Mama Bear Foods is the brainchild of the wonderful Loretta Kennedy, who decided to create a healthier alternative for tomato ketchup.
The Cork-based mum-of-three has launched a reduced sugar and gut-friendly, handmade condiment to replace the long-established family favourite sauce.
Ketchup is especially popular with kids, but has experienced increasing criticism over its high sugar content.
Mums are becoming far more conscious of the health risks of hidden diet-related sugars, and Loretta has cracked the case.
Working from her kitchen, the entrepreneur developed a recipe for a healthier ketchup using simple ingredients but far less sugar. Explaining her methods, Loretta said;
“I created the recipe for my own kids as a healthy alternative to mainstream ketchup brands. My sister, who has a food business, tasted it and convinced me to develop it as a commercial product.
"After getting lots of positive feedback, I got in touch with the Local Enterprise Office and took a course on starting-your-own-food-business. Before long I had moved from my own kitchen to the Cork Incubator Kitchens in Carrigaline," she continued.
"These fully kitted out commercial kitchens are a fantastic resource for early-stage start-ups and gave me the space to further develop the recipe and begin production for farmers markets and retail.”
Loretta grew up Co. Mayo and has a background in social psychology. Her personal interests, however, lie in yoga, health and nutrition, which inspired her to develop the perfect ketchup recipe for holistic health.
Her delicious ketchup is low in fat, gluten-free, a source of prebiotic fibre, suitable for vegans, and contains 60 percent reduced sugar.
“Our product has up to sixty per cent less sugar than typical commercial ketchups and contains prebiotic fibre which encourages and supports healthy gut flora. It has no artificial sweeteners, refined sugars or gums."
Loretta described her relationship with brands who support her principle of dietary wellbeing;
"I worked closely with Teagasc to develop and fine tune the recipe. As part of that process we also did a full nutritional profile, giving our consumers the best possible level of information about the product.”
Mama Bear Foods ketchup has an emphasis on sustainability, which is why Loretta chose to go with a glass bottle to avoid plastic.
"I have a panda loving eight-year-old who is obsessed with saving endangered animals and an 11-year-old who tells me that only 9 percent of plastic is actually recycled...every little helps," she wrote on the company's Instagram page.
Mama Bear Foods ketchup is currently available in selected stores throughout Cork, Kerry and Limerick. Loretta's ketchup is also on sale as part of the 'Grow With Aldi' programme in 137 stores nationwide.
What's next for Loretta? She's got a few ideas up her sleeve, and other products in the works;
“I am always working on new recipes and we have another ketchup to add to our range which we plan on launching shortly. There are also a number of other exciting products in the pipeline," she added.
"The next step is to expand our distribution footprint to reach stores across Ireland and to begin exporting in the near future.”