Food Specialists In Online Boosts for Home Cooks

Premium and innovative culinary ingredients and products preferred by chefs in the UK and Republic of Ireland are now available for home cooks from Northern Ireland specialist processors Craic Foods and En Place Foods.

The two companies, which are well-established and successful in foodservice throughout the UK and Ireland, have recently embraced e-commerce and this enables home cooks to enjoy their products in meal preparation.

The new Craic Foods online store offers home cooks – as well as professional chefs – access to novel ingredients such as freeze dried fruit, vegetable powder, black garlic and seaweedincluding flakes and kelp pesto, tapenade and salsa verde.

Craic Foods, which is based in Craigavon, county Armagh, and En Place Foods in Cookstown, county Tyrone are both run by experienced chef Paul Clarke and have won national awards for novel products for restaurants and hotels in particular.

Mr Clarke, commenting on the move into e-commerce, says: “I had always intended on an online presence for Craic Foods but recent events especially the closure of foodservice outlets pushed this up our agenda. Both companies had long had a predominantly foodservice focus.

“The lockdown because of the coronavirus hit us pretty hard, however, just like many of our customers in this sector we have had to find other ways of working. We needed, of course, to provide a revenue stream for Craic Foods and then also offer another sales channel for the other artisan brands we work with,” adds Mr Clarke.

While both businesses were only partly in operation, Mr Clarke said he is continuing to work with start-up companies to bring their ideas to market. “Alongside the product developing and manufacturing facility we offer, we can help them with some initial sales via the new Craic online store and showcase their products to a broader audience,” he continues.

In addition to developing, manufacturing its own brand products such as vinegars, sauces and jams, En Place produces a range of products from other artisan food firms especially in Northern Ireland. These include products from Irish Black Butter, Erne Larder Preserves and Islander Sea Foods.

The small company is an innovation-led business and has won UK Great Taste and Blas na hEireann awards for its original products.