Thursday 27 October 2016

Healthy profits in Irish food and drink

Published 06/04/2016 | 14:31

There has been an explosion of Irish companies producing high quality food and drink for Irish and international markets and on this week’s Ready Business show, Brian Purcell spoke to two entrepreneurs who have found success.

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Gary Lavin, co-founder and Managing Director of VitHit and Brian Lee, founder of Chopped, explained their very different journeys to reach this point  and gave their thoughts on the revolution in Irish food and drink that has been occurring over the last few years, especially for those products with an emphasis on healthy produce.

For Lavin, it has been a seventeen year ‘overnight success’ when as he describes it, ‘the market finally caught up with VitHit about five years ago’.  Perseverance is what it’s all about he says as well as believing strongly in your product.

After seventeen years of dogged persistence, VitHit is officially the fastest growing soft drink in Ireland and the 15th biggest selling soft drink nationally.  VitHit now sells over 17 million bottles per year in 8 countries and in the UK it is the market leader in health drinks in both Boots and Tesco.

Brian Lee, founder of 'Chopped' and Gary Lavin , Founder of 'Vit Hit' chat with Presenter Brian Purcell during the Ready Business Podcast.
Brian Lee, founder of 'Chopped' and Gary Lavin , Founder of 'Vit Hit' chat with Presenter Brian Purcell during the Ready Business Podcast.

For Brian Lee, his road to Chopped has been one that has seen him always answer his entrepreneurial spark, from his teenage years when he ran his own stalls at the Christmas markets, to running a successful property management company in his 20s, before opening FIT Studios in Dublin’s Fairview.

Seeing a gap in the market for healthy fast food, Chopped was founded in 2012 and has been going from strength to strength.  Since the first Chopped opened in Baggot St in 2012, two more Chopped outlets have opened and it has also begun rolling out a franchising programme.

For both Brian and Gary, they believe they have the products that can answer those needs and they have been on a long enough business journey to know that the market is now there and in demand.  The explosion in the Irish food and drink explosion shows no sign of easing off.

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You can check out the full Ready Business Podcast series here.

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