SuperValu has announced that it will showcase five local Irish food producers in 150 of its stores nationwide over a three-week period, effective from 23 September.
The five companies chosen for nationwide distribution include Blakes Always Organic from Co Leitrim; Little Thai Kitchen from Co Waterford; Feighery's Farm from Co Tipperary; Hassetts Bakery Co Cork and The Sweet Potato Pizza Company from Dublin.
According to SuperValu, 'the products selected demonstrate the quality and range of choice that the food entrepreneurs of today are creating and delivering to shoppers across the country'.
The Food Academy programme currently supports 290 Irish food and drink producers, making their products available 52 weeks of the year in their local SuperValu stores.
The programme is run in conjunction with Bord Bia and the Local Enterprise office, the retailer said.
Carmel Biggane, Food Academy manager, SuperValu, said: “The Food Academy programme is designed to help small businesses through their journey, from start-up to getting their products on our shelves and growing into thriving businesses.
"We believe in supporting local Irish food and drink producers and we are incredibly proud to have helped so many local producers over the last eight years," she said.
"This nationwide distribution is a testament to the benefits of the Food Academy programme and the high standard of Irish producers that the programme continues to support," Biggane added.
In 2020, there was a 15% growth in SuperValu Food Academy sales, with participants delivering €28 million in retail sales, the retailer said.
Ciara McClafferty, trading director, SuperValu, commented, “At SuperValu, we have always believed in supporting local producers. Great quality and taste is synonymous with this initiative and this is another opportunity to celebrate and elevate the best of Irish food and drink coming out of the Food Academy programme.
"This distribution deal will give these producers access to stores around the country and provide an opportunity to promote their products to new customers nationwide,” she said.
Now in its eighth year, the Food Academy is a unique food business development programme between SuperValu, Bord Bia and the Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs).
Participants in the programme receive training in food safety, market research and branding, marketing, finance, sustainability and business development.