WHEN you put a dash of syrup in your coffee at Starbucks or when you eat a cookie cluster in your Ben and Jerries ice cream, you are tasting products made by Kerry Ingredients and Flavours.
This is a company which comes under the umbrella of the Kerry Group. The new Naas centre will be solely used by this arm of the business. CEO of Kerry Ingredients and Flavours Eoin O’Connell unveiled the plans to the public for the first time at the Kildare Enterprise Board’s business conference last Wednesday January 7. Since the announcement that this centre would be built in Naas, few concrete details have emerged. However, Mr O’Connell gave a very informative briefing at the conference.
He told of how the company provides ingredients and flavours in Europe, Middle East, Africa, America, Latin America, and Asia. It makes flavours for savoury and dairy foods, prepared meats, snacks, bakery, and beverage products. The four strategies of the company centre on cost effective pricing, convenience, taste and nutrition. He said there is a lot of potential in China and India. When we think of flavourings, we all think of E numbers and additives. However, Mr O’Connell stressed they look at natural flavours, For example, if they need a chicken flavour for a product, they cook up chicken and extract the flavour. He told of how they cook celery and use the juice to replace nitrates in packaged ham. They also provide a type of lactose for medicines including the well known hay fever tablet, Clarytin.
The company has sales of E5 billion. In 1972 he told how Kerry started off with just 12 employees processing milk. Today, customer intimacy is still an important strategy for the company. At Naas, they plan to build customer suites, where they clients can come and see the products being made in kitchens based on their own company’s design. For example, when executives from McDonald’s visit, they will be served in a setting similar to their own restaurants.
The company has 20 global accounts with mayor players in the food industry such as Kraft, Nestle, McDonalds, Cadbury and Heinz. Mr O’Connell told of how their centre in Wisconsin has been a fantastic success in reducing the turnaround of products. He pointed out the Naas centre will also be able to make flavours and ingredients to their customer’s requirements in a shorter time frame. It will eliminate the necessity to post out the samples and the wait for instructions for changes. Now the tasting and changes can be done on site with customers.
“All our research and development for the region will now be done in Naas going forward,” he said.
- Niamh O’Donoghue