27 Nov 2021

Donegal firm has it in the can

New markets in Australia, Japan, and Jamaica

Donegal firm has it in the can
staff Reporter @dgldemocrat

Donegal fish company, Irish Fish Canners, has secured new export markets in Australia, Japan, and Jamaica.

The Dungloe based fish processing and canning company, Próiseáil (An Clochán Liath) Teoranta, trading as Irish Fish Canners, has recently secured new contracts to supply customers in countries as far afield as Australia, Japan and Jamaica.

Established since 1977 and taken over by the Bonner family in 1988, Irish Fish Canners operates the only fish canning facility in Ireland. The company, since its beginning, has evolved to become a significant player in the canned fish market.

As a 100% family owned business, the company is managed by an ambitious team of two brothers and two sisters. Their father, the late Michael J Bonner, in previous times managed a number of UN Food Aid contracts, supplying locally caught herring and mackerel as canned products internationally. Irish Fish Canners currently employs 35 people full time at its facility in Dungloe. The company has managed to develop from a seasonal business to one that is now operating 5 days a week, all year round.

Irish Fish Canners recently took part in a Lean Transformation Programme, rolled out by Údarás na Gaeltachta. "We were one of the first industries in the Donegal Gaeltacht to take part in this programme. The Lean Transformation Programme helped us to add value to our core business. The Programme allowed us to identify how we as a business could become more competitive, more waste efficient, and how we could target and expand into new markets. Until recently our business was very much dependent on supplying one main customer in the UK, John West Salmon. But as a result of our new business strategy we have secured contracts to supply customers in Australia, Japan and Jamaica,” says Karl Bonner, Business Development Director.

“Last year we also launched our own brand, Irish Atlantic Canned Fish, and introduced three new tinned mackerel products. The decision to create our ‘own brand’ range is one that is driven by many changes in the canned fish market and will make our products more competitive and accessible. These products are now on sale in supermarkets across Ireland and in the UK. We also hope to bring our own brand to other export markets in the not too distant future,” said Karl Bonner.

“Our objective is to ensure the sustainability of our business for the future generations of our local community. As a family, we are proud that we have been able to create and sustain employment in the Rosses area for over 35 years. To know that over 80 homes have been built in the area by people working in our company and that we have helped over 120 of our employees' children to go onto third level education is a source of great pride for us a company,” says Karl Bonner.

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