History of Largo Foods
In the late 1970s and early 1980s Raymond Coyle was a young, ambitious farmer growing a range of crops including potatoes. In the early 1980s he expanded aggressively into potatoes buying extensive land with the support of the banks and ultimately supplying the main crisp manufacturers in Ireland. However, in 1982 he experienced a dramatic change in fortunes when the potato market crashed. It was at that point that he famously raffled his farm to pay down the bank debt that he had borrowed to purchase the land. In 1983 Raymond started his own snack-food company, Largo Foods, to compete with the already well established, existing players.
Since that auspicious start, the key milestones in the history of Largo Foods have been as follows:
1984: The Cottage Crisps brand is launched.
1986: The Perri brand is acquired from the Capaldi family.
1993: Hunky Dory’s, with the famous Buffalo flavour and logo, is developed and launched.
1996: Sam Spudz Snack Foods, based in Gweedore, Co Donegal, is acquired.
2003: Tayto snacks manufacturing contract is sub-contracted by C&C plc to Largo Foods.
2005: Private label contracts for range of snacks are won from Tesco and Morrisons in UK.
2005: Tayto crisps manufacturing contract is sub-contracted by C&C plc to Largo Foods.
2006: Largo Foods acquires the Tayto and King brands from C&C plc for €65m.
2007: Largo Foods UK is established to produce innovative popcorn products in Barnsley, UK
2007: Intersnack invests €15m in Largo Foods and takes a minority shareholding position.
2008: Mr Tayto enters the election campaign and makes a big impact.
2010: Tayto Park is opened in November to an initially muted response.
2010: Hunky Dory’s rugby and Gaelic football campaigns create a stir.
2011: Intersnack increases its shareholding and refinances Largo Foods’ debt.
2014: Gweedore operations are transferred to Ashbourne and factory is closed.
2014: Largo Foods sells its UK popcorn and GB businesses to KP Snacks.
2015: Intersnack buys the outstanding shares in Largo Foods that it did not already own.
2015: Largo Foods acquires the KP Ireland business.
Largo Foods is now the leading snack-food manufacturer and distributor in Ireland buying 10% of the national potato crop and employing 500 people based at its’ factory in Ashbourne, Co Meath.