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 John from Uncle Aidan’s Flour.
Can you tell us a bit about your product?
I am producing stone ground wholemeal flour. The unique selling point of this flour is that our wheat is locally sourced and ground slowly through a set of French Burr Milling Stones. The workings of the mill ensure that the stones do not overheat and the wheat germ produced remains intact and retains all its goodness and the original nutritional value. The stones also preserve the authentic flavour of the flour.
What inspired you to create your product?
My uncle Aidan Murphy is the last Master Miller of his generation and was the inspiration for producing our wholemeal flour. Balliminane Mills, Co. Wexford, owned by my family since 1905, is the only working, water powered mill in Ireland producing flour at a commercial level. I am the 3rd generation of millers in the Murphy family, therefore, I did not want to close this mill down, such has been the fate of many other old mills in the country. Joining the SuperValu Food Academy helped us to grow and develop our business by gaining first retail listings and a greater understanding of the opportunities available for a small brand like ours.
How has your product evolved since it has launched?
We started off producing only 2kg bags. Through the SuperValu Food Academy Programme we received great customer feedback that allowed us to develop our product further. We are now able to offer bulk bags (20/25kg) for the bakery sector and have launched 1kg bags of our Uncle Aidan’s Flour which will be available in SuperValu stores shortly. We are very proud to say that this will be the very first 1kg bag of wholemeal flour available on the Irish market.
Who is your customer?
Our customer is everyone who is interested in a good quality wholemeal flour that is full of nutrients. This could be the family who wants to bake a nice breakfast bread or the couple who is looking for a healthy treat. Through the SuperValu Food Academy Advance Programme we have had the chance to secure more listings with SuperValu and offer Unlce Aidan’s Flour to an even wider customer base. It’s continually growing and we are sure this will continue thanks to our new product offering.
What tips would you give to someone who is starting out and wants to launch a food-related product/business?
I would advise any small food-related business to do a feasibility study to find out if there is actually a market for your product. If so, talk to as many people as you can within the food industry. The SuperValu Food Academy has been a great support in the growth of our business and provided us with valuable information in branding, market research and distribution.
As it is not all plain sailing, be prepared for setbacks. It is important to learn from them and get up again.
Where can you buy this product and how much will it cost?
Our 2kg bags of Uncle Aidan’s Flour retail at €3.29. They can be purchased in SuperValu stores in Wexford and will be available in selected SuperValu shops across Leinster from 18th May onwards.
What does the future hold for your business?
We hope to make our brand a household name across the country with the view of exporting. We are delighted to be working with SuperValu Food Acadamy Advance on this next step, as the programme provides us with commercial and marketing insights that help us in scaling up and growing our business even further. The SuperValu Food Academy has been there for Uncle Aidan’s Flour every step of the way.