Maxol noted that it is encouraging all SMEs in the food-and-drink sector to enter the programme, which will give four finalists a chance to win prime shelf space in 72 Maxol stores, and a chance to exhibit their products to 400 convenience retailers.
From the four finalists, one product or producer will be chosen by Maxol as the inaugural Homegrown at Maxol Champion for 2023, at Maxol’s upcoming retail conference, which will be held in April.
“The aim is to give small businesses an opportunity to grow and expand by getting prime shelf space in our company-owned stores in the Republic of Ireland, supported by creative marketing materials, advertising, and mentoring support,” said Maxol CEO Brian Donaldson.
“There’s a real opportunity here for small businesses to scale up, however – if 72 stores is too big an initial step – there is also scope for winners to be showcased on a regional basis.”
Homegrown At Maxol
Developed in partnership with Champion Green, Homegrown at Maxol is the first programme of its kind in the forecourt and convenience retail sector that can offer immediate and tangible support to local businesses across Ireland.
Evelyn Moynihan, who heads up Champion Green, commented, “Homegrown at Maxol is true to our mission – to champion local, sustainable business – and will be the start of something great for four fledgling SMEs in the food-and-drink sector in 2023.
“Growing the local economy needs industry leaders like Maxol to get behind small businesses, and, equally, for consumers to proactively support Irish enterprise.”
Best Of The Best
Maxol noted that the programme invites entries from those operating in a wide range of areas, including ambient, confectionery, deli, hot, fresh, soft drinks, juices and smoothies, teas, health and fitness, milk and dairy-based drinks, and alcohol.
“As long as the product is made in Ireland, we’d love to see it,” said Donaldson, who will shortlist the best of the best along with fellow judges from Maxol and its wholesale partner, BWG, restaurant critic and wine writer Corinna Hardgrave, and Evelyn Moynihan of Champion Green.
“While the judges will review every entry, ultimately, it will be our retailers that will make the final decision on the overall winner,” Donaldson explained.
“In April, they will meet at our annual retail conference, where they will get to sample the finalists’ produce. As local people operating local stores, they understand what their customers want, and are therefore best placed to decide on an overall winner.
“This is about trying to find the next Keogh’s Crisps or Innocent Smoothies, both of which started off as small businesses before going on to become very successful larger entities.”
According to the roadside retailer, the programme is part of Maxol’s strategy to support local indigenous food and drink producers and suppliers, in line with its commitment to expand its range of home-grown produce across its store network.
Homegrown at Maxol is open to food and drink products of all kinds, and applications are open until 31 March. To apply, click here.