Ballymaloe Foods Founder Discusses Life In Food

By Dave Simpson
Ballymaloe Foods Founder Discusses Life In Food

Ballymaloe Foods founder Yasmin Hyde discussed her career in food at the first ever live NeighbourFood Podcast held as part of the Cork on a Fork Food Festival.

Hyde encouraged listeners to set up their own businesses, and referenced her own beginnings as an entrepreneur throughout the interview.

Hyde's Business Experience

Yasmin Hyde, the daughter of Myrtle Allen, told the audience at the Crawford Art Gallery in Cork City about how she began producing Ballymaloe Relish in her kitchen using her mother’s recipe.

She started Ballymaloe Foods in 1990 and the business continues to grow and now produces a range of relishes, sauces, and pickles in purpose-built kitchens located in Little Island, County Cork.

For the first five years, Yasmin worked out of a portacabin in her back garden, and drove around the area delivering the relish to various supermarkets.


Ballymaloe Foods now employs 35 people, including Yasmin’s three children and her daughter-in-law.

Yasmin said, "There is a very thin line between success and failure so any little bit of help is wonderful. The local enterprise office was wonderful, we now work with Enterprise Ireland. I was confident too that I had a good product and if you start small you can find your way along."

Ballymaloe Foods Pickled Beetroot

Aside from the relish, Hyde is most proud of the Ballymaloe pickled beetroot, as it is the only 100% Irish locally produced beetroot available nationwide.

The idea to create a beetroot product stemmed from passing a farmer at a local supermarket.

Without knowing the size of his land, she handed him her business card, and he began growing beetroot for her.


Yasmin explained, “We were losing industries in Ireland, you used to be able to buy glass, vinegar, and sugar in Ireland. I asked what can we grow here and came up with beetroot. I was going in the back door of Supervalu when I met a farmer with beautiful vegetables. He grew beetroot for five years for us, it was washed and picked by hand. Now we’ve moved to a larger farm. The beetroot is selling very well and is taking on all the imported products.”

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