Quinn’s Fudge is a locally produced fudge confectioner based in Derry. The business was launched by Alison Quinn as a progression from craft fairs where she identified a clear customer demand for locally crafted and high quality confectionary products.
Alison previously owned and ran a Deli in Derry and has a lot of experience in food retail and creating high quality premium produce. Alison also invested in a production kitchen within her home and recently received a 5-star rating.
Quinn’s Fudge wished to develop a premium caramel fudge sauce which was different from those on the mass retail market. Alison aimed to produce a unique artisan product with the ability to be made seasonal or regional specific, targeting tourism and gifting but utilising local products such as local sea salt, local flavour and local alcohol such as St Brenan’s liquor.
This business opportunity proved to be a challenge for Quinn’s Fudge because Alison had no prior knowledge of new product development and food production systems. Alison also required technical support from concept through to product prototype and a product launch to ensure she could source and produce products correctly, safely and consistently. Alison also needed someone with skills in recipe standardisation, allergens, nutritional analysis, packaging and shelf life to help her.
In order to overcome this obstacle, Quinn’s Fudge made contact with North West Regional College (NWRC) Business Support Centre (BSC) who firstly supported them through the InnovateUs programme which is funded by the Department for Economy.
This provided 30 hours of 1:1 mentoring support from Technical Consultant in Food Technology, Karen Marran, who provided training in unique ingredient sourcing for Northern Irish inclusion ingredients, recipe development, shelf life analysis, packaging sourcing and trialling, review of process and measures for success.
The NWRC BSC then assisted Quinn’s Fudge to successfully apply for a £5,000 Invest NI Innovation Voucher which was used to further develop the sauce and the flavour variations as well as shelf life packaging. Karen also talked Alison through concept refinement, product specification and ingredient sourcing specific to the local flavouring elements.
On completion of the project, Quinn’s Fudge was able to develop a unique confectionary product which was fit for market. Alison has seen an increase in sales and has already utilised the Letterkenny market. She also wishes to expand into more markets in the Republic of Ireland, targeting retailer and online sales.
Alison also hopes to target the local tourism market and employ additional staff to allow for volume production and sales development.
Testimonial from Alison discussing the benefits of working with NWRC’S Foodovation Centre and InnovateUs programme:
“With the help of the Invest NI Innovation voucher and the expertise and encouragement of the team at Foodovation, I have been able to produce and bring to market my range of sauces that have proved very popular with my customers.’’