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Say cheese!

Glenhaven Foods is one of 15 Irish companies exhibiting at Anuga 2023 under Bord Bia’s (Irish Food Board) Origin Green umbrella in Cologne from October 7-11. Bernie Commins spoke to Glenhaven Foods brand director, Emma Cahill, about the innovation that drives the business, its new cheese-product range, and why hot snacking is here to stay

Established in 1986, Glenhaven Foods is one of Ireland’s largest frozen-food processors, specialising in coated, cooked, and raw frozen food for the retail and foodservice sectors. Originally best-known for producing high-quality coated, frozen poultry, in recent years Glenhaven has grown its range to include premium, coated Irish cheese products for the international quick-service restaurant (QSR) industry. Innovation is a cornerstone of the business, in addition to coated cheese, Glenhaven has recently launched both coated pork and beef products into the QSR and retail markets, while simultaneously launching a new range of hot snacking products under its retail brand. Glenhaven remains a 100% independent, Irish, family-owned business, run by brother and sister team Barry and Emma Cahill.


BC: Has Glenhaven Foods been to Anuga previously?

EC: Glenhaven attends both Anuga and SIAL annually, but this is our first year exhibiting at Anuga.


BC: How important is Anuga for Glenhaven Foods, and for other Irish companies?

EC: Anuga is the gateway to the Continental European market for Glenhaven and all Irish food manufacturers. 


BC: What results do you hope will develop from your attendance at Anuga as exhibitors?

EC: Ideally, we hope to bring on board new customers and build and expand brand awareness for Glenhaven Foods in Continental Europe. We are also looking forward to meeting our existing customers to showcase our new products, especially our new cheese bites range.


BC: What are Glenhaven’s target growth areas for next year?

EC: We see the cheese and snacking markets as our key target growth areas.


BC: Can you tell me about some of the markets that you already export to and companies that you work with? 

EC: The UK is our primary export market, and we cover all the blue-chip retailers in the UK including Aldi, Lidl, Morrisons and Iceland. Our foodservice customers in the UK include Sysco and BidFood.


BC: Can you tell me about innovation at Glenhaven Foods and how it helps the company to evolve?

EC: In recent years, Glenhaven Foods has been rapidly growing its range and global reputation for producing premium, high-quality coated cheese products for the international quick service restaurant industry. This saw us shortlisted for an Export Innovation of the Year 2023 award, recently.  

Innovation has always been a cornerstone of Glenhaven Foods. Before poultry we actually specialised in coated fish. We are not afraid of change or diversifying. And as a major Irish exporter, based in a country renowned for its world-class cheese and dairy, this [coated cheese product] seemed like a very natural progression for us. We are incredibly proud of the results. In fact, we believe our upcoming retail and foodservice range of Glenhaven Crispy Cheese Bites are, quite possibly, the best frozen cheese bites available in the frozen aisle today.


BC: How important is new-product research and development for Glenhaven Foods?

EC: Glenhaven’s new-product development and sales teams are continuously developing invocative products to anticipate ever-changing consumer trends. Between chicken dippers and goujons, chicken fillets, and fake-aways and snacks, Glenhaven supplies a very extensive range of chicken products to the Irish and UK markets. Breaded chicken goujons are still our biggest selling product, but our fastest-growing product is our crispy shredded chicken and Chinese style battered chicken balls, as they are quick and easy fake-aways. We also introduced some innovative shredded Irish beef and shredded pork to the UK and Irish retail markets last year.  


BC: Can you tell me about any new products in the pipeline? 

EC: The growing popularity of fake-aways and hot snacking is something Glenhaven as a brand has really leaned into. And in terms of cheese alone, we are currently working on launching four new cheese products into the UK and Ireland this year. We are also constantly leading new innovations in coated and marinated chicken products.


BC: Do you think the at-home hot-snacking trend is here to stay?

EC: Absolutely and I think a major reason for that is the growing popularity of air fryers. Before the air fryer, a hot snack meant preheating the oven, it just wasn’t convenient. Now, if someone is craving a delicious filling snack, they can just pop one of our products, for example, into the air fryer and their hot snack is good to go in seven minutes – it’s revolutionary.

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