Galway company Airam Foods wins at the Idea Works

Shane Francis of Airam Foods. Photo: Jason Clarke Photography.

Shane Francis of Airam Foods. Photo: Jason Clarke Photography.

Galway based company Airam Foods is among the three winners selected by Ireland’s leading food and support services company, Compass Group Ireland, as a winner of this year’s Idea Works. Airam Foods will now work closely with Compass Group Ireland to develop its Connemara Pies range further with a view to trialling these within select Compass Group Ireland units. 

The aim of Idea Works is to find SMEs with cutting-edge products, solutions, and applications that could be used in the food service, hospitality, and facilities management industry and encourage them to go forward with their ideas. From the huge range of applicants, five companies were shortlisted and invited to pitch their big idea to a panel of expert judges at the Aviva Stadium last week. The Airam Foods team had just 15 minutes to sell their idea.

The judges were looking for clear and concise pitches that stood out from the crowd, and for products and innovations that could be rolled out across Compass Group Ireland’s 250 units around Ireland. Airam Foods impressed the judges with its gourmet Connemara Pies. All pies are created from natural Irish ingredients with no artificial additives, colourings, or preservatives, and feature a range of exciting flavours including roasted vegetable, chilli and ginger vegan pie, and butternut squash, toasted walnuts, and goats’ cheese pie. 

Shane Francis from Airam Foods said: “We are very grateful for the opportunity the Idea Works has given our company to grow and develop the products to the next level. It will no doubt be a huge learning curve to work with such a reputable company. Everyone at Airam Foods is fully focused on the challenges and opportunities ahead and excited about the future.” 

This year’s judging panel comprised award winning TV chef Neven Maguire; Mark Lee, commercial director with Compass Group Ireland; Maureen Gahan, food service specialist, Bord Bia; and Chris Allen, executive chef, Compass Group Ireland.  

“The aim of The Idea Works is to give SMEs an opportunity to bring their exciting new products to market and also ensure that as a company we are continuously keeping up with the latest trends and innovations," said Mark Lee. "We were extremely impressed with the quality of the three winning entries and are very much looking forward to working with each company to develop their products and trial them in our units. It really is an incredible opportunity for each of the winners to take their business to the next level.” 

The other winners were Secret Recipe for its range of gluten free and Halal readymade meal solutions, and CBL Equipment for its energy efficient Castle Chafer dish. Compass Group Ireland employs more than 4,500 people throughout Ireland, operates more than 250 units, and serves some 100,000 meals a day. 

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