Hula Hoops, Hunky Dorys, King, McCoys (See UK section), Meanies, Perri, Pom Bear, Rancheros, Skips, Tayto, Velvet Crunch
Address: Kilbrew, Ashbourne, Co. Meath, Ireland
Phone: +353 1 8350 611
Website: www.taytosnacks.ie, www.intersnackgroup.com
This is the account of Tayto Crisps history, as told by the company's own literature:
"In 1954 Joe Spud Murphy began what is today’s largest snackfood company with just two rented rooms off Moore Street, Dublin. Truly, a remarkable story of one man’s determination, his initial set up costs ran to a grand total of £500. The entire staff consisted of Joe, his eight employees and a single van.
"At the time Tayto crisps sold for 4 pence per bag! They were sold in beautiful tin boxes that contained 18 bags of crisps and sold to shops for 4 shillings. The crisps bags were hand-glued with a tiny paintbrush to guarantee that trademark Tayto freshness.
“Not many people realise that it was Joe Spud Murphy who actually invented the now world renowned Cheese & Onion flavour– with a little input from Mr. Tayto, of course.
“Pioneering as always, Joe Murphy placed ads in the local newspapers which promoted the full list in the original Tayto range: Plain Golden, Onion, Cheese & Onion and Cheese flavoured crisps.
“In 1954, Tayto sold 347 packs per day. Today, Tayto sells over 525 packs a minute!
“Thanks to all the loyal Tayto consumers from the ‘50s, ‘60s, ‘70s, ‘80s, ‘90s, ‘00s and today, Tayto remains Ireland’s favourite crisp.”
The company is now part of the Largo Foods group of Crisps companies. They clearly do not see a use for elaborating on the origins or background of the companies they own.
So, this is Largo Foods history:
“In 1980, Largo Food’s CEO, Raymond Coyle, was supplying Tayto with potatoes which he grew on his family farm just outside Ashbourne, Co Meath. Today, he owns the company!
“When Tayto decided to switch its potato suppliers in 1981, Raymond Coyle, along with many others, lost his potato contract with Tayto. Seeing this as an opportunity Coyle decided to set up his own snack-food business.
“At the time, I was of the view that, with Tayto holding 90 per cent of the market, there had to be an opportunity for a new entrant to the snack-food market.”
“Largo Foods was established in Ashbourne, Co. Meath by Raymond Coyle in 1983. Its first branded product was “Cottage Crisps”. Then, in 1984 Largo Food purchased the Perri brand, and was on its journey to become the leading company in the snack-foods industry.
“Subsequently, Largo Foods purchased the “Sam Spudz” brand in 1996 when it acquired Irish Snack Foods, based in Donegal.
“The Donegal plant was dedicated to the manufacture of extruded and fried snack products while the Ashbourne plant focused on potato crisp manufacturing. The launch of the infamous Hunky Dorys crisps range in the same year saw Largo Foods further cement its position as a significant player in the Irish snack-food market.
“In the early 2004, Largo Foods began producing some of the crisps and snacks for the then owned C&C plc brands, Tayto and King. Growth of the company was also aided by winning private label snack-food business with large multiple retailers in the UK market.
“In 2005, Tayto closed its crisp factory and Largo Foods won the contract for the manufacture of the whole range of Tayto products. The story continues in August, 2006, when Largo Foods acquired the Tayto and King brands from C&C plc for €62m.
“This acquisition transformed Largo Foods into the leading snack-food company in Ireland with a close to 50% market share, employing 550 people and an annual turnover in the region of 100 million Euro.”
Tayto Smoky Bacon Crisps
There was a meaty bacon smell when I opened the bag. There was also a touch of smoky bacon when the eating began. When I scooped a few up together, a very strong smoked bacon taste emerged. These worked very well, which was somewhat surprising because bacon rarely tastes anything like bacon flavoured crisps.
Tayto Salt & Vinegar Crisps
A Nose Plunge Test revealed a strong malt vinegar. The balance of flavours skewed slightly towards vinegar from the salt, but both flavours were evident. Most important - The taste was strong. No mucking about here, an original, and standard-setting Irish variety.
Tayto Cheese & Onion Crisps
I have mentioned elsewhere why these are historic crisps, but I will say it again - Tayto Cheese & Onion were the first flavoured crisps in the world. All standards should, therefore, start here. A Nose Plunge Test revealed both cheese and onion. The taste was the same, a brilliantly balanced crisp that included strong cheese and strong onion. I will caveat that with the minor issue that I was dragged into the heritage so I affirmed bias before I opened the bag.