In our new Meet the Maker series, we're shining the light on the many gifted producers behind some of Ireland's best food and drink brands. Today, we chat to Laura of Wexford Preserves
Could you tell us a bit about the history of Wexford Preserves?
A small family business established since 1988. The business was started by the current owners’ Aunt Ellen in Broadway, Co. Wexford. Tom and Laura Sinnott bought the business from Ellen when she decided to retire in 2008. The Sinnott Family makes delicious jams, marmalades and savoury preserves in the heart of beautiful Co. Wexford.
From traditional family recipes, we carefully cook our produce using open pot boiling in small batches, making sure that the quality is always exceptional. We use the finest fresh fruit from local growers as much as possible and add nothing but 100% natural ingredients. To make our marmalades we use fresh citrus fruit delivered straight to our kitchen door sourced by myself [Laura ] and my husband Tom from amazing organic fruit farms in Seville and Sicily. This delicious fruit is used to make our multi-award-winning marmalades.
Why is using Irish ingredients important to your company?
It is so, so important to us to use as much Irish ingredients as we can get our hands-on, we work with local growers to source a huge amount of Irish grown ingredients, these include; blackcurrants, strawberries, raspberries, gooseberries, apples, cider vinegar, garlic, chillies [yes chillies], onions, tomatoes, even any alcohol we use we always look at sourcing an Irish brand firstly. Obviously, it is not possible to get our citrus fruit in Ireland so we work with two organic family-run farms in Seville and Sicily to source oranges, lemons, Seville oranges, blood oranges and clementines.
Not only are the ingredients fresher but they give a better taste and in the long run a better product. Using local and Irish is also part of our sustainability plan and we have been certified Origin Green with Bord Bia since 2016.
What is the biggest challenge that you face as a producer in Ireland?
As we grow and the demand for our preserves grow we find the challenge is like I said above sourcing the amount of Irish grown fruit and other ingredients we need. Another huge factor thrown into the mix is COVID 19 and battling our way through it. Brexit is another challenge which is fast approaching.
What new trends do you see that are emerging in your industry?
Like in any industry we keep a very watchful eye on trends, not only through research and guidance from Bord Bia but we listen to customer feedback and what our customer wants and needs. For example we have a no added sugar and an organic range to cater for and cover a wider target market.
Are there any major changes you would like to see in your industry?
I would love to see sugar being produced on a large scale in Ireland. I would love to see the Irish brands having more shelf space in the supermarkets and being the predominant brands you see when you are looking for a particular product no matter what it is. There are so many imports on the shelves with a huge amount of shelf space.
What has running your own business taught you?
Running our own business has taught us a lot, number one being to think outside the box and be open to change.
Secondly, be aware of what resources and grants are available to help you develop and grow your business.
Maintaining our traditional methods of cooking and buying Irish ingredients is the most important thing for us but we are doing this whilst growing our business.
Who are some other Irish foodie brands you draw inspiration from?
Keogh’s Farm and Flahavans are great businesses to watch, we also admire O’Neill’s Bacon and Lismore Food Company.
What’s next for the company?
We have just expanded our premises with the help of a grant from LEADER and we are aiming to take on new projects next year with our focus being on using Irish ingredients.
Find out more about Wexford Preserves here!