Kendamil, a company founded by Irishman Ross McMahon, is to start selling its infant formula through Dunnes Stores, Tesco and Boots in the Republic and is targeting €1 million in sales in its first year.
With its headquarters in Cumbria, the company, whose products are available in more than 40 markets worldwide, has become something of a poster child for post-Brexit British industry due to its success in export markets.
The entrepreneur, who comes from Clones, Co Monaghan, acquired an 11-acre former baby food factory site from Heinz in 2015 for just £1. Since then he and his sons, William and Dylan, have grown Kendamil into a £25 million (€29 million) business whose products are sold around the world.
The locally produced formula became popular in Britain after the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge began using it to feed Prince Louis. Kendamil, which agreed a £85 million export deal with Orient International Holding Shanghai Foreign Trade Company in 2018, last year won the Queen’s Award for Enterprise.
Mr McMahon said he was intent on disrupting “the big boys of the infant formula world”, a sector that is dominated by a handful of brands, namely Aptamil, Cow&Gate, SMA and Hipp Organic.
Danone, which owns Aptamil and Cow&Gate, has a near 80 per cent market share in Britain. Kendamil has about 3 per cent of the market, according to Mr McMahon.
He claims Kendamil’s “full cream” formula is superior to those produced by other brands because it uses considerably less vegetable fat and more cow’s milk, while steering clear of palm oil.
In addition to formula, the company’s organic cereals will also be available in Ireland within weeks.
Kendamil, which recorded a 360 per cent rise in global sales in the three years to 2020, was last year included among the fastest-growing companies in Europe by the Financial Times.
“The infant formula market is worth at least $40 billion [€33 billion] and is dominated by a few companies so there is a huge opportunity for disruption,” he said.
“We aim to be at a turnover of £60 million within three years but our factory is capable of doing £100 million in sales overall,” Mr McMahon added.