ISSUE 6 2018
With original recipes and a paired-
back ingredients list, The Lismore
Food Company wants every moment
of their consumer experience to feel
special, explains Beth-Ann. "What
we do differently is we use simple,
pure ingredients and the biscuits taste
delicious. Then we wanted it to feel
really special. In terms of the packaging,
we wanted it to feel like you had been
given the most glorious gift and as you
unwrap it and eat them, every part of that
experience should feel special."
Central to the company's range of sweet and
savoury biscuits is its clean-label ethos. "One
of the things for Ken, Eoin and I was that we
wanted the ingredients to be pure. We wanted
it to taste like it was coming out of the oven."
Where possible, The Lismore Food Company
uses Irish ingredients. Beth-Ann says
celebrating Irish ingredients is an important
feature for the brand. "We wanted to get a feel
of Ireland across, to celebrate that we are a
little island. So, we used sea salt from Achill
Island and we used Irish wakame seaweed
from Co. Clare, which is hand harvested.
"We have a bakery in west Cork and, wherever
they can use Irish ingredients, they do.
Irish butter is a key ingredient for us and
it's important that we celebrate that. A lot of
companies use palm oil in their biscuits and
we didn't want that. Biscuits taste much more
special with butter and Irish butter is very
much a part of what we are."
Targeting a more premium market than the
"every-day biscuit" market, The Lismore
Food Company supplies premium retailers in
Ireland such as Avoca, Brown Thomas, Fallon
and Byrne, and Dublin Airport. "We are in
Harrods in the UK, as well as Selfridges. In
Japan, we started supplying Takashimaya and
we have just launched into Mitsukoshi, which
is the Harrods of Japan, with all our biscuit
products, which is really exciting for us."
The company is attending SIAL this year with
a view to exploring new export opportunities.
Beth-Ann says the ambition is to grow slowly
and organically. "While we are really excited
about exporting, we are being very careful. We
don't want to do anything too quickly because
then you can lose your focus on the markets
we are in. We want to tread carefully."
She believes there will be further opportunities
in the Asian market, as well as the US where
there is a strong Irish diaspora and, what she
describes as a strong delicatessen market.
In 2016, The Lismore Food Company received
its first award, winning a Great Taste one star.
The SIAL Innovation Awards is the company's
second foray into the world of competition.
"Over the first few years of our business, people
were asking: `do you have dairy-free biscuits?
Do you have something with more chocolate?'
Other people were asking for gluten-free, so
we thought the apple crisps were perfect for
that because they have the snap of a biscuit but
there is no dairy, they are gluten-free, dairy-
free, so they are hitting those benchmarks that
there is a demand for at the moment, but also
that are utterly luxurious and delicious. It is
something that we have been working on for
quite a while. A company is making them for
us in Europe and it is a very exciting product
because A the market is going in that direction
and B they feel very indulgent and delicious,
but they are a very light way to eat chocolate."
The company is also launching a new range
and entering the on-the-go snacking range,
which Beth-Ann believes will broaden the
reach of its brand. "We are very excited about
the new snack range that we are bringing
out. The whole snack market is changing.
There is a huge demand for healthy snacking.
Younger people want a feeling of indulgence
and they want incidental healthy benefits."
The 25g snack range of apple crisp thins
will be available in plain, dark chocolate and
milk-chocolate varieties. "We sit mostly in the
gifting market, which is lovely, but this will
see people buy them for themselves more
and more. A lot of people love buying our
products as gifts but not for themselves, so
we are hoping to bridge that gap with these."
When they set up The Lismore Food Company, its three co-founders wanted to create
a brand that celebrated Irish food and ingredients, Irish heritage and quality. With a
nomination in the 2018 SIAL Paris Innovation Awards for its Dark Chocolate Apple
Crisp Thins, the company is hoping for celebrations of a different kind this October.
Beth-Ann Smith talks to
about creating a luxury brand to excite consumers