Meeting customer expectations through innovation
“We have had a long-standing positive and proactive relationship with Enterprise Ireland and currently avail of its R&D support programme”
– John McGrath, Head of Business Development
Case Study: Dawn Farms
Established in 1985, Dawn Farms is a family-owned company and the largest specialist supplier of cooked and fermented meat protein ingredients outside of the USA. The company currently supplies world-leading food brands across more than 40 markets, including the UK, the wider EU, the Middle East and Africa, offering a “one-stop shop” to customers in the pizza, sandwich, snacking and ready meal categories.
Named Irish Food and Drink Exporter of the Year in 2016, the company employs over 1,000 staff based in state-of-the-art facilities in Naas, County Kildare, and Northampton, England.
According to Head of Business Development John McGrath, a holistic relationship-based service that puts the customer’s brand first – with product, process and service innovation playing a central role in its total value proposition – is at the heart of the company’s success.
“We have identified a number of key trends, based on consumer insights, that drive our product development pipeline”, he explains. These include the “quest for health and wellness” and “sustainable lives”.
In line with these trends, all Dawn Farms products are free from artificial colours, hydrogenated fats and MSG, while also meeting the latest standards on salt.
The company’s new Streetfood Collection, born out of its extensive investment in consumer insights, combines a bespoke cook and sear process to produce a range of Mexican, American and Korean-inspired street food cooked meat products to allow their customers meet growing demand in the hand-held snack and food to go markets across Europe. Cooked “low and slow”, this new range brings all the flavours of street food alive and comes in vacuum-sealed pouches for better and more consistent recipe and flavour delivery in store.
“Today’s consumers are seeking out authentic and better tasting food experiences”, says McGrath. “The Street Food Collection delivers on that need for Dawn Farms customers.”
The company’s Texan BBQ Beef Burnt Ends sandwich filling is another example of this consumer-led innovation in action. “Consumers today are becoming more discerning about barbecue food and this is evident in the different types of regional barbecue sauces offered in burger chains as well as the broad choice of restaurants seeking to deliver authentic American barbecue experience and tastes”, McGrath points out. “It also taps into the ‘back to basics’ food trend – a return to primeval cooking methods such as grilling, barbecuing and fermentation. The burnt ends' concept also fits the sensorial trend towards charring, blackened and burnt textures in ingredients from meat to ice cream.”
Similarly, the company’s Italian-Style Porchetta product was inspired by traditional Italian street food. “The rationale behind this ingredient is to give food-to-go consumers an authentic Italian food experience. This fits in with the Borrowed Nostalgia food trend, where people are looking for traditional food experiences from other countries. Porchetta is a traditional Italian roasted pork delicacy, typically sold from a cart or a truck, sliced to order and served in a sandwich as a quick treat at the market or at a fair.”
“We have had a long-standing positive and proactive relationship with Enterprise Ireland and currently avail of its R&D support programme”, he adds. “This has allowed us develop a range of product and process improvements across the business that underpin our commercial strategy and foster new growth opportunities in a very demanding marketplace.”