CAFRE support for healthy Rucksnacks

Date published: 03 October 2017

The focus on health and wellbeing continues to dominate the food sector with consumers demanding healthier and more nutritious product offerings.

Alan Johnston (Food Technologist, CAFRE) and Colm Connolly (Rucksnacks) at the National Ploughing Championships in Tullamore.

After travelling the world and being inspired by the popularity of beef snacks Colm Connolly, founder of the award winning company Rucksnacks, decided to capitalise on the global protein trend and create his own Irish high protein beef jerky snack.

Colm, who has a farming background, previously received “Best Young Entrepreneur” and “New Idea” recognition in the Monaghan Local Enterprise Awards.

Colm secured Innovation Voucher funding through Enterprise Ireland to help him develop his product concept. Through partnering with CAFRE, Colm gained access to the food technology expertise and facilities at Loughry Campus. The product created through the partnership had superseded Colm’s expectations and he wanted to take it to the next level.

Having formed strong links with Loughry food technologists and having experienced the facilities first hand, Colm’s next step in his business venture was to continue on the innovation pathway with CAFRE. He secured a place on the Food Enterprise Development Programme (FEDP), a programme that gives entrepreneurs access to the production facilities in CAFRE’s Food Technology Centre.

The access is time bound but gave Rucksnacks an opportunity to commercially produce and market test their product. The product received interest in the marketplace and Colm secured entry onto Supervalu’s Food Academy Programme, establishing a strong customer base in store and online via his website.

CAFRE’s Food Enterprise Development Programme provided Colm with the confidence to invest in his own production premises in Ballybay where today he is working on expanding his range.

Discussing the success of Rucksnacks and offering advice to other food entrepreneurs Colm said: “From the start of the Food Enterprise Development Programme, CAFRE has been exceptional, both the technical support from the technologists and the helpfulness of the experienced technical staff. The facilities are top class and I highly recommend this programme to other food companies.”

For more information on the programme please contact Fiona Ferguson, Senior Food Technologist by email: or by telephone: 028 8676 8148.

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