Coelies is a pre-startup business based in Strabane which was founded by Caroline Lynch who has been a coeliac for over 10 years and struggled to find gluten-free options in the grab and go sections of shops and cafes.
The company wanted to develop a range of gluten-free sandwiches for the retail and food service sector with four filling options but required support with upscaling production.
To assist with the development of their concept, Coelies made contact with North West Regional College (NWRC) Business Support Centre (BSC) who supported them through the InnovateUs programme which is funded by the Department for the Economy.
NWRC Product Development Technical Consultant, Rita O’Kane, provided 30 hours of upskilling support in recipe standardisation and development, ingredient and packaging sourcing, production upscale particularly in gluten-free operations, prepack labelling including nutritional and allergens including gluten-free claims.
On completion of the project, the company has created a range of gluten-free sandwiches which are now supplied to local convenience shops in Strabane.
Caroline Lynch, Owner of Coelies, described the benefits of working with NWRC’s Business Support Centre via the InnovateUs programme: ‘’The support I received from Rita O’Kane at Foodovation has enabled me to confidently launch my new venture into the retail market to enable coeliacs like myself to access gluten-free sandwiches in the food to go sector across the region. The knowledge and guidance provided on gluten-free legislation and requirements as well as labelling and packaging support has been excellent and I would encourage small businesses to engage in the skills programmes offered by NWRC.’’