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Weekly Round Up, March 4, 2014

Published on Mar 3 2014 4:39 PM

Weekly Round Up, March 4, 2014

Polish food safety authorities have claimed that 'green meat' was found in an Irish processing plant last year. In a report based on an investigation early in 2013, Polish authorities examined suppliers after the horse meat crisis broke out. Poland’s chief veterinary officer said that “green coloured, dry and old” meat was discovered at the ABP-owned Silvercrest plant in Ballybay, County Monaghan, during an inspection last February. The report said, “The condition of the blocks showed their having been thawed and refrozen.” ABP denied any of the unfit meat would have ended up in the food supply chain. Commenting, an ABP spokesperson said "The report fails to adequately address the significant body of evidence that suggests that Poland was the source of at least some of the meat illegally contaminated with horse." ABP claims the ‘green meat’ was in a fridge under quarantine, and had gone off while being moved and unpacked for testing.

The volume of retail transactions taking place in the property market is up, "on the back of improving economic prospects," according to the latest Bi-Monthly Research Report by CBRE Ireland. The property firm said that while demand for locations is strengthening, particularly in Dublin, there has also been "an improvement in demand for provincial properties over recent months." Among the retailers that have confirmed expansion in the Irish market are Subway, which announced plans to open 180 new stores in Ireland by 2020, Centra, which plans to open 20 stores this year, and Dealz, which has earmarked an additional 18 stores over the coming three years.

Puratos, producers of ingredients for chocolatiers, confectioneries and bakers, brought Checkout Best in Fresh 2013 Bakery Award winners John and Margaret McCarthy to Puratos HQ in Belgium to celebrate their success. The McCarthys, proprietors of EuroSpar Kilkenny were treated to two days away, where they were given a tour of the Puratos premises and a technical demonstration from a leading Belgium patissier, as well as visiting an array of Bakery shops in Brussels. Puratos said it was 'delighted' to be part of the store’s success. Eurospar Kilkenny won the Bakery Award last year, with Londis Adare and Field’s SuperValu Skibbereen named as runners up.

The FSAI has released a report on 'Labeling of Fruit Juices and Related Products'. The publication includes information in relation to the general labellng requirements for foodstuffs including fruit juices and related products. Council Directive 2001/112/EC relating to fruit juices and certain similar products lays down rules on the production, composition and labeling of these products. The amendment directive 2012/12/EU has applied since 28th October 2013 and introduces new rules on authorised ingredients, such as the addition of sugars which are no longer authorised in fruit juice, fruit juice from concentrate, concentrated fruit juice, water extracted fruit juice, and dehydrated/powdered fruit juice. For this reason, the nutrition claim ‘no-added sugar’ will no longer be permitted on these products. For more information, visit www.fsai.ie.

Ibec has welcomed the Government's Action Plan for Jobs 2014. The group has said that employment figures are encouraging, with 50,000 new jobs expected this year. Ibec Head of Policy and Chief Economist, Fergal O'Brien said the Action Plan for Jobs is a good way of focusing attention on the reforms needed to get people back to work. "The 2014 plan has many good ideas and the focus on competitiveness is really important," he said. "We've managed to get many of our costs back into line, but it's vital that hard-won gains of recent years are not squandered as the economy recovers. Businesses still face very high labour, energy and local government costs. It's good to see that the plan puts accountability for these issues at the highest level of government.” However, O’Brien highlighted that there are still significant gaps in the plan and the government should be looking at reducing tax, improving regulation, and investing much more in infrastructure projects.

British American Tobacco (BAT) has announced that it expects single-digit core earnings growth again this year as it continues to expand its share in a reduced cigarette market. BAT are the world's No. 2 cigarette maker and has seen growth due to its global brands Kent, Dunhill, Lucky Strike and Pall Mall. BAT's core earnings rose 6% in 2013 after innovations such as "capsules" sales grew in Malaysia and other parts of Asia, while an "additive free" range of Lucky Strikes proved popular, especially in Germany. While the company’s overall cigarette volumes declined by 2.7% in 2013, this was less than the industry standard decline of 3%. BAT's director of corporate affairs, Kingsley Wheaton said, "We think we'll continue to be able to deliver the high single digit earnings per share growth.” BAT will be investing in electronic cigarettes like its competitors to ensure secure growth in the future.

