Young Monaghan farmer launches new agri-food business

A young Monaghan farmer frustrated with the lack of healthy snacks available to him, decided to set up his own agri-food business called ‘Rucksnacks’, a 100% dried Irish beef snack.

Colm Connolly came up with the idea for his new business when he returned home in June 2015 after spending a couple of months travelling to find very few options when it came to a healthy snack.

After winning Monaghan’s Best Young Entrepreneur in 2015, the qualified mechanical engineer set up his new business aiming to provide people with a snack free of any artificial flavours, colours or preservatives.

“To help with the research and production of the product we went into a partnership with Loughry Food College in Cookstown Co. Tyrone. We tried close to 200 different recipes before we were happy with the final product,” Connolly said.

The new snack will soon be on supermarket shelves in Ireland and can be purchased online, according to the fifth generation farmer from Clones, Co Monaghan.

I am very much into fitness and health. So I was really frustrated on my return to Ireland to find a lack of healthy, convenient snacks. That’s when I got the idea for Rucksnacks – a grass-fed beef jerky snack with only 89 calories per serving.

“With no added sugar, no gluten and no allergens – it is quality Irish food that ticks a lot of health boxes as a lean protein snack. 

“At the moment we are selling eight pouches on our website for €20, which includes postage, when they reach the shop shelves they will retail at €2.70 a pouch,” the 29-year-old said.

The long term plan for the business is to use beef from the family farm in the product and to move into a new facility, with the local Enterprise Center in Monaghan being very supportive of the new business, according to Connolly.

The snacks are very popular with sports enthusiasts, athletes and professional football players said Connolly, with Ipswich Town midfielder Jonathan Douglas a fan of the snack.

“I place a big emphasis on recovery and ensuring my body is right for the next training session or match. I am a strong believer that good nutrition is a key element of maintaining my body and ensuring I am ready for the matches,” Douglas said.

Having a ready to eat, lean protein source that is free from artificial preservatives and gluten free is so handy. Rucksnacks tastes great and contains 100% Irish beef.

“It’s a must for my bag when we are travelling to away games and I love having it in the morning between sessions,” Douglas said, who represented the Republic of Ireland at underage and senior level.

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