Marie Curtin’s extensive background in sport combined with her farming blood combined to spark a new business venture.
The former international player for the Irish Senior Women’s soccer team shared the field with leading household names including Katie Taylor and Emma Byrne during her sporting career, along with playing underage soccer for Ireland and Gaelic football for Limerick.
Marie took a trek across the other side of the globe and studied a Bachelor of Arts in Social Science from Hofstra University, New York in 2008 while studying on a 4-year full soccer scholarship.
A new venture
Marie returned to Irish soil, to her family-run dairy farm based in Rosstemple, Athlacca, Co. Limerick. Her father Seán has always wanted to develop a value-added product with milk, so Marie felt that this was the perfect opportunity to join forces with him.
Growing up on a family-run dairy farm, the price of milk and trends in the dairy sector has always been a hot topic of conversation in the Curtin household.
“My interest was very much in sport and I was aware of a growing popularity around low-fat chocolate milk being used as a sports recovery drink. A lot of food scientists, athletes and nutritionists are looking for food-first approach, meaning that they are trying to get their nutrition as natural where possible.” Marie explained.
“We looked at the Irish market, in particular competitors in the flavoured milk market, with the products that I found loaded with either sugar or artificial ingredients. ” Marie added.
The Curtin’s took the plunge and diversified into the production of flavoured chocolate milk after developing their product in Moorepark, Technology in Fermoy.
“We felt that there was a gap in the market for a healthier and more natural flavoured milk range. We made the product with the athlete in mind, but we also wanted to make something suitable for kids.” Marie said.
Temple Dairy- Fresh flavoured chocolate milk
Temple Dairy produces fresh flavoured milk, with a total of five ingredients. 94% low-fat milk, which comes from the Curtin’s dairy herd of Holstein Friesian cows, 2% brown cane sugar and a natural cocoa ingredient which is sourced from Switzerland, being mindful of the nutritional benefits.
Their product, which boasts 20 grams protein in every 500ml has no artificial colourings, flavours or preservatives, which Marie believes is a key factor that drives the business giving reassurance to customers.
“It’s quite a simple recipe and that is exactly what we wanted. We try to make the product as natural as possible and something not too sweet.” Marie explained.
“There is a lot of research there stating that low-fat chocolate milk rather than full fat in terms of a sports recovery drink. ” Marie said.
Temple Dairy, with a manufacturing plant based in Mitchelstown, Co. Cork has grown from strength-to-strength since its establishment, as Marie, a leading entrepreneur continues to skyrocket to success.
The father and daughter duo pitched for an investment Dragon’s Den earlier this year.
“We feel that it has worked out the best way for us in the end. It was great exposure for us and it has been huge promotion for our brand. Things have worked out differently and we are happy with the outcome now.” Marie explained.
The team has continued to grow and now Marie’s brother is now head of Operations, along with continued assistance from her fatherand input from her uncle.
Marie can look upon her entrepreneurial journey with pride, with several high-points to date. Ms Curtin secured her place on Supervalu Food Academy programme.
“They were very supportive of Temple Dairy.” Marie said.
“A big highlight was getting Munster Rugby on board because we made the product with the athlete in mind. To have their support has not only strengthened the brand and given the brand strength-ability, but it also helps sales.” Marie added.
From humble beginnings to becoming a household name, a bright future is in store for Temple Dairy, with many plans stirring in the pipeline.
“We want to grow sales, get into a series of multiples throughout the country and make the product widely available across Ireland. We are working on these areas, but it does take time and patience. More flavours and more products to grow the product portfolio." Marie concluded.
A full list of stockists can be found on their website.
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