‘WHAT a year it’s been,’ says owner Matthew Brownie, who adds that over 40,000 bags of pork scratchings were sold in the nine months from April 2014 to December 2014, during a ‘test period’ for the product.
His Scratch My Pork business has really started to take off, as it prepares to celebrate its first year.
With the initial testing over, the firm is moving plain white bags into foil packaging, and smarter new branding.
‘The introduction of the new Traditional Salt Flavour Scratching has also brought great consumer interest,’ says Matthew, ‘and with distribution channels now in place, this should be a very exciting year.’
But Matthew says the success of his dream product is the result of a lot of hard work, of course. ‘It hasn’t been easy,’ he recalls. ‘Back in October 2014 I collapsed at home under severe pressure, with handling everything from distribution, accounts, and sales, and it scared me to death. But, funnily enough, it was the best thing that could have happened,’ he points out.
‘What it taught me is that I needed to let go and let someone put structures and foundations into the business,’ Matthew explains. ‘Luckily enough, businessman Padraig O’Sullivan had experienced start-ups, and came on board.’ The two met four years ago when they were both in CIT in Cork.
‘What Padraig has brought is structure – allowing me to spend quality time with my family, which is also very important.’
Every week new outlets are agreeing to stock the Scratch My Pork product – a source of great joy for Matthew. ‘Nothing pleases me more than to see people eating my products,’ he says.
‘With an excellent team in place now, I have every confidence that Scratch My Pork will become part of the Irish snack arena, but I realise, of course, that there is still a long way to go with more hard work ahead,’ he says.
He’s particularly thankful to Musgrave’s Supervalu Food Academy Programme, and all the other establishments that gave him a chance this time last year. ‘I am truly grateful to them but a special thanks to people of West Cork who really supported me and continue to buy Scratch My Pork,’ he says. ‘And my wife – without her, none of this would be possible. She has been bringing up our two kids when a lot of the time I am not there. Annie is the greatest wife anyone could ask for.
Matthew is also working on another range of savoury snacks which should become available between now and 2016.