Lorcan Bannon, our Food and and AgriBusiness Senior Consultant caught up with Niall Harty, co-founder and ifac client, as part of our 2021 Food & AgriBusiness Report, to find out what it is like to scale a challenger Irish food brand sustainably . A focus on shared core values, sustainable packaging, and an ambition to deliver a greater impact shine throughout the conversation.
All Real Core Values
All Real is a performance nutrition brand for everyday athletes. The core values behind the brand are real food, real people, real impact. Co-founder of All Real, Niall Harty starts our conversation by explaining each of these elements in a greater detail.
All Real ensures that the ingredients on the back of their protein bar can be understood by everyone. “You don’t need to know about science to understand them.” Most of the ingredients that All Real use can be found in your cupboard at home.
All Real are trying to get the idea of integrity across in their marketing by using real people. Rather than focusing on having an aspirational body, All Real promotes having an aspirational lifestyle. They are about ability not appearance, performance not posing.
The impact of sustainability is a core business value for All Real. Everything that they do from packaging to promotions and partnerships needs to be consistent with this value.
What we’re trying to do with our packaging is that with every bar you buy, you’re preventing two plastic bottles from entering the ocean.
Sustainable packaging has always been a priority focus for the team at All Real. The packaging All Real use is fully sustainable, accredited and plastic free. For example, the cardboard for the boxes they use, and their Shelf Ready Packaging (SRP) is all Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) approved which means that it comes from sustainable regenerative forests.
All Real have also sourced branded compostable mail bags. They are more expensive, but “you can’t say you’re a plastic free company and then send out plastic to your customer”. Niall admits that covering the costs of having sustainable packaging can be difficult, and it’s not justified by sales yet. However, “it’s the way everyone is going to be doing things in 5-10 years so we just want to take the lead on it and show that, if the small guys can do it, so can the big guys. In an ideal world, we want everyone to be using this type of packaging, because the way we’re going, it’s just not sustainable.”
A Greater Impact
In addition to sustainable packaging, All Real focuses on other ways to have a greater impact on society.
All Real are building a community on a sustainability mission and Niall feels that it is important to actually do something that has a sustainable impact. At a local level, the team coordinate regular beach clean-ups all around the country while their partnership with social enterprise, PlasticBank ensures that they are having a global impact too. A contribution from every All Real sale goes to PlasticBank whose initiatives prevent 3.5 million plastic bottles, or 75 metric tonnes of plastic, from entering the ocean every year. “What we’re trying to do with our packaging is that with every bar you buy, you’re preventing two plastic bottles from entering the ocean.”
Niall sees a positive future for their business and how they can grow it sustainably achieving both commercial and environmental goals. “Would I recommend to another company to choose compostable packaging? Absolutely, if you can tick all the boxes.” It’s certainly not the cheapest way to build a business but as technologies improve and minimum quantity orders come down, more food businesses will join the likes of All Real. “But for now, when companies say on Instagram, ‘oh look this is plastic free!’ there’s a whole lot of work that has gone into that to make it actually viable.”
Download the Irish Food & AgriBusiness Report 2021
From Brexit to Covid, trade deals and changing consumer behaviour, Irish food and agribusiness owners have had an extraordinary 12 months