After spending six years travelling throughout her twenties, and a brief trip home to complete the Ballymaloe Cookery School certificate in cooking, Carolanne returned to Ireland with years of global inspiration from time spent living in South Africa, Australia, Italy and the Middle East. Passionate about food that makes you feel good, she developed her plant-based products at farmers’ markets in South Africa before returning to Ireland.
Sourcing quality local ingredients where possible, Carolanne uses a myriad of herbs, spices and flavours to deliver a range of exciting new products which are vegan, plant-based and mostly gluten free.
Using two years of trading at Farmer’s Markets at home and abroad, Carolanne discovered through market research and product testing what was in demand; more healthy and fulfilling food.
Rushe’s plant-based products at the market were so popular that she took the brave next step and opened the doors to her own café, Sweet Beat in April 2015. Located on the Garavogue River in the heart of Sligo Town, the café has a thriving lunchtime trade offering fresh salads, fermented drinks, and daily specials.
After a year of running the café, Carolanne decided it was time to move to retail and joined the Food Academy.
Over the last twelve months attending workshops, meeting shop managers and researching the market, Carolanne has accrued an incredible wealth of information from mentors and fellow Food Academy producers. Working with Sweet Beat’s own team of marketers, designers and recipe testers, Carolanne has developed a range of successful plant-based dips suitable for vegans, vegetarians, lactose intolerant, gluten intolerant and those who are looking for a delicious and incredibly healthy range of dips.
On May 16th, Sweet Beat joined the shelves of Food Academy, beginning an eight-week trial in three local shops in Sligo. With new demand coming each week, Carolanne has had to hire two production assistants to work on the product line. It’s early days but shelves are stocked almost twice a week and have received a huge amount of positive feedback. Requests from other SuperValu’s in the Northwest have also come in.
Overall, it’s a very exciting programme to be part of and has allowed Carolanne and the Sweet Beat team to deliver a new product to the Irish market. To ensure we meet demand, we are currently in the midst of planning a commercial manufacturing facility here in Sligo where we will produce our full range of plant-based products.