety of potatoes, but with pasta and rice creeping more into people’s diets, Tom Keogh, the Managing Director, started to ook at the idea of exporting Irish potatoes to other markets but found that unless they are cooked, it wouldn’t stand much of a chance.

“But it sparked an idea about manufacturing crisps and he travelled to countries like the US and New Zealand to research the market and identify where it was heading, particularly at the luxury end,” said Aisling Worth, then marketing manager of Keogh’s Farm.

“When he got back, he started to develop something in his mother’s kitchen and once he knew he could do it, he bought the first kettle fryer from the Amish community in Pennsylvania and shipped it back to Ireland and started the business. Then in 2011, the company launched its first product.”

Since then, the company has grown from strength to strength and has become one of the most popular food brands in Ireland, with the aim to be “the go-to luxury brand for crisps” as it continues its expansion plans.

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