Family business in Larne powering to success in healthy food exports
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The small business, which is owned and run by husband and wife team Zsolt and Andrea, both originally from Hungary, has also won exciting business from Odaois Foods in Dublin, one of Ireland’s leading food distributors.
“We are now directly supplying local independent food stores and farms shop across Northern Ireland as well as selling online via our e-commerce website,” says Andrea.
“Our business with Odaois is immensely encouraging and is strengthening our presence in the Republic, our most important market outside Northern Ireland. We have been supplying Odaios Foods with our energy ball and granola products since June, providing products to foodservice customers in the Dublin area and across the Republic of Ireland.
“We are also supplying around 140 food stores with our retail products across Ireland with our distributor partner, Taste The View, also based in Dublin. Our high-profile customers include high-calibre retailers such as Avoca and Donnybrook Fair,” adds mum of three Andrea.
Green Fingers Family, a Food NI member company, is now a multi-award-winning food production business established in 2020 by the enterprising couple.
“We are producing 100 percent natural, gluten-free, plant-based granolas, energy balls, and healthy, no added sugar treats,” she continues. We do not use any additives, preservatives, or processed sugars, only natural ingredients in our products. All our packaging is eco-friendly, plastic-free, fully compostable or fully recyclable,” she adds.
Based outside the Co Antrim town, Green Fingers Family, she continues, is pursuing a vision of “a world where delicious food experiences seamlessly intertwine with environmental sustainability”.
“We aim to lead the way in redefining the food industry by embracing innovative, eco-friendly practices in our packaging, ensuring a healthier planet for generations to come,” she says. “We both deeply care about our environment and so there was no question when it came down to packaging.
“There was only one way to go and that was the eco-friendly channel. The challenge was to find plastic -free alternatives that were airtight to keep the granolas fresh,” she adds.
Green Fingers Family was the joint winners of the NIFDA Environmental
Sustainability Award in 2022 in recognition to its efforts in using environmental friendly, compostable packaging for premium granola.
In addition to its own successful manufacturing products, the small company has expanded its business to offer services and production for brands looking for a partner. It also offers a range of eco-packaging options for other producers.
“We provide the facilities to enable other companies to create and bring their own products to life from ingredients to packaged product.”
Resident in Larne for more than 15 years, Andrea’s decision to start a small enterprise in 2020 was born out of her decision to take charge of her own health and wellbeing.
A garden of over half an acre at their home outside Larne enabled Andrea to start growing her own healthy vegetables. “Homemade food just tastes so much better, and when you produce all the ingredients as well, something truly magical happens,” she says.
She came to realise that with “the right food, right exercise and the right mentality, my body would do what it’s meant to do itself…. heal. It wasn’t only my body that needed healing, but my thinking and attitude too,” she explains.
It was Andrea’s sweet tooth that was to lead her to start developing her own range of granolas. “I had to change the way I make and bake sweet snacks in my home. I replaced sugar with natural ingredients. My favourite snack is granola. I was shocked to read that the ingredients in many of the brands available were bulked up in different forms, and full of sugar and artificial flavourings,” she says..
She continues: “I’ve been making my own granola for many years now and gave it as presents to everyone who came my way. The feedback has always been amazing. So, I’ve since created a range of different granolas - well one is a granola porridge to be fair so I could encourage my kids into eating seeds and nuts too. All contain only natural ingredients, no secret additives, and the granola is sweetened with only a drop of maple syrup.”
All granolas are homemade by Andrea “to make sure I can add that special pinch of love”. Two of the granolas have also won UK Great Taste Awards. The business, in addition, has won a Silver Level Innovator Award from Mid and East Antrim Borough Council for the commitment to eco-friendly packaging.