Feature brought to you by the #BuyDonegal campaign:
Founded in 2009, Donegal Rapeseed Oil has grown into an award-winning leader in the food production sector in Donegal. Austin Duignan is the Founder and Managing Director, 12 years on Donegal Rapeseed Oil has achieved solid growth while remaining true to its core value of sourcing a sustainable local product.
Austin’s vision to create the brand came about after reading an article by Matt Dempsey in the Irish Farmers Journal which spoke about a need for a good oil press and quality rapeseed for the domestic market. Researching the market, Austin quickly learned that virtually all cooking oil used in Ireland was imported. Through previous work experience, he knew that Donegal farmers could successfully grow oil seed. He arranged to have specially selected culinary varieties grown and tested and once the success of the crop had been proven, he then set out to convince the local farmers to grow these culinary varieties.
After convincing the farmers, Donegal Rapeseed Oil was born, specialising in the manufacture of 100% pure cold pressed rapeseed oil.
“After harvesting, the seed is transported to our plant and freshly pressed daily, to retain an even higher percentage of Omegas 3, 6, 9 and Vitamin E. This cold pressed oil, with no additives or preservatives, brings the wonderful natural taste of Donegal straight to your kitchen and is the brands unique selling point for consumers,” explains Austin.
From its humble beginnings, Donegal Rapeseed Oil has grown from strength to strength, with ten people now employed full time in the production and marketing of its range of high standard plant-based oils. Sustainability is also a key cornerstone of the business with the production plant producing zero carbon and products bottled using power generated through wind and anaerobic digestion. From having a few small independent retailers stocking the products, the company has grown to supply over 500 independent retailers as well as the restaurant and catering industry.
Having a strong grasp of the domestic market, Donegal Rapeseed Oil also export their products to the UK, USA and Germany.
Speaking about their strategic business location, Sales and Marketing Officer Rhonda Laird comments, “the ease of access to Northern Ireland and the UK market and the support and advice initially offered by the Local Enterprise Office and ongoing support from Donegal Food Coast, means that we are in a great base in Donegal. Our location, with its’ unique soil, wild Atlantic winds and weather conditions make our oils different. The colder climate (unlike that of Mediterranean countries) slows the seed maturing in the pod, giving a fuller and unique flavour to every bottle of Donegal Rapeseed Oil.”
The achievements of the industrious team have been acknowledged through numerous awards including Blas na hEireann, Great Taste and the Irish Quality Food Awards for their superior products.
As a #BuyDonegal participant for the previous two years, Rhonda says “getting involved initially was a no brainer, especially in the pandemic, it was the perfect opportunity to get involved and drive home the element of supporting local and buying Donegal for Christmas.”
Speaking on the impact of this year’s #BuyDonegal campaign, Rhonda continues “this year’s campaign provided us with opportunity for Donegal Rapeseed Oil to showcase our products to a wider audience and this year we offered 20% off on the opening weekend, getting an amazing response from customers here and abroad”.
Visit their #BuyDonegal page at: https://donegal.ie/buydonegal/retailers/donegal-rapeseed-oil