Food Academy Start, a new food education programme was launched last week. Organised by County and City Enterprise Boards, Bord Bia and SuperValu, the Academy is made up of a series of workshops and one-to-one mentoring from experts. Oisin Geoghegan, spokesperson for the Dublin County and City Enterprise Boards, said, “Food Academy Start will showcase innovative concepts produced by Dublin-based entrepreneurs, reflecting their contemporary approach to Irish produce. [...] This new initiative will help Irish entrepreneurs get their local produce onto national and international supermarket shelves." Participants in the programme include Kitty O’Byrnes, Lovely Bob’s Organic Granola, The Cool Bean Company and Sushi King Sushi. Further information available about the programme is available at: www.enterpriseboards.ie
RGDATA, representative organisation of the independent retail grocery sector, is pursuing a one off ‘loyalty payment’ of €15,000 for retailers from the new lottery operator, Premier Lotteries Ireland, in recognition of the role its members played in expanding the business. Tara Buckley, Director General of RGDATA, said: “It would seem only fair that if the staff of the National Lottery and the new operators of the lottery are in line for a significant return on the new investment, the retail agents, who play such a central part in the success of the lottery should also be recognised.” RGDATA specified in a letter to the lottery operator that the payout to retailers would not be taken from money set aside for charitable contributions, the retailer’s commission or prize money.
SuperValu has donated €100,000 to Focus Ireland from the low-cost veg Christmas sales. While other retailers over the festive period sold vegetables for five cent, SuperValu maintained a price of 19 cent, and promised to donate 14 cent from every sale of a bag of carrots, brussel sprouts and melons to the charity. Martin Kelleher, managing director, SuperValu said, “The decision to make a donation from the sale of fruit and vegetables ensured we would support a worthy cause while also following through on our on-going commitment to Irish suppliers.” He said that the decision not to follow the market in reducing prices, and instead offer a significant percentage of every sale to charity, enabled its customers to make a contribution to a worthy cause while also supporting Irish suppliers. Mark Byrne, Acting CEO, Focus Ireland said, “We are delighted to accept this significant donation from SuperValu and its customers which will help fund our vital work providing over 70 services to combat and prevent homelessness across Ireland."
The World Health Organisation (WHO) is assessing whether to reduce its recommended daily allowance of sugar from 10 teaspoons to five daily. The review comes from concern that the high level of sugar in diets leads to obesity, heart disease and tooth decay. In response to the sugar level discussion, the Irish Independent conducted a survey of sugar content in breakfast cereals and breakfast biscuits. It claimed that some cereals deliver up to three or four teaspoons per bowl, even if the small serving size is adhered to. Kellogg’s Nutrigrain Breakfast bars were found to contain 40% sugar, 18g per 45g bar, while McVitie’s Breakfast Biscuits contain around three teaspoons of sugar, similar to the content of McVitie’s digestive biscuits. Alpen Porridge pot with blueberry, cranberry and nuts has 17.3g per serving, making up 30% of its content, while Special K Mutigrain Porridge pots contain 13 g of sugar per serving. However, Plain Porridge and Shredded Wheat were found to have almost no sugar at all.
Aramark Ireland, the integrated services company, has announced its nominated charities for 2014. The charities are GIY (Grow It Yourself), Galway Hospice, St Patrick’s Mental Health Foundation and Children’s Heartbeat Trust. The Aramark Charitable Fund has been running since 2008 and asks its employees to select a charity each year form local areas. So far it has raised €272,700 for its various nominated charities. During the year, Aramark Ireland employees will host and support a number of fundraising initiatives such as the Aramark Ireland Pledge campaign and Aramark Ireland Cupcake Campaign, with proceeds raised going towards the four charities. Donal O’Brien, CEO of Aramark said, “Our Charitable Fund is one of the most important ways for our company to support our local communities. By allowing our staff to choose the charities we support, it means they really identify with the chosen organisations and get behind each cause. This year’s charities reflect both national issues and local concerns and we are really looking forward to raising funds and for our new charities in 2014.”
The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD has praised a major retail revitalisation programme in County Carlow, which aims to bring more retailers and new jobs to South Leinster. The Carlow Town team Revitalisation Programme has an investment of over €130,000 and features seven key supports including grants for commercial rates, shop front improvement schemes for vacant properties, pop-up shop opportunities and training programmes for those working in the sector. The programme is being rolled out by many organisations including the Carlow County Enterprise Board, the Local Authorities, the Chamber of Commerce and IT Carlow. Minister Bruton said, “This is a great example of how by working together businesses can help revitalise the enterprise environment and create jobs. I wish every success to all involved.” Retail Excellence Ireland is supporting the programme, which will offer a ‘Rates Incentive Grant Scheme’ of up to 5% off commercial rates for 2014; a ‘Vacant Property Retail Incentive Scheme’, to cover store fit-out and shop front improvements; an ‘Art, Craft and Food Shop’ incentive scheme on several specified streets, a ‘Pop-Up’ scheme for temporary retail space, a ‘Retail Development Programme’ to improve retail skills among store owners and a ‘Start Your Own Retail Business’ workshop for those thinking of opening up a new retail outlet locally.
Northern Ireland-based Keen Nutrition has grown sales in the Republic of Ireland to almost 70% of turnover in the past few months due to Kickstarter, a crowd funding website for creative business start up. Aimee Biemers, the Northern Irish entrepreneur behind the artisan food company, manufacturer of almond and other nut butters, said, “My main business in the Republic comes from delis, smaller independents and increasingly from health stores in places like Dublin and Cork. The interest from the health stores and sports nutrition specialists has encouraged me to develop one litre jars in addition to the existing range in 190ml pots.” Keen Nutrition was recently named among the 20 artisan food businesses in Ireland to watch in 2014 by the influential Irish Food Guides organisation.
Retailers in Ennis and Shannon have called the introduction of plain cigarette packaging a “nail in the coffin.” A local retailer has told the Clare Champion that counterfeit sellers deliver price lists door to door to increase illicit trade. Rose Heaslip of Heaslip’s newsagents told the paper “If the plain packaging comes in and people can buy them on the street and not be able to distinguish them from the brands in the shop, why would they go to the shops to buy them? We’re fearful for the future of the business, it’s family run and it’s our bread and butter.” Other retailers in the region shared the view that plain packaging will only serve to enable more counterfeit trade, as cigarette prices go up year after year in shops due to high taxation.
© 2014 - Checkout Magazine by Genna Patterson