SuperValu has announced that it is celebrating 10 years of the Food Academy programme, with €230 million of Food Academy products sold in SuperValu stores over the last decade.
Food Academy producers are continuing to perform strongly, supporting 1,500 jobs through the programme which offers considerable benefits to both local communities and the national economy, the retailer noted.
The Food Academy programme is a tailored business development programme for early to mid-stage producers, supported by SuperValu, Bord Bia and the Local Enterprise Office.
Speaking on the 10th anniversary of Food Academy, Ian Allen, managing director, SuperValu, said that the Food Academy is a fantastic collaboration between SuperValu, Bord Bia and the Local Enterprise Office which has gone from strength to strength over the last 10 years, enhancing and supporting the growth of Ireland’s food and drink sector.
"At SuperValu, we are passionate about food and supporting the development of Irish food and drink producers in local communities across Ireland - having proudly done so since 1968," he added.
'The Food Academy programme is a fantastic opportunity for small businesses to gain direct access to leading expertise to help them on every step of their journey - from start-up producer to securing their products on supermarket shelves."
Local Food Producers
More than 1,000 local food producers have completed the Food Academy programme since its inception, with over 300 Food Academy producers regularly stocked in SuperValu stores across the country, 52 weeks of the year.
The initiative provides training in food safety, market research, branding, marketing, finance, sustainability, and business development through a range of dedicated workshops. Food Academy producers also have the opportunity to feature their products on SuperValu shelves nationwide, giving them real, tangible opportunities for growth in the market.
This milestone anniversary comes as new research by Bord Bia and B&A reveal that 90% of consumers choose to buy locally produced food, with more than 2 in 3 (68%) buying this category at least weekly.
The main driver for purchasing locally produced food is a desire to support the local economy and jobs. Secondary drivers are that locally produced food is fresher, better quality and good for the environment. Consumers are seeking out locally produced products, with more than half of consumers expecting to buy locally produced products in the next six months.
This year, 23 new Food Academy entrants are launching a wide variety of products including naturally leavened sourdough bread, low sugar fruit jam, organic microgreens & eggs, as well as products utilising spent grain to make protein snacks, and used coffee grinds to create a tan-removing soap.