Business | 2 months ago

The numbers have been crunched and they look pretty tasty for those in the biscuit industry.

Irish people consume a whopping €230 million worth of biscuits on an annual basis, according to Alison Cowzer, Dragon’s Den star and co-founder of East Coast Bake House.

Considering our love of tea in these parts, the sheer strength of the biscuit industry in this country should come as little surprise, although, according to Cowzer, the vast majority of biscuits we consume in Ireland are imported.

Speaking on The Capital B podcast, Cowzer, who is the co-founder East Coast Bakehouse, which launched in Drogheda in the summer of 2015, said: “Well, we love our biscuits in Ireland. We consume about €230 million worth of biscuits in Ireland every year.

“The vast, vast majority of those are imported. There’s a tiny percentage produced in small artisan facilities in Ireland, so we really saw enormous opportunity to produce a product that Irish people love, in Ireland, using good Irish ingredients.

“So that really was the genesis of the idea, we’ve put the factory in in Drogheda and we’re producing and selling across Ireland at the moment and also exporting.”

Cowzer pointed out that while there are many artisan food producers doing an “incredible job” in the biscuit industry in Ireland, there was a need for more scale in the market, which has a huge appeal, both at home and abroad.

Image via Twitter/Alison Cowzer


“The reason we decided to go back into biscuits is that there’s still a huge and very resilient market there. It’s worth €200 million in Ireland and €3 billion in the UK,” she said.

“To us it’s a very exciting opportunity to bring large-scale food manufacturing back to Ireland and develop the scale-able side of food manufacturing here. In Ireland there are many artisan food producers who do an incredible job but we need more scale in the market. If you look at the private label market, it’s grown hugely.”

“There’s no question there’s a market for it and there’s a market for Irish-made biscuits, but also there’s a big international market for it,” she adds.

“Biscuits are pretty much universal. Most cultures, certainly across Europe and into the States and the UK and Ireland, would be big biscuit eaters so, you know, putting an operational scale together – and that’s what we wanted to do, a large scale operation – you’ve got to go where the big markets are.”

Listen to Alison Cowzer's full interview on The Capital B here:

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Food & Drink, Business, The Capital B