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It’s a scoop

Article appeared in issue 3, 2022

Ireland’s largest ice cream producer explains the key factors in its success and
talks about ice cream trends

Silver Pail Dairy is the largest dairy ice cream manufacturer in Ireland, producing premium ice cream, ice-cream cakes and frozen desserts, all for private label. 

Founded in 1978 in Fermoy, Co. Cork, by Michael Murphy, an Irish dairy scientist with a passion for ice cream, it’s still a family-owned business, which is, these days, led by Michael’s daughter, managing director, Thea Murphy. 

The company prides itself on using grass fed, locally sourced ingredients of exceptional quality to produce premium products for a high-end niche market. This is key to its success, according to Eamon Flavin, commercial director, Silver Pail Dairy.

 “Coupled with our reputation for quality, our expertise in research and development has also played a critical part in the evolution and success of the company and our customer base,” he says. 

These days, Silver Pail Dairy sells to both the domestic and the export market. Exports account for over 65% of their total output to more than 12 countries around Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Oceania, catering for both retail and foodservice. Its products are popular in particular in France and Germany.

Despite issues arising from Brexit, Silver Pail Dairy has an emerging footprint in UK retail and a significant established customer base in the UK’s foodservice sector. It’s also a preferred supply partner for the Inspire/Dunkin Brands group, Baskin Robbins, in locations around the world.

Silver Pail Dairy’s retail formats include 100ml, 500ml, 900ml, 1litre and 2litre offerings. Its foodservice products range from 2.5L tubs to 4 and 5 Litre tubs. The company also produces a range of ice cream cakes which come in 5”, 6” and 9” sizes, as well as individual frozen desserts. 

While its core focus is on grass-fed premium dairy products, the company has noticed an increasing demand for non-dairy specialised ice creams. “The market is going from dairy into functional ice creams such as vegan, low calorie and high protein products, and we cater for all of these,” says Eamon. “For example, we can produce vegan ice cream which is literally on a par with dairy cream,” he adds. “You wouldn’t know the difference.” 

He explains that bigger manufacturers typically don’t want to develop a small-volume specialised ice cream line as its not economically viable. “This is where Silver Pail comes in,” says Eamon. “We occupy a niche space as we can facilitate smaller volumes relative to our competitors and we are flexible.”

Private label is a core segment and focus of the business and all of the products made by Silver Pail are bespoke to its customer recipes. “This means we can offer each customer a unique range of products under their own brand,” explains Eamon. “The team at Silver Pail believe this model of business affords customers the flexibility to create their own hero products that generate brand value, as well as a unique selling point in the marketplace,” he adds.  

The company is attending the PLMA exhibition for the first time this year and is hopeful of a good reception. “It will be great to meet people face to face and be able to talk to them through our process. We have fantastic innovations that we want to be able to showcase. We’re looking for customers that match our strategy, which is about quality, providence, and heritage,” he adds. “Our product quality, range and capability are second to none.”