CLONAKILTY Gluten Free Kitchen has expanded from two to 20 Cork stockists in just eight months, with plans with plans underway to further expand throughout Munster.
The brand has just been officially launched and has Niamh Scally at its helm.
It originated in 2015 as a specialised in-store gluten free bakery (the first of its kind in Ireland) in Scally’s SuperValu in Clonakilty.
Following a conversation with the mother of a coeliac child who wanted a novelty birthday cake just like all the other kids had, Niamh’s parents and store owners Eugene and Catriona Scally quickly identified a gap in the market for a wider gluten-free offering and invested in a specialist gluten-free bakery.
There’s a huge market for quality gluten-free produce in Ireland with an estimated 50,000 people living with coeliac disease and a further 400,000 who are gluten-intolerant.
In autumn 2020, Niamh took the reins to grow the brand from a gluten-free unit to the rear of the store into a fully-fledged independent business.
She moved the operation into a standalone production unit in Bandon last October, and now employs five staff.
The scratch bakery range includes 17 lines, including yeast breads like their rustic white loaf, multigrain and white rolls, specialty loaves, oat and yogurt loaf, corn bread and brioche, and confectionery lines including apple tart, tea brack and more.
As well as being available in a range of shops, it’s also served in the five-star hotel The Europe Killarney and The Great Southern Hotel Killarney.
‘The response from the consumer has been incredibly positive, they have a real appreciation for the freshness, taste and breadth of range and we recently launched our apple tart as a result of listening to our audience,’ said Niamh.
Special guest Tara McCarthy, chief executive of Bord Bia, said at the launch that bakery is a challenging and competitive sector, and one of the more mature categories in retail. ‘However, we know from Bord Bia research that there is opportunity for growth and despite the disruption of a global pandemic, Niamh and her team have expanded rapidly since launching last year,’ she added.
Gill Brennan of the Coeliac Society of Ireland said that to see the business grow so significantly in such a short space of time ‘speaks volumes’.
‘We do get to hear the positivity back from our members in West Cork who have said they love the taste and freshness from the range,’ she said.