“We were able to draw on the insights from the professionals which gave us a fantastic understanding of consumer preferences and thoughts. The knowledge we gained using the Enterprise Ireland Innovation Voucher Scheme enabled us to make tweaks and improvements and our sales have grown on the back of it”
Ian Maher, Head of Operations, Keogh’s Crisps.
The Irish success story of Keogh’s crisps is now a worldwide one and their range of premium hand cooked small batch crisps and popcorn continues to expand. Their share bag sales increased by a third during the pandemic and the family-owned company has innovation at its core and continues to scale up.
The family has been farming for over 200 years at Oldtown, North County Dublin and their crisps now account for nearly 10% of the total Irish crisp market. They also currently export to 20 countries worldwide including the USA. Known as the only firm in the world to have actually taken a potato brand and turned it into a crisp brand, their use of Irish ingredients and flavours like chorizo and cherry tomato, Irish Atlantic sea salt, shamrock sour cream and roast turkey and secret stuffing sets them apart from other brands.
Keogh’s took part in the Enterprise Ireland Innovation Voucher Scheme and worked with Teagasc to research and test consumer reaction to some upcoming product innovations. “We found it very useful testing and trialling and tasting products to give us an idea of what consumers might think, so that we could go forward and down the right track. After feedback we changed some of the seasoning applications and made improvements” explains Ian Maher, Head of Operations.
Working with experts from Teagasc, Keogh’s Crisps was able to use the Innovation Voucher Scheme to set up bespoke research models to draw insights from professional panels. They could then realign their thoughts and make changes where they needed to. “We got a good steer in the right direction with the research and we were able to ascertain what aspects of the products that we needed to revisit. We got a good understanding of how we should go about testing something. We learned that it is not about just asking questions, it is about asking the right questions. It was like a light switch for us.” explained Ian.
“The Enterprise Ireland Innovation Voucher Scheme helped us to get to where we wanted to faster and with less of a pinch than we would have because we had the support and professional help in the background. It’s not just the process – it’s all about the potential of where it leads you to.”
Looking to the future, Keogh’s Crisps are always looking at how they are going to expand their range and do even healthier versions with great flavour and taste. They’re also prioritising sustainability and having less impact on the environment. Recommending the Innovation Voucher Scheme to other companies Ian Maher advises: “You cannot do everything at once. Plan out what you need to do over a period of time and think about what you want to achieve with the innovation vouchers. In our business for example, it’s all about timing and there are certain windows during the year for new products.”