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Weekly Round Up, November 11, 2014

Published on Nov 11 2014 9:22 AM

Weekly Round Up, November 11, 2014

In recent years, the potential of Ireland’s food and drink industry has come centre stage, with the industry routinely identified as presenting major opportunities for employment and wealth creation. These opportunities exist internationally and thus require careful preparation by companies and their people. Professor Damien McLoughlin, UCD Smurfit School, said “The Diploma in Strategic Growth (Food Industry) provides an ideal platform for anyone looking to enhance their abilities, accelerate their career, and improve the success of their business.” He added, “there has never been a greater need for industry specific education to meet the challenges now facing those working in this fast growing and increasingly global sector”. Modules focus on specific challenges of the food sector and are delivered by a team of world-leading food business experts from UCD Smurfit School, Harvard Business School, IMD Business School and M.I.T. (Massachusetts Inst. of Technology). The programme is designed for those with responsibilities in: sales, marketing, food production, NPD, farming, food retailing, retail buying, entrepreneurial ventures and specialists such as Agricultural and Food Science graduates seeking to enhance their business acumen. This part-time, professional Diploma in Strategic Growth (Food Industry) is a fully accredited UCD programme (NFQ Level 9) delivered over a series of 5 manageable blocks of two- or three-day modules held between December 2014 and June 2015. The diploma programme also feeds into the pathway to the MSc in Business (Leadership and Management Practice) at UCD Smurfit School. For further details email [email protected] or Tel. 01 7168049 and visit http://www.smurfitschool.ie/ourcourses/executivedevelopment/industryspecific/

Meat Industry Ireland (MII), the group that represents the meat processing sector, has commented on the “continued misuse of price comparators by the IFA.” Joe Ryan of MII said that claims by the Irish Farmers Association (IFA) that the British steer price has increased by the equivalent of 30 cent in the last five weeks are simply not factual. He said that EBLEX figures show the average British steer price to be at similar levels to those of five weeks ago, and in fact, they have fallen in recent weeks. "Continued misuse of price comparators is not helpful and is misleading,” Ryan said. “This has been verified by the independent Dowling report (June 2014). Furthermore, consistently focussing on one grade of one type of animal in one market (UK R3 steer) completely ignores the full basket of animals that Ireland produces and the range of meat cuts we sell across all our European markets.” He continued, “EU Commission figures show that the Irish cattle price is currently over 101% of the EU average. This is a very strong performance given than Ireland exports 90% of our produce into these markets where the consumer preference is for their local produce.”

The Small Firms Association (SFA) has welcomed the Fourteenth Credit Review Office report, which highlights the needs for banks to support businesses with their credit needs as the economy returns to growth and for a diversity of funding options to be available to small businesses, given the contracting banking market. SFA Director, Patricia Callan said that for Irish Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), supply of finance is second only to finding more customers as an issue. She said, “Irish SMEs rely heavily on banks as a source of external finance - 93.2% of the €27.6 billion SME finance market – so it is essential that a wide variety of debt financing options is available. The new SBCI loan fund should be used to attract new financial intermediaries into the market to provide lower cost, new and innovative products, such as longer term loans and interest free holidays, which will meet a market need.” Callan said that small business members want is a funder that understands their business and wants to build a long-term relationship with the business. “If they have trust that this is available, then demand for credit will increase and it is essential that the banks move their risk pendulum to assess the business owner and the business potential, rather than their traditional focus on asset backed lending and security.” 

Keogh’s Farm has re-launched its Roast Turkey and Secret Stuffing Crisps for the third year in a row. The festive variant are a limited edition for Christmas and come in both small (50g) and large share bags (125g). The small impulse bags are priced at €0.99 while the large share bags are priced at €2.49. Additionally the crisps are gluten free, which allows those on a restricted diet to still indulge. Tom Keogh of Keogh’s Farm said, “We are delighted that our Roast Turkey & Secret Stuffing Crisps are back on shelves once again this year, for a limited time. Our fans have been requesting the Christmas crisps for months now and we can’t ignore this popular demand. Turkey is at the heart of Christmas in Ireland.” Keogh’s Farm Roast Turkey and Secret Stuffing crisps will also feature the ever-popular ‘Spud Nav’ through which the consumer can trace their bag of crisps back to the field it came from, by entering the field name - which is printed on each bag into the ‘Spud Nav’ page on the Keoghs web site www.keoghs.ie

Jameson Whiskey has launched Jameson Caskmates, an experimental stout-seasoned whiskey. The new variant was created by the Midleton Distillery in collaboration with the Franciscan Well Brewery in Cork. Stock is limited to just 3,500 bottles (RRP €34.99) and the stout-seasoned whiskey delivers notes of coffee, cocoa and hops while retaining the smoothness of Jameson Original.

