Lily Chen and Dom McGroddy of Lily's Tea
SuperValu, Ireland’s leading retailer, is calling on Louth’s budding food and drink producers to join this year’s Food Academy Programme. This is seen as a huge opportunity for those who have a fantastic idea for a food or beverage product but need support from experts in the industry to launch their business.
Currently the Food Academy Programme supports six local food and drink producers in Louth including; Coole Farm and Jack Cody’s Brewery. Their products are available 52 weeks of the year in their local SuperValu stores. Louth-based Food Academy producers sold a combined €249,456 in retail sales in SuperValu last year.
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 programme, which has been an established part of the Irish food industry for nine years now, supports 1,500 jobs nationwide.
In 2021, there was a 6 per cent growth in Food Academy sales. Food Academy producers have sold a combined €200 million of produce in SuperValu since 2013. Ian Allen, Managing Director, SuperValu said: “Food Academy, run by SuperValu in collaboration with Bord Bia and the Local Enterprise Offices, helps new businesses to grow and get the support they need.
“With Food Academy, producers are on shelves 52 weeks of the year. By having this guarantee of shelf space, food producers can generate regular income and ensure their businesses thrive. “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. 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 and drinks producers, who are in the early stages of developing their business and would like to see their products on shelves in SuperValu are strongly encouraged to apply for the programme.
The deadline for application for this year’s intake is Friday, April 8th 2022, with the programme commencing in September 2022. Those interested in applying can contact their Local Enterprise Office for application details. Participants in Food Academy receive training in food safety, market research and branding, marketing, finance, sustainability, and business development.
Padraic McElwee, chair of the network of Local Enterprise Offices added: “At the Local Enterprise Offices, the Food Academy Programme is a vital part of our supports to drive entrepreneurship in the food sector. 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. "We have a fantastic history of food entrepreneurs and businesses in Ireland and we must continue to support this sector so if you are a new entrepreneur in the food or drinks sector we would urge you to get involved.”
Gillian Willis, Small Business Development Manager, Bord Bia said: “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. This commitment as well as the support provided by Food Academy gives food producers a huge advantage when starting out. We in Bord Bia will continue to provide comprehensive market knowledge, consumer insight and branding expertise to Food Academy participants nationwide.”
For more information on Food Academy, please visit: https://supervalu.ie/real-people/food-academy-programme.
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