Ministers Michael Creed and Pat Breen have marked the fifth year of the Food Academy programme, which is expected to generate €50 million in sales annually for emerging Irish food producers within the next five years.
Food Academy is a joint initiative between Bord Bia, the network of Local Enterprise Offices and SuperValu and was established to support early-stage Irish food businesses.
Participating companies gain access to expertise in branding, market research, business development and distribution, to allow them to scale up and secure listings with SuperValu and are further supported by their Local Enterprise Offices which have provided ongoing financial support as well as general mentoring.
High Quality Sourced Locally
The programme began in 2013 and has since seen its graduates sell €78 million worth of produce in SuperValu stores and the 329 suppliers involved have grown to provide approximately 1,500 jobs.
Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed TD said, “There is increasing consumer interest in high-quality locally-produced food products.
“This interest has helped to boost the growth of the sector in recent years ensuring that small food and drink producers are now more closely than ever associated with Ireland’s food and drink identity.”
Minister for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection Pat Breen TD added, “The success that so many of these companies have achieved reflects the very real interest and willingness amongst Irish consumers to support high-quality food and drink producers and this has been central to the support of some 1,500 jobs that contribute so strongly to Irish communities.
“I would also like to commend the work of the Local Enterprise Office network and Bord Bia for the work they put into the initiative. This is a wonderful example of the capacity of state agencies to work together with the private sector to the benefit of enterprise and of Irish consumers.”
Getting Them Started
Managing Director of SuperValu, Martin Kelleher, said that since SuperValu stores are independently-owned and operated they are able to provide emerging food producers with that “all-important first supermarket listing”.
He added, “This approach has helped suppliers like Jo Davey of Absolute Nutrition move from making nutritional snacks in her kitchen for her friends and relatives to establishing a successful food business with a unique offering that employs local people. This is exactly the type of result that the Food Academy is achieving through its partnership with SuperValu, Bord Bia and Local Enterprise Offices.”
Absolute Nutrition is an award-winning nutritional snack company, supported by Local Enterprise Office South Dublin, which has recorded approximately €85,000 in sales at SuperValu to date this year by tapping into the trend of consumers looking for paleo treats.
© 2018 Checkout – your source for the latest Irish retail news. Article by Aidan O’Sullivan. Click subscribe to sign up for the Checkout print edition.