Breffney O’ Dowling-Keane | FruitCubed

Tell us a bit about yourself and your startup.

downloadHey, I’m Breffney – a food scientist, chef and Cork’s biggest food pusher. If it’s fresh, local and healthy- it’s mine! I studied Food Science in UCC and went to work with Kerry Group. After two years working with a team of bakers I decided it was time to put my money where my mouth was and learn the practical side of food production and become a chef. I enrolled in Professional Cookery in CIT, packed up my car and moved back to Cork.

I started Breffney & Co, my blog (@breffneyandco) when I was chefing to help me share some of my recipes and foodie finds around Cork.

Around the same time I began to look into why people in Ireland aren’t consuming their 5-a-day of fruit and vegetables. After a lot of research I pinned it down to four main reasons:

  1. Price – Eating healthy, fresh fruit is expensive!
  2. Permeability – We have all been here. Buy raspberries on a Sunday, getting ready for the healthy week ahead. Open the fridge door on Wednesday and half the raspberries are mouldy, you throw them out vowing NEVER to do it again. Next week comes and you do the exact same thing!
  3. Preparation – No one, and I mean no one wants to get up 15 minutes earlier to prepare fruit and vegetables for the day.
  4. Prettiness – 20% of all fruit and veg are left on the branches to rot because they are imperfect looking. This further increases the price of fruit and it all goes around in a vicious circle.

download-2I wanted to create something which removed all these factors and make healthy eating accessible to everybody. I created FruitCubed. A blend of nutritious, delicious fruit and vegetables – cubed and proportioned to 90g ready-to-eat cubes!

They can be blended with liquid to make smoothies, spread on toast like a sugar free jam or even added to curries to give a fruity note.

What is your vision for Fruitcubed?

We want to be the world leader in creating healthy food products which are accessible to everyone. We take the best of science and never compromise on taste to deliver solutions which are nutritious and delicious!

What have been your biggest hurdles, and how did you overcome them? 

When you decide to start a business, or climb a mountain, the biggest question is – Where do I begin? This is where Ignite came in and saved me.

download-3I began Ignite in October 2015 under the direction of the amazing Eamon Curtin.

The accelerator programme he runs is second to none and opened the FruitCubed doors to a whole network of people who were ready to inspire, teach and help you achieve your goals. It was the biggest leg up I could have asked for.

What are your views on entrepreneurship in Cork? 

I think we are getting there! The community of entrepreneurs is growing every single day and everyone just wants to help in any and every way they can.

The amount of support I have received from UCC, LEO, EI, EY, BOI and complete strangers is amazing.
If it wasn’t for the help I received from more seasoned entrepreneurs in Cork, I would have given up a long time ago.

We have something really special here and it’s important for new entrepreneurs to take advantage of that, because it can be a lonely road.

What motivates you – in other words – why do you do what you do? 

imagesEvery time I feel like giving up, I think of the day I walk into a supermarket and see my product on the shelf and I carry on.

Every one deserves to be able to give their body what it needs and if I can make achieving that a little easier for someone, then my job is worth every hard second.