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Independent.ie

Monday 22 October 2018

How this Dublin potato farm turned itself into one of Ireland's best food companies

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
Margaret Donnelly

Margaret Donnelly

Keogh's crisps has become one of the most popular food brands in Ireland over the past few years, and it grew out of a potato farm in Dublin.

The most recent accounts for the company show that its accumulated profits were €1.1m as it continued its drive to be "the go-to luxury brand for crisps in a number of countries".

Established in 2011, the company is based around the family's 400-acre farm in north county Dublin, but its sales stretch as far around the world as China and the Middle East.

The vast bulk of sales are in Ireland but the company has been making inroads into the luxury crisp market in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), China, Germany, the UK and the US, over the past few years.

While it enjoyed six-figure profits in 2014 and 2015, its most recent figures show that profits were €€67,548, due to an investment programme that saw it expand its production facility in order to keep up with increased demand for its products.

Part of this expansion has been reflected in the crisp range, with flavours such as chorizo, sweet chilli and steak making their way onto the company's crisp menu.

Tom Keogh in the potato store at the Keogh family’s 400-acre farm in north county Dublin
Tom Keogh in the potato store at the Keogh family’s 400-acre farm in north county Dublin

Exporting Irish Spuds

The Keogh's have been farming the fertile lands of north county Dublin for over 200 years, but the idea to move into crisp production came as the consumption of potatoes started to fall in Ireland.

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Today, the Keogh's grow a number of variety of potatoes, but with pasta and rice creeping more into people's diets, Tom Keogh, the Managing Director, started to ook at the idea of exporting Irish potatoes to other markets 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, then marketing manager of Keogh's Farm.

"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."

Since then, the company has grown from strength to strength and has become one of the most popular food brands in Ireland, with the aim to be "the go-to luxury brand for crisps" as it continues its expansion plans.


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