I met Oonagh Monahan last October at the National Women’s Enterprise Day conference, she was telling me about her new book and I was trying not to panic that my book had to be out within 5 weeks and I was still writing it! ?I was immediately interested in ‘Money for Jam‘ not because I am thinking of creating a food product myself but I can see it being so useful to many farmer’s wife and who knows, with a little foodie for a daughter, you never know what she might make with our cows’ milk in the future.
Money for Jam is a really easy-to-follow guide to starting up your ?own food business from your kitchen table or from a bigger scale. It’s very encouraging, citing examples and suggesting if your jams or your apple tarts or your chocolate cakes are loved by all your friends and family, they could well be a small business in the making. It also includes recommendation regarding recipes and has plenty of examples that will encourage you to take the plunge and get started.
The book is very strong in its discussion regarding whether your own kitchen would be suitable or not and breaking down the rather complex looking rules and hygience issues into common sense. ?It’s also very useful in breaking down costs – reminding readers that it isn’t just the cost of the ingredients and electricity, there’s also your own labour, packaging and other costs such as distribution / market stall costs and the retailer’s own margin. ?It’s very evident that some local shops and some supermarkets are happy to take food products from local food producers, often on a sale and return basis to start with. However, that depends on whether the market is flooded with that product or not (for example, cup cakes and queen cakes seem to be a tad over subscribed) and if the product fits into a niche e.g. a gluten free or sugar free product.
I enjoyed reading the stories about many of Ireland’s food producers, stories of how they started – often in a converted garage or their own kitchen – and how they have progressed. From tiny acorns do mighty oaks grow. ?It also covers the legislation and the demand for various farm products e.g. goats milk, cows milk, hens eggs, duck eggs – it looks like duck eggs could be a growing industry, I never knew they were considered to be so much better than baking than hen eggs!
Money for Jam is an excellent resource for anyone thinking of starting up a food business. Oonagh is very well qualified to offer this advice and her expertise and enthusiasm bounce off the page. ?However, with my social media hat on, I’d have loved to have seen a larger section showing how social media can help small businesses grow, how it can ?reveal the personality behind the business and after all, people buy from people so it can be a cost effective way of spreading brand awareness. This book is described as an essential guide for anyone starting a food business and I would would agree.
Oonagh and her publishers at Oak Tree Press are offering a copy of Money for Jam as a prize. For a chance to win (winner will be chosen by random number), leave a comment below telling us which Irish food company are food champions as far as you are concerned or share your own food production story with us – we would love to hear it. I will announce a winner next Friday.