Truly Irish: ‘Our farmers implement innovative techniques’

Truly Irish Country Foods will showcase a new range of fresh and cured products for the foodservice sector as well as its retail dry cured bacon joints at this year’s Catex exhibition.

The exhibition will run at Dublin’s RDS from Tuesday, February 26 to Thursday, February 28.

Newcastle West based Truly Irish was founded in 2009 and has 85 pork farmer shareholders, operating as a limited company, with membership of Origin Green.

“We are targeting the foodservice sector with premium Irish pork products. This is a new area of activity for the company,” said Joe O’Connor of the commercial department. “We are also expanding into retail pork and bacon products. We previously were active only in the breakfast meat category,” he said.

Traceability

“Truly Irish was set up in 2009 because of the use of imported raw material in brand name breakfast meats. Our motto is ‘Our name is our guarantee’. We only see Irish product from our own farms. We can guarantee the provenance, traceability and quality of all of our products,” said Joe.

Last year celebrity chef, Neven Maguire, visited the Kerry home of Truly Irish’s CEO, Mike McAuliffe, for the 2018 series, ‘Neven’s Irish Food Trails’ which was aired on RTE.

The CEO said: ”At Truly Irish we are committed to raising the profile of quality Irish pork products.

Our farmers implement innovative techniques such as ‘freedom farrowing’ where the sows have more space to move around than standard and therefore leads to higher welfare.

Joe O’Connor said: “Across all of our farms we operate to the Bord Bia quality standards and department of agriculture standards and higher. We have codes of practice that promote the highest level of animal welfare in the industry.”

Mike McAuliffe said that the organisation incorporates seaweed-based supplements into the animal feed to enhance the quality and flavour of the end products. “We are very excited about the addition of bacon and ham joints to the portfolio and are delighted with the positive response to date.”

Developing new markets

The uncertainty around Brexit is a headache. “We are concerned about Brexit on the basis that we use the UK as a landbridge to the continent weekly. We do not sell much in the UK as we could not recover prices after the sterling fell in the last few years, so we have been busy developing other markets,” Joe said.

The Irish market is the focus for retail and food service. Food service is also targeting continental Europe and Singapore, with Vietnam and Thailand being explored too.

“We aim to develop an integrated pork business with the company being involved from animal production to selling the final retail product. We will have efficiencies as we take steps out of the supply chain and aim to deliver extra margin to our farmer shareholders.”