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Food Academy participants, The Happy Pear, The Cool Bean Company and Nobo ice-cream

Small producers who have been participating in and have completed the Food Academy Start and Advance programmes are now being rolled out to 221 SuperValu stores nationwide which will result in sales of over €10 million in 2015.  The programme which is a joint initiative between SuperValu, Bord Bia and the Local Enterprise Office Network was established in 2014 to support small food companies in Ireland.

Over the last 12 months, the Food Academy programme has been working with hundreds of small food producers around the country, to have had their products trialled in their local SuperValu stores. Now 155 food start-ups will see their products grow sustainably across 221 SuperValu stores. A huge variety of innovative products feature in this range from nettle syrup to dairy free ice cream, free from breads, breakfast combo puddings to authentic spices and even a “healthy” chocolate.

Commenting on the announcement, Eamon Howell, Trading Director for SuperValu said: “We are delighted that 155 small food producers who have graduated from our Food Academy programme are now listed across our full store network.  This is a real endorsement to the Food Academy initiative which allows us to bring community based food start- ups to market and provides them with the potential to grow their businesses even further, providing employment for themselves, members of their community and for some – family. It is great to nurture the energy and passion of these entrepreneurial producers and harness this into producing a range of products that we, as the number one Irish retailer, are proud to stock on our shelves

We are currently working with an additional 250 small food producers in our Food Academy Start programme where we are providing them with the tools, mentoring, advice and expertise to trial their product in their local stores.  SuperValu’s unique retail model with stores independently owned and operated means that owners can purchase directly from local suppliers. As a result, retailers can develop a tailored offer for their local community and shoppers will often find products in their local SuperValu that is not stocked in other supermarkets.  By matching SuperValu stores with start-up food business in their area through the Food Academy programme is providing a real boost for local economies throughout Ireland”.

At the launch, Rachel Nolan from Nobo ice cream said “We joined the food academy programme last year  as a small producer and today we are in 221 stores nationwide. The programme certainly helped us develop our product, identify the pitfalls early and grow with the confidence. The support from SuperValu is genuine and vitally important for the growth of small Irish producers like us.

SuperValu serves over 2.6 million customers every week and 75% of everything on SuperValu’s shelves is sourced or produced in Ireland. SuperValu continues to source locally wherever possible and purchases almost €2 billion worth of goods from Irish suppliers which helps to sustain 30,000 jobs in the Irish economy.

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