The chairman of the Small Firms Association, AJ Noonan, has given an address to the Irish Banking Federation (IBF) SME Conference entitled ‘Supporting Recovery & Growth’. He said that Irish SMEs rely heavily on banks as a source of external finance, which makes them vulnerable to developments in the banking sector. “I have never known a business big or small to be successful without a bank supporting them,” he said. He also discussed results from the SFA’s Q1 2014 Banking Survey, which demonstrated that 55% of respondents use commercial banks for their working capital requirements, whilst 40% rely on them for their investment capital needs. 31% of respondents stated that their relationship with their business bank had 'disimproved' over the past year, with 41% stating that it had 'stayed the same' and 10% stating that it had 'improved'. The major concerns for respondents included the cost of finance increasing and the T&Cs, collateral and delays. The survey respondents included 855 member companies of a sample 3,000 members.

Hurley’s SuperValu, Midleton, Co. Cork has won SuperValu Store of the Year for 2014 at the SuperValu Annual Awards, held in Killarney last week. SuperValu stores across the Republic were assessed and adjudicated by independent competition judge, Joe Comerford. Three other Cork stores won awards too, Ryan’s SuperValu, Glanmire; Riordan’s SuperValu Fermoy and O’Mahony’s SuperValu Mallow. John Hurley of winning SuperValu store in Midleton said, ”Our committed experienced workforce; of 138 employees – many of whom have spanned across generations of families, strive towards one goal, which is providing the absolute best value, service and range for our customers.” Martin Kelleher, Managing Director, SuperValu commented on the difficult process of choosing a winner. “Every year we face a very difficult decision in choosing the SuperValu Store of the Year winner and 2014 was particularly challenging. It is truly evident that all SuperValu stores work hard to succeed in a very competitive market and it is the passion of the independent entrepreneurial retailers and their enthusiastic teams that is fundamental to their success.”

Bord Bia has hosted Irish farmhouse cheese producers at a Paris trade fair, Salon du Fromage, to highlight the growing demand for Irish farmhouse cheeses abroad. 14 Irish companies showcased nearly 40 different products in the Paris trade fair amongst 170 exhibitors from 12 countries globally. Nearly 6,000 visitors attended the trade fair, where Bord Bia was only one of two non-French national organisations present. Bord Bia said, “The personality of the cheesemaker is often reflected in aspects of their cheese; from the wild and unpredictable to the precise and consistent. The large range of Irish farmhouse cheeses now available is exceptional considering the youth of the industry and the small size of our island.” Currently there are 50 farmhouse cheesemakers in Ireland producing more than 150 types of cheese, in a sector valued at more than €12m per annum and exports valued at about €4.5m.

The National Federation of Retail Newsagents (NFRN) Ireland President Joe Sweeney attended the Fine Gael Ard Fheis on Saturday March 1 to discuss the organisation’s Policy Agenda 2014 with party leaders and the Taoiseach, Enda Kenny. Commenting after the meetings at the Ard Fheis, Sweeney said:"In every case the document was well received and the Taoiseach and his party colleagues all promised to give the points I raised very careful consideration." NFRN Ireland will be hosting its annual general meeting in the Knightsbrook Hotel, today Tuesday March 4, at which the policy agenda and campaigning activities will be discussed by members. Poilicy priorities for 2014 include tackling the illicit trade in Ireland, particularly in tobacco products; agreeing minimum pricing of alcohol; using the Valuation Bill currently before the Oireachtas to introduce a levy on multiples, similar to that introduced in Northern Ireland in April 2014; establishing an Ombudsman for Small Business; cutting red tape for small business and protecting retailers and consumers from crime.

© 2014 - Checkout Magazine by Genna Patterson

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