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Galmere Foods Showcases Plant-Based Meals & Premium Pesto

By Maev Martin
Galmere Foods Showcases Plant-Based Meals & Premium Pesto

Maev Martin talks to John Casey, founder of Donworth Capital, about two of Galmere Foods’ brands that are bringing plant-based meals (Roots and Shoots) and premium pesto and dips (Pestle + Mortar) to Irish consumers.

Galmere Foods was established in 1989 and the business was acquired by Donworth Capital in 2013.

“We specialise in ready-to-eat salads, sauces and heat and eat fresh soups and meals such as the Roots And Shoots range,” he says.

“Our business is very focused on using the freshest available ingredients and we prepare fresh ingredients from scratch daily before making each recipe to preserve freshness and flavour.”

Roots and Shoots was established in 2020 to offer consumers plant-based meals that are free from additives and built on traditional plant-based cuisines.


“Roots and Shoots provides delicious plant-based meals with recipes inspired by cuisines that have always been plant-based and not reliant on meat replacement,” says John.

“We are meeting the consumer demand for real food with fresh natural ingredients that are carefully prepared to optimise convenience and enjoyment.

"With no additives, gluten-free, and made in our nut-free facility in Galway, after toasting spices we slow cook our Green Lentil Dahl (twice awarded one star by the Great Taste Awards), Chana Palak Masala, Kerala Aubergine Curry and Butternut Tagine for over two hours to infuse flavours.

"Later this year, Roots and Shoots will have new varieties on shelf, including a refresh of current favourites, with added grains and the addition of an exciting new Katsu curry.”

The Pestle + Mortar brand was established in 2017 and uses premium ingredients and freshly grown Irish basil in its pesto.


“Galmere developed Pestle + Mortar to bring the best of Italian-inspired fresh pesto to Irish consumers,” he says.

“Our pesto is a delicious blend of fine Italian and Irish cheese, combined with freshly cut Irish basil, and delicately prepared to preserve the fresh flavours.

"Our Green Basil Pesto and Sundried Tomato red pesto are both multi-award winners at Blas Na hEireann!”

Last September, the brand launched a fresh hummus range, which comes in three varieties – Classic, Caramelised Onion, and Fresh Basil.

“The majority of hummus sold in Ireland is imported, so we wanted to give consumers more opportunity to support Irish food,” says John.


The Flexitarian Eater

Consumers are focusing on diets that optimise health and minimise the impact on the environment, with many consumers now embracing a flexitarian diet and reducing their meat intake.

“The real growth in the market is being driven, not by a full-time switch to a plant-based diet, but by a ‘more plants, less meat’ focus that is being adopted by a much wider group of consumers, who collectively drive meaningful growth in the category,” says John.

“Our brands – Pestle + Mortar and Roots and Shoots – make it easy and convenient for consumers to prepare delicious and nutritious meals for themselves and their families.

"Our focus is on using the freshest ingredients and on providing consumers with meals that can be prepared and served in minutes.”


Sustainability Focus

Galmere Foods has a strong focus on sustainability.

The company is a member of Bord Bia’s Origin Green programme and was an Origin Green Gold award winner in 2021.

“We are currently implementing an energy reduction programme across the site, reducing energy use across our business and evaluating the installation of solar panels on the roof of our factory,” says John.

“Wherever possible, we procure our ingredients in Ireland, with large volumes of fresh produce sourced annually in Ireland from our grower partners.

"The transfer to Irish-grown basil for Pestle + Mortar has significantly reduced the carbon footprint as we are no longer transporting the product from overseas.”

A Challenging Market
John notes that the current economic climate has had “a profound effect” on raw materials and energy costs in 2022 and “will continue to impact the business and the wider economy during 2023.”

International events, including the war in Ukraine and Covid-19, highlighted the vulnerability of international supply chains and the inter-dependence of world trade.

“We anticipate that, while inflation will moderate during the year if there are no further shocks, the cost of energy and raw materials will remain elevated for some time,” he says.

“The availability of some ingredients is also a challenge and, like many businesses in our sector, it has been necessary to plan carefully and work very hard to maintain supply.

"However, the impact of higher energy costs will accelerate the transition to green energy and motivate industry and consumers to waste less, which will bring positive benefits in the medium term.”

Opportunity & Ambition

Galmere Foods has experienced “steady growth” over the past couple of years, and John says that their investment in people, skills and efficiencies in their facilities has enhanced their capabilities.

“We expect further growth in our core ranges, and significant growth in hummus, dips and meals, where we added further capability in the past year,” he says.

“These ranges are displacing products previously imported into our market.

"We are excited by the commitment from retailers, and in particular consumers, to our brands.

"We are aiming to strengthen the ranges of both Roots and Shoots and Pestle + Mortar, and we hope that this year will bring additional listings, making it easier for consumers to access great fresh Irish food."

© 2023 Checkout – your source for the latest Irish retail news. Article by Maev Martin. Click subscribe to sign up for the Checkout print edition.

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