Redmond Cabot of Cabots of Westport and Michael Flanagan of The Little Shepard in Claremorris.
Supermarket chain Aldi have provided two of Mayo’s most innovative food and drink producers with a contract to supply Aldi’s 137 nationwide stores through its ‘Grow with Aldi’ supplier development programme. Cabot’s of Westport and Velvet Cloud of Claremorris have earned the chance to supply their homemade products nationwide on Aldi’s shelves.
Kicking off on June 6, producers will supply a total of 68 diverse products which include cereals, drinks, spices, preserves, baking goods, sauces, dairy goods, cake, fresh fish, ready meals and alcohol. The Grow with Aldi initiative, developed in partnership with Bord Bia, is designed to help small to medium Irish food and drink businesses earn a retail listing with a national retailer.
Applicants pitched their products at a special Aldi Immersion Day with Bord Bia while meeting existing Aldi suppliers. Extensive product sampling followed, and after careful consideration judges selected 35 producers, with a total of 68 products to take part in the Aldi Specialbuys event.
Speaking to The Mayo News, Redmond Cabot, founder of Cabots of Westport said: “We are really proud to be recognised by a nationwide retailer such as Aldi. It’s a series of developments in this business that reinforce the success of what we believe in, where we are from and how we run our business. Red’s Sauce is an example of a family run business based in Westport that make and sell a range of fresh food products succeeding on a semi national basis. Being from Westport and Mayo is very important to us as we work with the finest Mayo people who are known for their hard work and innovation. We are also very thankful for the support of Kavanagh’s SuperValu, Westport who right from the beginning have promoted local producers, giving us the first opportunity in Irish retail.”
Red explained that the Aldi contract is a once off buy of 2,500 sauces, split between their slow roasted tomato and basil and hot thai red curry sauce.
“The tomato and basil is a deliciously sweet slow roasted versatile sauce and the thai red curry is a hot coconut based sauce that can be used to spice up a meal on the table. Our belief is that by using 100 percent fresh natural ingredients, our customers get the best nutritional values for healthy minds and bodies. We decided in the early stages not to out source and instead to make everything ourselves. This brings it’s own challenges but ultimately ensures we can control the product to the high standards that we pride ourselves on,” he explained.
Velvet Cloud is a range of handmade natural sheep’s milk yogurt and cheese, made on the family farm where the Flanagan family have been farming for generations.
“We lived in Italy and France where sheep’s dairy products are a common place. After returning home, having worked in Italy and France, we investigated the market and found that there was an opportunity in the market for sheep’s dairy products. The sheep’s yogurt is doing very well locally and nationwide. We sell our yogurt in our local SuperValu’s and speciality food stores around the country.” Aisling Flanagan told The Mayo News.
“It’s great that sheep’s dairy products and their valuable nutritious information is becoming better known. Velvet Cloud suits many who feel they have a cow dairy intolerance. Because of the molecular make-up of sheep’s milk, its higher nutritional profile, and its mild naturally sweeter taste, it is popular with people interested in digestive health and those looking for a natural product with nothing added or nothing strained away.” she explained.
Velvet Cloud’s other product, Rockfield, is one of only a very small number of sheep’s cheeses made in Ireland. It is a full flavour nutty, robust tasting sheep’s cheese covered by a thick creamy/grey rind, aged for a minimum of 90 days.
Sheep’s milk contains 70 to 80 percent more protein and much more of the right kinds of fats, vitamins and minerals, compared to that of a cow or a goat. It has more than twice as much Vitamin C, and double or triple the other essential vitamins. It also has more folic acid.
“Five of the successful products from this initiative will be given the chance to become core line Aldi listed products, winning a contract to be sold in Aldi’s Irish stores year-round. We would encourage everybody to get out and support both local Mayo producers by picking up one or two of our products in Aldi once they hit the shelves.” added Redmond Cabot.