My COVID-19 Year of On-Line Food Buying!

In 2020 I decided to put my money where my mouth is (literally) and buy foods and drinks from the list of producers on the Food & Drinks On-line Directory, at least once from every county. It was very enjoyable waiting for my weekly deliveries and the courier company were highly amused at the range of parcels they were bringing! In all, I’ve purchased directly from 45 producers’ websites to date, and this doesn’t count those I’ve bought from in shops or in person. 

A couple of observations:

Packaging – many producers are moving to recyclable or compostable packaging materials which is really important for online sales. Failing that, Velvet Cloud, for example, will collect and take back their boxes for free once you have 6 of them. I’ve also noticed some really innovative packaging from Morans Mega jams – it looks like soft plastic but its actually fully recyclable! 

Variety Packs / Mixed Cases – Mixed boxes are the way to go! Mariko and Ballycross, for example, allow you to pick across their varieties, mixing and matching flavours and quantities. If I was to offer other producers one piece of advice, then this would be it. I don’t want 10 bottles all the same, especially if I’m buying something for the first time. I want the option of a mixed case, and I’m far more likely to buy as a result. Also, look at the minimum quantities – some producers are selling wholesale quantities in a retail shop, that’s not great for consumers.

Collaborations (apart from seasonal hampers) are a great idea – you can buy Joe’s Farm Crisps & Mella’s Fudge through Achill Island Sea Salt; Benny’s Deli has teamed up with Roscommon Chocolates; The Cashel Food Box is a mixed box of the finest, award-winning Tipperary produce. 

Postage – if you can at all, keep postage down to less than €8, even if that means you have to absorb part of the cost.  

Range of Produce – there are lots of jams & condiments, sauces, chocolates & confectionary, coffee and tea, gin & beer, and baked goods. There seems to be a gap in the on-line market for prepared foods and snacks among others.

So who did I buy from, well, I bought from several producers in some counties, and I bought several times from others including Mariko, Mella’s Fudge, Butler’s Chocolates, Richmount Cordials and Velvet Cloud, all of which became favourites, So, here goes…!

Antrim

Sea Sugar – handmade sweets, from scratch, using 100% natural extracts, essences and colours

Armagh

Ballylisk of Armagh – cheese and milk

Linwoods Health Foods – large range of organic milled or dried seeds and berries

Carlow

Carlow Farmhouse Cheese – cow, goat and sheep cheese

VegOut – fruit and vegetables juices from the people at Sunshine Juices

Cavan

Moran’s Mega-Jams – Jams, Chutneys and relishes

Clare

Burren Smokehouse – hot & cold smoked Irish organic salmon, wild smoked salmon, rainbow trout & mackerel

Cork

Mella’s Fudge – handmade fudge

Derry

Broighter Gold – Rapeseed oil

Donegal

Donegal Farmhouse Cheese – “Kilard cheddar”, a Semi Hard Cheese cheese handmade from pasteurised cows milk

Down

Mash Direct – mashed vegetables, 100% Gluten free (another one of my case studies from my book Money for Jam)

Dublin

Phoenix Delite – specialist chocolates including sugar free, lactose free and gluten free!

Butlers Chocolates – chocolates, truffles & hampers

Fermanagh

Black Bacon – rare breed bacon from O’Doherty’s in Enniskillen

Galway

Bláth na Mara – edible seaweeds and seaweed bath

Solaris Tea – finest quality specialty organic tea and accessories

Kerry

Dingle Distillery – gin, vodka, whiskey, and hand sanitiser

Kildare

Fused by Fiona Uyema – Japanese sauces

Kilkenny

Highbank Orchards – Organic syrup, vinegar, spirits and cider

Laois

Paddy O’s Granola

Leitrim

Chef Sham sauces – delicious asian inspired selection from Chef Sham Hanifa including Chilli Ketchup, Hoi Sin, One for All and Sweet Chilli sauces

Elements of Chocolate – handcrafted, small batch, gourmet chocolates

The Shed Distillery – Drumshanbo Gunpowder Gin, original, with Sardinian Citrus, & merchandise

Limerick

Ballyhoura Apple Farm – apple juice, apple cider vinegar, apple chai iced tea and more

Pandora Bell – Handmade lollipops, nougat, fudge and pâtes des fruits!

Longford

Richmount Cordials – elderflower cordials

Louth

Simply Fit Food – Power bowls (vegan) and ready meals

Spoonful Botanical – a blend of the highest quality Herbs, Spices, and fermented fruits

Phytafix – Immune Phix whole-food, plant-based nutrition supplement

Drummond House – award winning seasonal produce incl garlic varieties and asparagus

Mayo

Achill Sea Salt – sea salt and fudge

Mariko Green Tea – sparking green tea drink

Velvet Cloud – Irish Sheep’s Milk Yogurt & Cheese from Rockfield Dairy 

Noo Chocolates – luxury handmade chocolates from the Wild Atlantic Way

Meath

McEntee’s – Award winning traditional Irish loose teas, accessories & gifts

Monaghan

Glaslough Chocolates – handmade chocolates, shards and hampers

Offaly

Ko Kombucha – Kombucha drinks and starter kits

Roscommon

Benny’s Deli – bread, cakes, jam salads, meats – their hamper also contained Roscommon Chocolates

Sligo

Bosca Bakery – all sorts of brownies delivered through your letterbox!

Tipperary

Cashel Cheese – cheeses and more in The Cashel Food Box (a mixed box of the finest, award-winning Tipperary produce)

Tyrone

Ispíní Charcuterie – range of Irish cured meats, salami and chorizo

Waterford

The Lismore Food Company – sweet and savoury delicacies and delicious drinks

Westmeath

Kilbeggan Organic Foods – Organic porridge oats, porridge bread mix and oat cookies

Wexford

Ballycross Apple Farm – range of apple juice and other flavours

Wicklow

Rhoda Cocoa – artisan luxury chocolate

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