This year Focus Friday is teaming up with the SuperValu Food Academy to bring you the best new Irish food producers, and tell you all about their products. Today, we talk to Mark Molloy of Honest Bakery.
Can you tell us a bit about Honest Bakery?
At Honest we bake gluten free, not taste free, treats. We have a range consisting of cakes and biscuits made for both the retail and food service sectors. The product range and our brand have gone from strength to strength since joining the SuperValu Food Academy.
What inspired you to create your product?
The Molloy family have a long tradition on baking in Roscommon Town since 1922, and I am the fourth generation. Through the generations we have always diversified to keep in line with the changing tastes and requirements of consumers. In 2012 we saw the move towards gluten free in retailers such as SuperValu and I believed the products on sale were of poor quality and taste. I knew we could do things better and after a year of developing products and research we launched our brand Honest.
How has your product evolved since it has launched?
Honest was initially aimed to the food-service market with individually wrapped items for coffee shops. It wasn’t until we were accepted into the SuperValu Food Academy that we pushed into the retail market and expanded even further.
Who is your customer?
Our primary customer are coeliacs or persons with a wheat/gluten intolerance. But we feel that even though our products are made for those with a special diet they can be truly enjoyed by anyone as the flavours and quality of our entire range are so strong, people will not know the products are gluten free.
What tips would you give to someone who is starting out and wants to launch a food-related product/business?
Do your research and learn as much as you can about your industry, knowledge is power. A strong business plan is needed but be fluid enough to be able to change when things go wrong or not as planned. Even if you do not have a great head for numbers, keep tight control of your cash flow, it’s all well and good producing and selling but you need to be getting paid. Research Irish programmes for start-ups such as the SuperValu Food Academy, it’s a launch pad to success.
Where can you buy Honest’s products?
Our retail cakes are for sale in SuperValu stores in Dublin and in the West of Ireland. Our smaller food service items are available through select coffee shops as well as independent stores. We hope to cut through more SuperValu stores in the future so Honest Bakery produce will be even more accessible.
What does the future hold for your business?
We have just expanded our production site and will be hiring new employees in quality, bakers and sales. We have been getting the people and the premises in place for the last year and now we are ready for growth in all sectors. We have also new products lined up and we hope, with the help of the SuperValu Food Academy, to have them shelf ready during this year.