AN Irish tortilla chip producer is expanding into the UK and the Nordic territories following a period of rapid growth for the business brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic
Based in Clonmel, Co. Tipperary, Blanco Niño has a niche offering which has proven a hit with shoppers since the firm launched on the retail market when lockdown restrictions saw bars and restaurants closed across Ireland for more than a year in a bid to stop the spread of coronavirus.
While most tortilla brands use corn flour, Blanco Niño’s use of non-GMO whole corn makes them unique.
They are also naturally gluten free, vegan friendly and contain no preservatives or additives, which has proven a hit with customers.
Founder and CEO of Blanco Niño, Philip Martin, explained: “Only a few months ago the odds were stacked considerably against us. When the pandemic hit and the hospitality and foodservice shuttered almost overnight, we had little choice but to fast-track our plans to launch our tortilla chips to retail in Ireland.
“We did that, and now our tortilla chips are being sold by over 360 retailers across Ireland and counting.”
More recently the Blanco Niño team has forged partnerships in the UK with a number of well-known retail outlets, including Ocado and Daylesford Farm, in addition to securing listings with leading premium wholesale distributors, Cotswold Fayre, Auguste Noel and Holleys.
Meanwhile in Sweden, the firm has entered into a distribution partnership with House of Liquids.
“I’m really proud of the recent launching of our tortilla chips into the UK and Nordics and I’m optimistic for what the future has in store in the UK and Nordic markets - the feedback has been incredible so far - so hopefully this is a sign of things to come,” Mr Martin said.
Blanco Niño tortilla chips now include three flavours: Lightly Salted, Chilli & Lime and Ancient Grain.
And while tortilla chips may be considered fast and convenient, the firm is embracing a slower approach to achieving a superior corn tortilla chip.
Every batch of Blanco Niño tortilla chips takes three days to make - using an ancient Aztec process known as nixtamalization, and grinding corn using beautifully hand-carved volcanic stones from Mexico.
Thomasina Miers, founder of the Mexican restaurant chain Wahaca, said of the firm: “We’ve long been supporters of Phil and all the team at Blanco Niño.
“They have been supplying us here in Wahaca with authentic nixtamalized soft corn tortillas for some years now, and have always been a true pleasure to work with.”
She added: “People now more than ever are in tune with the quality of food, how it’s made and where the ingredients come from.
“A belief and passion for doing things right is something both our businesses share. We were really thrilled to hear they secured the Ocado listing, as the tortilla chips are super tasty and with zero shortcuts taken in making.
“They have been working towards this for years. We wish Phil and all the team the very best and look forward to working with them into the future.”
Blanco Niño also have a number of new products in development scheduled for release over the coming months into 2022.