The Penny Loaf Co. – O’Donohues Bakery

Membership approved until 1st May 2018

Business Background


Product Range
Penny Loaves: Mini Irish Soda Breads – fully baked & blast frozen, Buttermilk (Wheaten) Soda Penny Loaf, Traditional White Soda Penny Loaf – free from yeast & dairy , Seeded Soda Penny Loaf , Irish Stout Penny Loaf, Fruit Soda Penny Loaf, Sun-Dried Tomato Penny Loaf , Cheddar & Chive Penny Loaf, Yeast Bread – Traditional Pans, Old Style Batch , Traditional Irish Soda Bread

Specialists In
Manufacturing quality yeast and soda breads to age-old recipes and traditional baking methods.

O’Donohues Bakery is a fourth generation family-run business that was re-established by husband and wife team, Cathal and Frances O’Donohue, in 1989 in Tullamore, Co. Offaly.

With a fleet of four vans covering a 40-mile radius of Tullamore, O’Donohue’s supplies fresh bread six days per week to key customers such as Dunnes, Tesco, Supervalu, Centra and independent retailers.

In October 2013, O’Donohue’s launched a new innovative product to the Irish foodservice sector – the Penny Loaf. Penny Loaves are a variety of mini Irish soda breads that are fully baked and blast frozen. They provide a unique offering to chefs in terms of use; just thaw and serve. With a three day defrosted shelf-life, a chef should have no waste.

On realising the demand, €100,000 was invested in the production of the Penny Loaf in early 2013, helping O’Donohues to reach a high-capacity output. Freezing is done onsite to guarantee the quality of the products and all Penny Loaves are blast frozen to -18°C within two hours of coming out of the oven.

Key Sustainability Commitments

Raw Material Sourcing

  • O’Donohues Bakery aims to source their raw materials from suppliers with recognised certification in both quality and sustainability. Currently 100% of suppliers hold a quality certification and results from a recent survey have shown 11.76% of their packaging suppliers hold a sustainability certificate.

Manufacturing Processes

  • O’Donohues Bakery are aiming to switch 2 vans over to electric powered vehicles by 2020.
  • Change all lighting to energy efficient light bulbs.
  • Magnetic Fuel Condition (Energy saving Gas) – This tool influences the gas fuel so that it combines with oxygen more effectively, resulting in a more complete combustion with a higher temperature so that the thermostatic setting of the boiler/burner is reached sooner. This means that by reaching the thermostatic setting sooner there is a saving to be had on fuel consumption of 10%. By making the fuel burn more completely there is also a reduction on harmful emissions and a reduction in carbon tonnage.
  • EndoCube (Saving Refrigeration Electricity consumption) – O’Donohues Bakery uses a product called “EndoCube”. The EndoCube allows for a significant reduction in refrigeration energy consumption by reducing the number of times that the refrigeration cycle is activated.
  • Reduce waste and recycle materials where possible.
  • Reduce waster use by 23% per m3 per tonne of output.

Social Sustainability

  • O’Donohues are committed to manufacturing quality products using natural ingredients. The company currently make donations to local charity/community clubs on a yearly basis and welcome schools/clubs to tour the bakery throughout the year. They also participate in National Bread Week each year.

Unique Selling Points

As the Penny Loaves are simply ‘thaw and serve’, this reduces labour and waste costs while improving efficiencies.

The unique shape of the Penny Loaf allows the product to be used in many ways, making it extremely versatile, while the size helps with portion control.

Penny Loaves are a healthier, cleaner alternative to the common bread roll or petit pain.

Awards & Accreditations

Innumerable Great Taste Awards

Shortlisted for the Entrepreneurial Award in Bord Bia Food & Drink Awards 2015

Tullamore Chamber of Commerce Business Awards 2014

National Finalist for the Q Mark Awards

Food Safety Category in 2013, 2014, and 2015

BRC A Grade

EIQA Level 3 Hygiene Mark 2013 & 2014

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