SRC - Early Days Foods 

Early Days Foods was set up by father & son Seamus & Ryan McGivern in Warrenpoint in 2014.

About the Case - The Challenge

Early Days Foods, a family run business established in Warrenpoint Co Down, now with a bespoke manufacturing facility in Dundalk Co. Louth, produce and distribute frozen premium, clean label pre-prepared meals to over 100 day nurseries, crèches, schools, after-school clubs throughout Ireland. The company initially bought in frozen ready meals to distribute across NI but decided to explore the idea of making products at home as son Ryan was a trained chef and ensured product quality was always met.   

Brenda Kelleghan at SRC in 2013 started working with Early Days Foods through Connected funding at a pre-start up stage as the company was ready to scale up and expand their production. With the plans for scaling up, came a host of challenges such as production planning and recipe development to name a few.  

 The Solution

Through their collaboration with Brenda the company successfully secured a number of Invest NI Innovation Vouchers that enable support to be given in the areas of identifying a production space, factory scale up, production planning, recipe development, nutritional training and labelling. Assistance was required in the manufacturing scale up.  This included help with recipe compilation and back of pack labelling, to include allergens and nutritional claims. Practical kitchen support was given on developing a range of low salt, low sugar sauce for crèche ready meal market. Advice on shelf life was also provided which led onto further Invest NI Innovation Voucher work to verify chilled shelf lives of food produce. Further to this Seamus, Early Days Foods Director completed HACCP Food Safety Training at Southern Regional College.   

In March 2022 the company were awarded a 12-month Innovation Boost project for their site in Co. Louth and recruited a technical & NPD manager Jacqueline McKeown to lead on a range of NPD projects. Jacqueline brought a wealth of experience and knowledge in NPD and the Food Industry to the company. Jacqueline has been working with the company since March 2022 and has implemented a robust quality control system, created production efficiencies and has developed and launched an innovative range of new products with the company growing from strength to strength.

In 2019 Early Days opened a new manufacturing facility in the Republic of Ireland producing frozen & chilled meals, employing 15 people with contracts for 100’s of schools and nurseries all around Ireland. Currently in 2024 early days has grown to 25 staff and has achieved incredible success with its links with SRC remaining strong.



The work provided by the college gave us the initial confidence and know how to successfully launch our business regarding factory scale up. We did not have the technical insight to progress ourselves. The help has been invaluable to the success of our business.

Seamus McGivern Early Days