We caught up with Austin Duigan to find out more about Donegal Rapeseed Oil.
Can you tell us a bit about your products?
We have both Classic & Gold products in our range for both retail & catering sectors. The Classic range includes, 500ml & 250ml Donegal cold pressed virgin rapeseed oil & we have 3 of 250ml flavours in this range, garlic, lemon & chilli & we also have a honey & mustard dressing.
The Gold range includes 500ml & 250ml Donegal Gold Selection cold pressed Irish rapeseed oil & we have 3 of 250ml flavours in this range, porcinini mushroom, fennel & curry.
The seed for both of these ranges is grown in the Donegal area, however the seed used for the Gold Range is from lower yielding varieties giving an even more delicate flavour.
The soil on which Donegal Rapeseed Oil is grown is a unique soil, soil type No. 20 which is to be found on the rolling lowlands of the Finn & Foyle basin. This together with the Wild Atlantic Winds & the cooler climate generally, gives Donegal Rapeseed Oil its light delicate flavour that families that love cooking, consumers & chefs tell us only Donegal Rapeseed Oil has.
All products are gluten free & pure.
What inspired you to create your product?
At the onset of the recession, we became aware that all cooking oil being used in Ireland was being imported. We knew that we could successfully grow Rapeseed Oil here in Donegal and having researched the idea, we immediately became aware that consumers would appreciate a locally produced, high quality cooking oil sensibly priced, that would displace imports.
The research also showed that it had half the saturated fat of olive oil & much higher in Omegas 3, 6 & 9 & rich in Vitamin E.
How has your product evolved since it has launched?
We began with just 1 product which was the Classic 500ml Donegal Cold Pressed Virgin Rapeseed Oil.
Since then we have added the others over a period of 5 years. All the time we have largely being responding to the demand of consumers.
What are the benefits of using rapeseed oil over other oils?
We have mentioned some of the benefits already with it having half the saturated fat of olive oil & higher in Omegas 3, 6 & 9. Consumers tell us all the time that it does not interfere with the natural taste or flavour of the food, whereas other oils can be tasted on the food. This may be partly due to the fact that Donegal Rapeseed Oil has a higher burn point than many other oils. Again consumers tell us that the light, delicate flavour of Donegal Rapeseed Oil allows them to get the best from the flavours of other ingredients in their cooking.
Who is your customer?
Our main customer are families that enjoy cooking. We regularly receive recipes from them telling us of their excitement & joy of cooking with Donegal Rapeseed Oil. There are also a lot of hotels & restaurants using Donegal Rapeseed Oil and are very proudly promoting the fact that they are doing so.
What tips would you give to someone who is starting out and wants to launch a food-related product/business?
Quality is key & for new & young businesses starting out, they may be tempted to compromise on quality. This is something they should certainly not do even in the face of growing competition. Young producers should start early on a programme of continuous improvement & have that very much central to their strategy going forward.
Where can you buy this product?
There is a full list of stockists nationwide on our website www.donegalrapeseedoil.com
What does the future hold for your business?
Currently our business here at home continues to grow & expand and we have some exciting plans within product development & export.