Sector: Food & Drink, Retail
Established in 1982, Largo Foods is an Irish snack-food company which manufactures such well-known brands as, Tayto, Hunky Dorys, King, and Perri.
The company leads the snack-food industry in Ireland with a 50% market share and generates 20% of its sales from exports to the UK and further a field.
Raymond Coyle’s path to the snack-food industry started out in quite a different field, however.
As a potato grower for Tayto and Perri in the late 1970’s, he felt that there was an opening for a small company manufacturing potato chips as Tayto then had an 85% market share.
In 1982, Largo Foods was established with a staff of nine people - six of whom are still with the company – and the business continued to grow steadily until 16 years ago when the firm introduced Hunky Dorys potato chips to its range.
As the number one crinkle-cut crisp in Ireland, Hunky Dorys now accounts for a significant portion of the Group’s retail sales.
The next stage of development saw the establishment of a factory in Plzen, Czech Republic, from which the company supplied all of the multiples including Tesco, De La Vida and Carrefour.
In 2000, a small manufacturing unit in Chisinau, Moldova was established.
It now employs 80 people with its principal markets being Ukraine, Georgia and Romania.
Six years later, the Tayto business in Ireland came up for sale, which Largo Foods purchased for €63 million.
The move - which represented a significant opportunity for Largo given that Tayto was twice its size at the time - proved to be successful.
Over the next 2 years, both businesses were integrated to one site in Ashbourne and market share grew from 45% to 50%.
In 2007, the Group established Cornscape in Barnsley, Yorkshire.
It specialises in the manufacture of baked products and popcorn and the business was recently expanded with the addition of new production capacity.
The company, which employs 560 people in Ireland and a further 125 people abroad, is based outside Ashbourne in county Meath, with an additional manufacturing facility in the Donegal gaeltacht.
Largo Foods introduced Tayto Park in late 2010.
Tayto Park is a unique family attraction that is truly the first of its kind in Ireland.
For the first time ever, you can now see how the nations’ favourite crisps are made in The Tayto Factory Tour.
Visitors get to explore many fun activities including the Tayto Sky Walk, the Superhero Training Wall and The Tayto Air Jumpers in The Eagle Sky Adventure Zone amongst others.
You can also visit the Lodge Restaurant and see some of the 250 farmed herd of buffalo and rare breeds of enclosed animals and petting animals.
Tayto Park is ideally situated just off the M50 & N2, 20 minutes drive from Dublin City Centre.
Tayto Park is set on 55 acres with 4.6 kilometres of landscaped walkways and cost €11.6 million to build, excluding the cost of the site.
Products: Largo Foods manufactures principally potato chips and extruded snack products.
Value-added products, such as Velvet Crunch, have been successfully developed, generating significant revenue for the business.
Customers: Largo supplies all of the major multiples in the UK and Ireland, in addition to markets in Eastern Europe.
Having recently entered the Chinese retail market, the company is clearly presented with a significant opportunity for future growth What advice would you give any entrepreneurs starting out today? Don’t be afraid to take the risk but don’t expect too much too quickly.
Get support from friends and family.
If your business idea is a good one, it will survive, giving you satisfaction, a sense of achievement and rewards in the future.
Has anyone acted as a mentor to you? If I was to be mentored by anybody in Ireland, I would choose Larry Goodman – resilient, tough and a life survivor.