Thursday, October 25, 2012

Love Irish Food Week: Simplee Seasonings...

Simplee seasonings was founded in February 2011 by Edel, a lover of growing fresh herbs in her garden. Edel would always grow far too many and they would all die before getting a chance to even eat them. One day, she decided to chop them up and put them in a big bowl of sea salt.

The result was a fragrant herby flavoured seasoning that soon was being requested by all her friends and family. Before too long, jars were bought and gifts were given. The word spread so far about Edel's salt that she started to get some local shops asking to sell her fresh herb salt. 

In February 2011, she repackaged her homemade seasonings and started selling to butchers and supermarkets in the Cork area. More flavour combinations were begging to be created. Earlier this year, Edel spent her evenings in the kitchen coming up with different spices, fruit and herb combinations.

After many tastings, cook-offs, trials and debates, four new products were invented:

- Garlic sea salt
- Lemon pepper
- Sweet & smoky sea salt
- An all purpose salt free seasoning.

Simplee loves meat, seafood, vegetables, eggs, chicken.... the list goes on!

Coffee Break With Edel Cooney, Founder Simplee Seasonings...

Where did you come up with the idea for your business?

The idea for Simplee came about by accident. I grew herbs in my garden a few years ago and suddenly there was more herbs than I knew what to do with. I couldnt cook with all of them and I thought it would be a terrible waste to let them die.

My hot press was full so I thought to myself, salt is a great natural preservative, why dont I put them in salt? So I did and the result was a fragrant, aromatic seasoning I started using myself at home. Friends and family started asking for pots and I sold a few in a couple of local shops.

When I was made redundant from by banking job in 2010, I decided to make a go of it full time. Using my redundancy cheque, I created another seasoning (chilli salt), re-packaged and rebranded my seasonings and it went from there.

How has the Love Irish Food initiative helped your business?

We joined Love Irish Food in October 2011. I had been aware of them for a while and I really liked what they were doing.

People are becoming ever more conscious of what they are putting in their shopping baskets and buying Irish is a way for people to support local industry, and fight back against the recession.

Having a Love Irish Food label on our packaging is an instantly recognisable way for us to prove that we are a 100% Irish business.

Before I joined Love Irish Food, I was worried that they would not take a very small start-up company like ours seriously, but I could not have been more wrong.

All the staff have been incredibly supportive since day one and have given us so much advice and opened up new avenues to us that we would never have gotten on our own.

What makes your product different to the competition?

We like to think that we give people real solutions to making meals at home. A couple of twists of any of our seasonings add flavour in a very quick, easy to use way.

Our seasonings have all been dreamed up in my and my husbands heads, so what we do is very unique. If you create a meal with Simplee, its sure to be original.

What does your product go well with?

We have a range of eight seasonings and we deliberately do not have instructions on our packaging. You could put a twist of chilli salt on your scrambled eggs or make a crust for roasting fish with our salt free seasoning. If you can dream it up, you can make it.

We love that our products are versatile and are suitable for every level of cooking. We often receive emails from people telling us what they have done with their seasonings (things we never would have thought of). Sweet & smoky salt on grilled cheese sandwiches was a particular favourite I quickly tried out for myself.

What's in store for Simplee in the future?

We have just received a listing in Dunnes Stores and our Simplee range is currently being stocked in 30 of their shops.

Simplee is also in the process of diversifying. In the next two weeks, we will be launching a brand new product for Christmas, so watch this space!

Describe your product in five words...

Simple, natural, exciting, Irish & tasty!

More information about Simplee Seasonings can be found here.