Irish immigrant taps tasty treats for succulent success

Photo courtesy of youngthousands on Flickr

Photo courtesy of youngthousands on Flickr

Irish backpacker Eamon Eastwood brought a bunch of Tayto crisps with him to sell to Irish pubs when he visited Australia in 2000 and 14 years later, he’s running a booming import business that now supplies Woolworths and Coles, as well as having an online component.

 Sydney-based Taste Ireland is now importing more than 100 Irish brands and selling them online at and wholesale to pubs, shops and supermarkets with an annual turnover of $2.6 million. It employs seven people.

A big breakthrough came in October 2011 when Eastwood agreed a contract to supply Woolworths, which controls around 30% of Australia’s supermarket sector. This was followed by a similar deal with Coles last February to stock a range of brands in 600 of its stores across Australia – which meant Taste Ireland was supplying a total of 900 retail outlets throughout the country.

“Woolworths and Coles dominate the Australian supermarket sector, accounting for over 70% of the market. We are getting embedded with Coles and plan to roll out to another 150 of its stores by July,” he says.

“There were teething problems at the start because it was such a huge contract but we were well prepared having worked for two and a half years with Woolworths. They really do play off each other and we have to use that to our advantage. During the initial period with Coles we had to focus on evaluating where geographically the different brands were selling best and ensuring replenishment was there for the stores that were performing well for us.

“It is a learning process as we are putting new products [to the Australian consumer] in the international food aisle all over Oz.”

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