Connacht Tribune

Family’s saucy secret gets the pulses racing

It took chef Owen McArdle 18 months to take apart a simple tomato sauce and build it together again to create a tasty alternative without sugar, salt and additives and packed full of fibre and protein.

While FeedThePulse sauces have yet to hit the shelves – and the company has no website or social media presence – the business was chosen as a runner-up in a European competition for innovative thinking in the world of nutrition.

Their award in the Unilever Foundry and Food Vision Trailblazer event won them a place on the Food Vision programme held recently in Cannes, France.

“We only started trading yesterday so it’s all very new,” revealed matriarch Helen McArdle, whose husband Owen and two sons Greg and Dan are the chefs in McArdle Catering, based in Claregalway.

Elite sportsmen and women in the county may recognise that name – McArdle Catering are responsible for preparing match-day packs for Connacht Rugby and Galway GAA.

Healthy meals such as a rap with chicken and pinto beans paired with quinoa or rice have been a staple of their sports lunches for teams.

It was through this work they decided to pursue the idea of manufacturing their own brand sauces.

“We are not nutritionists, we are caterers. I contacted [the west of Ireland heart charity] Croí who spoke about the importance of low salt for blood pressure, low sugar for diabetics and low fat for a healthy weight and including protein and fibre for all-round nutrition,” explained Helen.

“Owen disassembled very normal sauces – tomato and basil, tomoto and chilli, madras – and started from scratch, pulling out salt, sugar and fat. And then the fun started.”

Through a process of elimination and experimentation with herbs and natural ingredients and cooked very slowly to release the flavours, Owen created a sauce which fit the bill for people who wanted convenience that was both healthy and tasty.