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Representation in Ireland

Flahavan’s Oats: An Irish family business exporting to South Korea

Thanks to the EU-South Korea Free Trade Agreement Flahavan's, Ireland's oldest family-run food business, has been able to grow its exports in East Asia where there is new demand for oat-based products.

The Flahavan family in Co Waterford

Flahavan’s produces finest quality porridge oats and wholesome natural oat-based products such as granola, muesli, flapjacks and more recently a range of oat drinks. It is the oldest family-run food business in Ireland. It has been milling locally grown oats in Kilmacthomas, County Waterford for over 235 years. It can trace its history back to 1785 and original mill owner Thomas Dunn, and it has been passed down through his descendants to the current seventh-generation owner, John Flahavan.

Flahavan’s currently sells a range of over 50 oat-based products in 20 countries worldwide, with significant trading in the UK, South Korea, the United States and the Middle East.

Since the decision was made to grow the business internationally, Flahavan's has found itself in uncharted territory, which inevitably presents challenges to expanding the business internationally. Among these challenges facing the company are lower brand awareness, trading difficulties such as currency fluctuations, packaging and labelling legislation, travel distance to export markets further afield, and so on.

However, there are also considerable opportunities for international trade, as there is new demand for oat-based products in Asia.

Trading outside of the EU has its challenges, and they have been increasing in recent years, but it is something that we aspire to do. We believe that we have a product that is of better quality than anything else on the market, and that there is a demand for it. 

How the EU-South Korea Free Trade Agreement helps

The EU-South Korea free trade agreement helps in relation to three main areas. It allows us to avail of preferential tariffs going into the market. There is also less documentation required for customs. And finally, there is the ability to clear customs more smoothly.

The EU-South Korea free trade agreement is important because it reduces barriers to trade. We, in Ireland, are a small open economy, so we are heavily reliant on the ability to trade freely with our partners. This agreement enables this and helps drive growth for everyone. Overall it has made a real difference and we have created more jobs to keep up with demand.

John Flahavan,
CEO, Flahavan's


Key info about Flahavan's:

  • Founded in: 1785
  • Headquarters: Kilmacthomas, Co. Waterford
  • Employees: approx. 100
  • Annual turnover: 2021: approx. €25 million


More information on EU trade with South Korea

EU trade relations with South Korea. Facts, figures and latest development