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Saturday 20 January 2018

Farmers behind Keogh's Crisps see profits rise by 80pc

 

Tom Keogh at Keogh's farm and crisp factory in Oldtown, Co. Dublin. Photo: Douglas O'Connor
Tom Keogh at Keogh's farm and crisp factory in Oldtown, Co. Dublin. Photo: Douglas O'Connor

Gordon Deegan

Keogh's Crisps is aiming to be "the go-to luxury brand for crisps" as the Dublin firm seeks to expand its international foothold.

Managing director Tom Keogh was commenting on abridged accounts for Keogh's Crisps, which show that the firm's accumulated profits passed €1m in 2015.

This followed the crisp maker's accumulated profits increasing from €655,479 to €1.037m in 2015.

The €381,479 profits in 2015 represented an 80pc increase on profits of €212,027 in 2014.

The family-owned firm, which employs 35, has made inroads into the luxury crisp market in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), China, Germany, the UK and the US, exporting to 14 countries in total. The firm has enjoyed its greatest overseas growth in its UAE market followed by China.

At the end of December 2015, the firm had a cash pile of €736,465 and Keogh said that the company is keen to invest all profits back into the firm's expansion. "We know we are an absolute minnow in the international market and we are up against firms who are very large and who have very deep pockets," said Keogh.

Keogh's 'Shamrock and Sour Cream' flavoured potato crisps
Keogh's 'Shamrock and Sour Cream' flavoured potato crisps

"We have very ambitious growth plans for the company," he added.

"So far, 2017 has been a very, very good year for the company and we continue to enjoy great support from the Irish public," said Keogh, who said that 85pc of sales take place in Ireland with the remaining 15pc overseas.

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The next number of months will be crucial for the firm's growth strategy as it unveils a new range of crisps with new flavours this summer.

The company was established in 2011 and its crisps are made from potatoes harvested from Keogh's 400-acre farm in north Co Dublin.

Derek, Tom and Ross Keogh at the launch of Keogh's crisps on Keogh's Farm, Oldtown. BELOW: Brothers,
Derek, Tom and Ross Keogh at the launch of Keogh's crisps on Keogh's Farm, Oldtown. BELOW: Brothers,

Profits for the firm in 2016 were not as high due to an investment programme at the company that saw it expand its production facility in order to keep with increased demand for the company's products.

Staff costs during the year increased from €731,615 to €921,300.

The decision by the Keogh family to get into the business in the first place was taken back in 2010, when consumption of potatoes in Ireland declined between 2008-2010 as people switched to rice, pasta or, perhaps, ran for the hills after reading about Robert Atkins and his controversial low-carb diet regime.

"Tom Keogh, the managing director, started looking at the idea of exporting Irish potatoes to other markets like the USA but found that unless they are cooked, it wouldn't stand much of a chance.

"But it sparked an idea about manufacturing crisps and he travelled to countries like the US and New Zealand to research the market and identify where it was heading, particularly at the luxury end," said Aisling Worth, marketing manager of Keogh's Farm Worth recently.

"When he got back, he started to develop something in his mother's kitchen and once he knew he could do it, he bought the first kettle fryer from the Amish community in Pennsylvania and shipped it back to Ireland and started the business. Then in 2011, the company launched its first product."

The brand-story, meanwhile, revolves around the Keogh family, who have been farming in north county Dublin for over 200 years.


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