Speaking to GlobalMeatNews after Clonakilty opened a multi-million euro factory in Cork, Ireland, that will create new jobs and opportunities, Twomey warned Brexit could thwart her ambitious growth strategy.
“The uncertainty around Brexit could stop us in our tracks,” she said.
“We have huge potential in the UK, but it’s very hard to plough on aggressively when there is this shadow over us. There are talks of high tariffs on imports into the UK. Somebody like us could not afford to carry those tariffs and we would have to withdraw from the UK.”
Growth in the US and Australia
This would be a major setback for the business, as Clonakilty wants to tap into the UK’s growing foodservice industry, targeting high-end hotels and restaurants willing to pay a little extra for quality produce.
Talks are also underway to secure listing at British supermarket Waitrose. This would add the retailer to Clonakilty’s current stockists like Asda, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons.
But the business has big plans outside of Europe too. Thanks to its new factory, it is now poised to scale up production as it targets the US, Singapore and Hong Kong for export.
The Cork-based manufacturing facility was designed to meet US Department of Agriculture (USDA) accreditation. If secured, this would unlock a huge market for the artisan black pudding producer. Growth is on the cards in Australia too, after the company secured listing in major retailer Woolworths in September 2017.
For Twomey, all the signs point to a successful time ahead for a company that has stayed true to its roots.
“We have remained a family business that has just got bigger,” she added.
“We’re going in the right direction but hopefully we will keep the small business ethos. Not the thinking - we have big business thinking - but we have a small business ethos and culture and I think that’s very important.”
The business plans to create at least 10 jobs in the new year, launch new meal solution products and grow the number of retailers stocking its black pudding that’s made with a blend of spices that has remained a secret since the 1880s.
But Brexit is the elephant in the room that could derail the thriving big business-thinking meat producer.