SuperValu is calling on new and budding local Irish food and drink producers to join this year’s Food Academy programme.
Food Academy, which is run by SuperValu in conjunction with Bord Bia and the Local Enterprise Offices, gives start-up food and drink producers an opportunity to get their products on SuperValu shelves.
The retailer noted that the producers’ products are available 52 weeks of the year in local SuperValu stores.
“By having this guarantee of shelf space, food producers can generate regular income and ensure their businesses thrive,” said Ian Allen, managing director, SuperValu.
The programme, which has been an established part of the Irish food industry for nine years now, supports 1,500 jobs nationwide.
Currently, the Food Academy Programme supports 290 Irish food and drink producers.
“We have so many examples of former Food Academy producers that have gone on to fantastic success, including the Happy Pear, Pizza Sorrento and SynerChi Kombucha,” Allen added.
“If you have a great idea for a food or beverage business, then this is your opportunity to sign up for Food Academy and make your dream a reality. At SuperValu, we are committed to supporting local Irish producers, and we are ready and waiting to nurture new talent this year.”
Food Academy producers have sold a combined €200 million of produce in SuperValu since 2013.
In 2021, there was 6% growth in Food Academy sales, with participants delivering €30 million in retail sales.
Food and drink producers who are in the early stages of developing their businesses and would like to see their products on shelves in SuperValu are strongly encouraged to apply for the programme.
“At Bord Bia, we focus on promoting Irish food, drink and horticulture that is produced to the highest quality standards. Food Academy provides invaluable support to participants to get their small businesses off the ground, and to reach consumers nationwide on SuperValu shelves,” said Gillian Willis, small business development manager, Bord Bia.
“This commitment, as well as the support provided by Food Academy, gives food producers a huge advantage when starting out.”
Five Guest Stars
According to the retailer, as part of its continued support for Food Academy producers, five local food producers have been chosen from the 290 suppliers to be showcased in SuperValu stores nationwide over a three-week period.
Since 3 March, the products from the five chosen producers have been on sale in 150 SuperValu stores across Ireland.
The five companies chosen for nationwide distribution are: King of Kefir, Co. Dublin; the Wild Wok, Co. Dublin; Jaru, Co. Dublin; Dan & Monstro, Co. Dublin; and Kilbeggan Organic Foods, Co. Westmeath.
Commenting on the launch of the five guest stars’ products going nationwide, Carmel Biggane, Food Academy manager, SuperValu, said, “In the Food Academy programme, we aim to offer as much support as possible to our producers.
“This is evident in the nationwide launch of our five guest stars. All of them have created unique and great-tasting products, and this three-week period of nationwide sales will be a big boost to their growing businesses.”
The deadline for applications for this year’s cycle is Friday 8 April 2022, with the programme commencing in September 2022.
Those interested in applying can contact their Local Enterprise Office and request an application form.
“At the Local Enterprise Offices, the Food Academy programme is a vital part of our supports to drive entrepreneurship in the food sector,” added Padraic McElwee, chair of the network of Local Enterprise Offices.
“It is the final element of our food pathway that brings entrepreneurs from idea right through to shelf, from the Digital School of Food, on to Food Starter, and finally Food Academy.”
Participants in Food Academy receive training in food safety, market research and branding, marketing, finance, sustainability, and business development.
For more information on Food Academy, click here.