Butlers Chocolates has announced the upcoming opening of its newest Chocolate Café in the Crescent Shopping Centre, Limerick on November 15. Butlers currently has 16 cafés in the Republic and the new store marks its 17th. Michelle McBride, Retail Director of Butlers Chocolates said, “We are delighted to be opening our first Butlers Chocolate Café in Limerick and we are excited about our expansions into the mid-west region. We look forward to welcoming new and existing customers and to bringing the full Butlers Chocolate experience to a new customer base.” The new store will offer a full menu of signature hot and cold beverages, food options and Christmas gift assortments for the festive season.

Verve, the event and brand activation agency, has announced the appointment of James Maclay as the company’s first Country Director for UK operations. Maclay will lead the company’s expansion in the UK, which is based at its new offices in Marylebone Lane. Originally based in Dublin, Verve announced this summer that it was planning to push the Western European market to cater for a demand among the firm’s existing multinational clients to work with it on projects across the reason. Maclay joins verve from IMG, where he was head of Experiential for International Consulting for over six years. Ronan Traynor, founder and managing director of Verve says that Maclay has a “fantastic track record” and the right experience to drive Verve’s expansion in the UK. “I look forward to working alongside him as we extend our work with our current clients into a new market, and broaden our reach to include new customer relationships.” Maclay said, “I am excited to be joining Verve and to play a role in the success of its expansion effort. Our aim is to become one of Western Europe’s leading event management and brand activation companies, matching the position of our Irish operations where we are the largest independently owned company of its kind.”

This year's Food Summit was held in the RDS, attracting over 400 producers and chefs. The event, run with Good Food Ireland, saw almost 15,000 people sample a range of quality produce from Irish artisan producers. The success of the Food Summit was evident from its positive turnout, quality dishes, to the enthusiasm of its guests. Margaret Jeffares, Good Food Ireland founder, commented on the Food Summit's success, “Someone said it is the Riverdance moment of Irish Food.” The Food Summit presented an opportunity for large-scale sampling, boasting a wide selection of dishes from Irish cheese, handmade chocolate, relishes, cooked meat, breads, fruit, vegetables, and salads. The strength of the Food Summit meant that thousands of guests were able to put a face to the producer's name.

There was a 71% rise in Irish exports this year, an increase of 9% from 2013. Furthermore, 85% of companies are expecting an export increase in 2015 according to The Irish Exporters Association (IEA) Export Ireland Survey & International Trade Finance Review, which provides support for exporters focusing on export issues and challenges. Over 80% of exporters have made investment in new product or service development. What is more, 47% of respondents have reported an increase in spending on R&D in 2014 compared to 2013. Nearly three-quarters of respondents have targeted new markets. Exports will increase by 20.2% in 2015, according to the food and drink sector. This sector also predicts a cumulative rise of exports of almost 42% by 2020. Economic adviser, John Beggs of IEA, states that “though general economic performance is more favourable than in 2013, considerable risks and uncertainties remain.” The results from the IEA suggest a “more confidant buoyant picture painted by official statistics.”

Lidl has won the award ‘Best Supermarket for Wine’. A study of 4,000 wines from stores across the UK shows the Lidl stands out against competitors Aldi, Asda, the Co-op, Marks & Spencer, Morrisons, Sainsbury's, Tesco and Waitrose. Discounter Aldi came in second for value and Asda came third while Morrisons and the Co-Operative come out the most expensive in the study. Almost 60% of all wine sold is worth less that the price paid and only 26% of the wine sold in UK is worth more than the price sold. British wine buyers spend an average of £287.50 a year on wine at £4.99 per bottle.

© 2014 - Checkout Magazine by Genna Patterson and Niamh Clarke.

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