Tipperary brothers with innovative sheep milk products selected for Food Works

Anne O'Grady

Reporter:

Anne O'Grady

Michael and Brendan Crosse

The company was founded by brothers, Michael and Brendan Crosse

Cold-pressed vegetable ice-pops, a nutrient-rich postnatal drink for new mothers and a range of innovative sheep milk products are among the new concepts to be further developed as part of Food Works, Ireland’s leading accelerator programme for food and drink start-ups. Run by Bord Bia, Enterprise Ireland and Teagasc, over the last five years the Food Works programme has worked with 76 food and drink companies to encourage innovative new product ideas, while supporting the growth of the sector on a global scale. 

Following a rigorous selection process, Crosse Family Foods from Cashel in Tipperary were one of nine ambitious Irish food and drink companies have been selected to take part in Food Works 2018. The company was founded by brothers, Michael and Brendan Crosse who are proven sheep milk producers, currently supplying a number of artisan farmhouse cheese-makers around Ireland. They founded Crosse Family Foods in 2016 in order to bring high value, innovative sheep milk products including sheep milk powder, ice-cream and yoghurt to both domestic and export markets. 

Speaking about the opportunity, Brendan Crosse said, “We have been producing sheepmilk for the last number of years, supplying a lot of artisan cheesmakers around the country and now we are looking to explore producing our own sheepmilk products. Food Works represents a huge opportunity for us not only to look at our product in a domestic market but also on a global stage” 

Speaking on behalf of the Food Works programme, Eileen Bentley from Bord Bia said, “The companies who have been selected to take part in Food Works 2018 have all demonstrated a strong product concept, or have already developed a product which meets a genuine market need. Bord Bia, Enterprise Ireland and Teagasc will work closely with each of these companies to provide the support they need to move to the next level in terms of product development, preparation of an investor ready business plan and ultimately scaling up for the export market. We are delighted to note that five years after launching Food Works, more than a third of the companies we have worked with are already exporting around the world, while many more are well on the way to achieving their export potential”. 

Since 2012, Food Works has worked with 76 start-ups to develop scalable and export focussed business ideas. The success of the programme to date includes:

·      One in three have already achieved export success

·      €1.5m was generated in export sales in 2016 alone

·      Global markets reached span four continents: Europe, Africa, Asia and North America

·      Over €2 million in funding from Enterprise Ireland has been secured 

For further information visit www.foodworksireland.ie.