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 Sabine and Nico from Leaves Pure Food.
Can you tell us a bit about your product?
We developed and created a unique and convenient range of Artisan pasta which offers a nutritional profile like no other product on the market. We make our pasta without using wheat, but only whole grains and 100% natural products and keep the number of ingredients as low as possible. Our pasta cooks quicker than regular pasta, which makes it extremely convenient. In a nutshell, our pasta range is a new delicious and healthy way to have a pasta dinner ready in minutes!
What inspired you to create your product?
Nico is Italian, so we created this product because we love to eat pasta. However, a year ago he discovered that wheat was becoming increasingly difficult to properly digest for him. We looked into pasta without wheat but found that there was no real, great tasting and healthy option for us. After months of researching and experimenting in our commercial kitchen, we added a line of Artisan Pastas to our repertoire.
How has your product evolved since it has launched?
We tested the product extensively before launching it in supermarkets, health food stores and specialty shops. We also went to farmers’ markets twice a week to allow people to try samples, and we conducted interviews with those who tasted our products. We then combined the feedback we received with our literature research and developed our current products. We also had the amazing chance to be part of the SuperValu Food Academy, which provided us with direct feedback from SuperValu on our product. The feedback helped us greatly to identify our market and improve our product range further. We are extremely excited to be launching a new pasta in a few weeks which contains buckwheat and chickpeas.
Who is your customer?
We have a wide customer base such as people who value their health and are interested in a nutritionally more balanced meal. These people value the fact that we use different grains, no additives and no chemicals. Other customers are interested in getting and staying fit and train in gyms or like to run. These athletes value the fact that our pasta is high in protein, especially our buckwheat pasta. Our last group of interest are parents with young children. When parents realise how easy it is to have children eat healthy, whole-grain meals which their children love, they are happy to cook pasta multiple times a week!
What tips would you give to someone who is starting out and wants to launch a food-related product/business?
Our biggest piece of advice is to surround yourself by a network of fellow entrepreneurs and decision makers in the industry. By being well connected, you will be able to help others and others will be able to help you. We have found a great network in Plato Dublin, Dublin Food Chain and the Women in Business Network (all organised by the Local Enterprise Office) and have also made valuable connections during Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur Bootcamp (organised by LEO), and FoodWorks (organised by Enterprise Ireland, Bord Bia and Teagasc). Being part of the SuperValu Food Academy has been amazing for us, as we’ve learned so much about growing a food business and have been given a great opportunity to reach our customers. Our products can now be found in many SuperValu stores in Co. Dublin which wouldn’t have been possible without the help of the SuperValu Food Academy programme.
Where can you buy this product and how much will it cost?
Thanks to the SuperValu Food Academy programme our Artisan Pasta retails at €3.49 per pack and is stocked in SuperValus in Co. Dublin. Our product is also sold online via www.leavespurefood.com and is delivered straight to your door, hassle-free. You can also find it in health food stores and specialty stores throughout the country.
What does the future hold for your business?
The future is extremely bright for Leaves Artisan Pasta. We are getting great feedback on our product in real life and via social media, from professional chefs, celebrities such as Rozanne Purcell, and brands such as Ballymaloe alike. We are so thankful for the support from great organisations such as Enterprise Ireland, Bord Bia and Teagasc, and the chance SuperValu Food Academy has given us. We are looking forward to seeing Leaves Artisan Pasta in more stores, and thanks to the support of the SuperValu Food Academy this is likely to happen. Keep a close eye on SuperValu shelves in the coming months, as we will be sharing lots of new flavours!