Tuesday 21 November 2017

Cooperation a key ingredent

WE ARE part of Wexford Food Producers Network and businesses working together in Wexford is hugely important.

Wexford going forward is going to be the capital of great food in Ireland. There is a great buzz about food in the Wexford area. It was said to me by the section buyer of Dunnes recently that I should use the Wexford Food Producers logo on my products because the county is recognised as a leading food producer area.

As members of Wexford Food Producers we're always able to call each other for advice when dealing with the multiples. The food producers need to continue working together and supporting each other and pool travel costs by putting products in the vans which are going in the same direction, so long as they are compatible with each other. The Emo garage beside us in New Ross purchase our fresh cut sandwiches and salads for their deli and we purchase diesel for our vans both businesses supporting each other.

A passion for food and entertaining family and friends led me to start out Trudies Catering Kitchen in a purpose-built unit at the back of my house in September 2000, with my husband Michael.

Prior to this I worked at Celtic Seafoods in New Ross, from there I went to Dan & Bridie Kavanagh's on the Quay. Michael worked in SuperValu, New Ross as a butcher and at the deli counter. Tomas Caulfield of Caulfield McCarthy SuperValu advised us when we were starting up the business which I originally established to make small amounts of salads at home. Through customer demand for the products and word of mouth the business grew and additional staff were hired. Within weeks we had four additional team members and have grown continuously to 16 team members today. By 2003 the business had grown considerably and we had outgrown our existing premises. We moved to our current building at the Waterford Road Business Park in May 2003 where we have grown and expanded annually.

Our staff work from 4 am to 2:30 pm and our products are delivered by vans leaving at 6 am every morning. Initially we produced sandwiches and salads.

We now provide a banqueting service to the domestic and corporate sector catering for functions of all sizes and all occasions. We are there to assist people in what they need.

We make 20,000 products a week here and every single salad we make has a birth certificate for traceability purposes. Freshness is the key to success in our business and all our ingredients are sourced locally, with 80% coming from County Wexford.

We use Keelings in Wexford for our vegetables, C.J. O'Loughlin's for our mayonnaise, Duncannon Fish for our salmon, Glanbia for our milk, and Stafford's and Irish Pride bread.

With the recession our business grew because a lot of the supermarkets didn't have the staff to make the salads. We now supply Tesco, Caulfield-McCarthy Group, Pettitt's, Dunnes Stores, Centra, Eurospar, Londis, numerous shops, hotels and restaurants in Leinster; and create own branded sandwiches for some Waterford businesses.

We are very much a family business and two of our children, Richard and Shauna are working with us.

The company has won numerous awards, most notably the EIQA National Hygiene Award for manufacturing and distribution in 2007 and in February of this year we won a highly commended Small Firms Association award.

The rise in the price of diesel, oil and eggs has been a challenge in the past few years as we haven't increased the price of our products. New regulations in 2012 meant the price of eggs went up by 55%.

New labelling regulations from the EU New Food Information regulations 2014 mean we'll have to include calories and nutritional information on the front of all our labels instead of on the rear of the pack as is the current standard, so there are always new challenges and costs.

Trudies Catering Kitchen is only as good as the last order that is sent out that is why we have a right first time policy.

Wexford People

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