Glenisk has 27pc sales surge after market move
€3m growth comes naturally as yogurt-maker enters mainstream
SALES at Irish organic yogurt-producer Glenisk last year increased by 27pc to €14m as the business moved from niche into the mainstream market.
The Co Offaly firm is by run by five members of the Cleary family, and director Gerard Cleary said yesterday the firm now accounted for 90pc of the organic yogurt market in Ireland.
French dairy giant Danone owns a minority share in the business through its Stonyfield Farm unit, the world's largest organic yogurt-producer, which bought a 37pc share of Glenisk in 2006.
Accounts recently filed with the Companies Office show that the firm recorded a modest profit of €1,185 in 2010 after recording a pre-tax loss of €129,560 in 2009.
The 2010 profit takes account of non-cash depreciation costs of €722,886 and R&D costs of €457,048.
Mr Cleary confirmed the firm -- which today employs 50 people -- recorded revenues of €11m in 2010 climbing 27pc to €14m last year. Accounts for 2011 have to be filed.
"Significantly, our share of the overall yogurt market has more than doubled. In 2008, we had 4.5pc share; currently we have 11pc of the yogurt market, so we are far from the niche brand we once were."
He said that for the first quarter of this year, sales were up 25pc on the same period of 2011.
The company was established in 1987 and today sells 110,000 servings of yogurt every day, or 40 million servings a year. The firm's best-selling yogurt is its low fat natural yogurt.
Mr Cleary said: "While profits for 2011 were up on the previous year, we are fortunately in a growth phase, as evidenced by the increase in turnover and more than doubling of our market share.
"We are here for the long run, so we will continue to plough whatever resources that we make into our business to develop brand awareness, to continually improve product quality, and deliver new organic products."
At its Offaly plant -- which is part-powered by an on-site wind turbine -- the firm processes eight million litres annually and procures 90pc of the organic milk produced in Ireland for its products. The firm exports about 15pc of its products to the UK, Spain and Portugal.
Explaining the decision to go organic, Mr Cleary said: "We have been organic since 1995. Converting was a huge decision, there was no viable supply of organic milk back then, nor was there evidence of any great consumer demand for organic products.
"But we recognised the gap that existed and crucially, we were motivated by a bigger vision -- the idea that organic is a better and more sustainable way to produce food that will benefit the generations to come."
Mr Cleary said that the sales increase last year was "as a result of innovation and a promotional strategy that is all about giving customers more".
"Our prices to customers have come down, but we don't compromise on the quality of our ingredients, so that has been a challenge for the business. Our experience is that innovation is rewarded," he said.
"We work with 50 farming families across Ireland -- 40 organic dairy cow farms and a further 10 goat farms. Our goats' milk and goats' yogurt represents about 10pc of our total sales."