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 Darragh Flynn of Happy Pear Living Foods.
Can you tell us a bit about your Happy Pear Living Foods?
We produce two award-winning pestos in Kilcoole, Co. Wicklow. Our pestos are produced with only fresh, natural ingredients, giving them genuine real flavour. Our ‘Lovely Basil Pesto’ with a sweet nutty taste, brings amazing flavour to any dish and our ‘Sundried Tomato Pesto’ with a rich tomato flavour, brings a gorgeous kick to almost anything. They are delicious in pasta, on sandwiches – in fact you can put them on almost anything and they will add flavour and taste. Personally, I love spreading them on a toasted pitta bread with tomato, avocado and some alfalfa sprouts.
What inspired you to create your pestos?
Our pestos were born from the need to have a handy spread that was both fresh and natural and yet delicious and tasty. When we initially created the recipe and produced it for our café in Greystones, our customers just loved it. It was their feedback that inspired us to want to take it to more people. Thanks to the SuperValu Food Academy we offer our pestos in SuperValu stores nationwide.
How has your product range evolved since it has launched?
We began growing wheatgrass and sprouts for the shop initially. As time went on, we began refining and adding to the range of sprouted superfoods. We went on to create and produce our wonderful pestos for our café in Greystones.
The SuperValu Food Academy has supported us through the challenging initial phases of business growth and provided us with the opportunity to sell our products in SuperValu stores. This retail experience and the feedback we received from customers has been very helpful in developing our product range.
With our growing business we realised we needed our brand to match our story. We recently underwent a rebranding which was launched at the end of last year. We are very happy with the end result as it very much captures our natural ethos and the sense of play and joy we bring to our business. You can now visually see all of this through the design of our product packaging.
Who is your customer?
Our customers are diverse. It’s the good food lover, the mum who is busy and wants a quick pasta dinner for the family or the couple who are having a dinner party and want a gorgeous starter. The list is endless and we hope to grow our customer base further by introducing a variety of new products soon. We are pleased to reach such a wide and varied customer set through SuperValu stores nationwide.
What tips would you give to someone who is starting out and wants to launch a food-related product/business?
Don’t hold back – go for it! Believe in what you do. Follow your heart and be willing to make mistakes. Learn from them and move on. Get in touch with the SuperValu Food Academy which supports small food companies just like us in Ireland. The programme assisted us in gaining first retail listings and helped to grow our business sustainably.
Where can you buy this product and how much will it cost?
You can buy our ‘Sundried Tomato Pesto’ and ‘Lovely Basil Pesto’ in any SuperValu around the country and they are €4.99 each. They are also available in most foodie stores across Dublin and in our own shop in Greystones.
What does the future hold for The Happy Pear?
The Happy Pear started as a veg shop, but today we are much more. We’re a family, and a community whose goal is to create a healthier, happier world. We are very excited about the future and continue to refine our recipes and improve our production methods. Being part of the SuperValu Food Academy Advance Programme is an important step on this way which gives us access to market and branding expertise. We are all about making healthy food attractive and mainstream. Our aim is to make it easier for people to eat healthy. Following the success of the pestos, we look forward to launching a range of Superfood Sprout Mixes, such as Alfalfa and Sprouted Beans, along with a range of Granola and Seedie Cookies over the coming months that will be available in SuperValu stores nationwide.