GAA meets DD!

GAA football and the Dragon’s Den TV show may not seem to have much in common at first sight. On the other hand, there are some similarities. They’re both tough and uncompromising. They both have a huge public following. And you have to have that certain something special to come out on top.

Oh yes, and now we’ve brought the two together — or rather SuperValu has. As the 2013 GAA All-Ireland Football Championship campaign kicks off at Croke Park, SuperValu is bringing together some star names with communities and GAA clubs across Ireland. The aim? For fans to pitch, Dragon’s Den-style, for funds for their club.

Community Dragons, is, we think, a fun way to celebrate our long-standing association with the GAA. But beneath the glitz and glamour — supplied by judges Paul Galvin of Kerry, Marty Morrissey of RTE and Gavin Duffy of Dragon’s Den, not to mention a gala dinner at the winning club — there is, we think, a serious point.

SuperValu, like Musgrave as a whole, owes much of its success to the community retail concept. For much of Ireland the GAA is a strong part of the community. That, of course, is why SuperValu is thrilled to be sponsoring the Football Championship for the fourth year in a row. So of course it’s great to give something back, but also to do so in a memorable and innovative way — rather like the contestants Gavin judges on Dragon’s Den. Well, perhaps not all of them…

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Fun that makes a difference

On the face of it the Hurling Club Day hosted by Costello’s Centra was simply a bit of a knockabout for the kids. And why not? If the weather lets us hone our stick skills and have a bit of a laugh, that’s a good thing.

But the first of Centra’s nationwide GAA community events was also a perfect way to showcase a philosophy — well, a number of philosophies, in fact — that Musgrave wholeheartedly supports: encouraging community involvement, promoting healthy lifestyles, backing Irish sport and, of course, having a good time with friends.

And we really do have to hand it to Costello’s Centra and the Kilmessan Hurling Club. Their Family Day on Saturday the 11th of May had something for everyone: a hurling skills session for the kids of course, but also a barbecue, music, prizes and an art event; not a bad way of promoting community spirit, all in all. Certainly the over 100 kids at the skills session seemed noisily enthusiastic about it and — we hope — they learned a thing or two as well.

From Centra’s point of view there was also the serious business of celebrating its fourth year as sponsor of the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship, and Centra was justifiably delighted at continuing its major role in one of the most popularIrish sporting pastimes.

But it wasn’t just about the GAA and Centra — and, to their credit, the organisers understood that from the outset. It was, and is, about community values and helping people to get involved — whether seriously or as a hobby — in sport. It’s a hard act to follow but local Centra stores all over the country are doing just that with Community Club events all summer.

We are, of course, grateful to everyone involved for not only supporting local communities, but for doing it in a fun way, too. But then why shouldn’t doing the right thing be fun?

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Technology — but not just for technology’s sake

The introduction of self scanning — allowing a customer to scan products as they shop — is clearly a good way to speed up checkout for customers and shops alike. But it’s a lot more than that. When Quish’s SuperValu in Ballincollig became the first SuperValu store in Ireland to introduce self-scanning technology for customers it recognised a number of very important factors that make this an even more significant change than it might at first seem.

The evolution of shopping itself is perhaps the most interesting. This is a timely introduction because almost everyone is now comfortable with electronic devices. Therefore, while we would fully expect many customers to still need guidance, the concept of self-scanning is not the puzzling one for most of them that it might once have been.

At the same time the appeal of this offer is not just speed or convenience. Customers will choose goods from the store shelf but will be much more aware of what they are spending. At a tough time for economies across Europe, this is important. It also means those who prefer to shop in person rather than online still get the same access to a running total, ensuring that they are in complete control of their budget.

So self-scanning responds both to a growing customer openness to technology and a continuing need to manage household budgets more carefully. Which is exactly what good retail-based technology — like shopping apps, online shops and reward schemes — should do. It shouldn’t be a gimmick or a nice thing to have. It needs to work — for the shopper and the shop.


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Why we’re excited about ISO 50001

We could tell you that the Musgrave Group’s recent €15 million contract with Electric Ireland will help us achieve ISO 50001. We could add that we think this is one of the most exciting and impressive energy developments of recent times for Musgrave. You could, however, quite reasonably, ask: “What is ISO 50001?”

ISO is the International Organization for Standardization. And it’s big — with a membership of some 160 national standards bodies. So when it says: “ISO only develops standards for which there is a clear market requirement”, you can bet there’s a fair amount of support for that assertion. As for ISO 50001, that’s the standard that provides public and private sector organizations with management strategies to increase energy efficiency, reduce costs and improve energy performance.

And that’s what this contract will help us to achieve. It’s based on the supply of 100% renewable energy and comes with energy efficiency audit support. That means that Musgrave is getting the energy it needs in a large number of sites in the Republic and Northern Ireland, that the supply meets our commitment to efficiency, costs savings and the environment and that Electric Ireland’s advice and support will help us to ensure we keep it that way.

As a rather nice bonus, it fits in with our support for Irish business: this is the first time that Musgrave’s depots and owned stores have aligned themselves with an Irish electricity provider for 100% renewable energy supply.

And, of course, it will help us achieve ISO 50001!


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Thinking on your feet

Musgrave and its partners are both very keen on being proactive: strategy rather than tactics is usually the order of the day, whether it’s rolling out new technology, developing training or sponsoring local community schemes.

But sometimes you have no choice but to react.

For example, Ireland’s weather isn’t famed for tropical heat but it does usually favour good growing conditions. Not this year, however. We’ve had a harsh winter and some pretty tough weather conditions generally. The upshot for livestock famers is the purchase of more fodder than they may have budgeted for.

The welfare and efficiency of farmers are important to us. We rely on the Irish agri-food sector and we have a responsibility to our suppliers and the farming community as a whole. So Musgrave, or more precisely, SuperValu, in partnership with Kepak and Oliver Carty, has responded to this.

These partners have established a €250,000 fund for Irish farmers to purchase fodder. The fund will be administered by the Irish Farmers Association (IFA).

As part of this assistance, SuperValu is offering the help of its vast truck fleet to move fodder from Dublin Port and around the country. An early result of this — in fact the first consignment of fodder from the brand’s €250,000 fodder fund — recently went to the fast-growing town of Carrigaline 14km south of Cork City. It was delivered to Carrigaline Co-op for the local farmers.

We’re proud of this effort by a valued retail partner but the point of mentioning SuperValu’s work with the fodder fund is not just to throw compliments around. It is to remind everyone — including ourselves — that the careful planning that has built up Musgrave and its partner companies over the years is not the only approach to a successful business. Sometimes you have to think on your feet — or, in this case, on your wheels!

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Getting to know you…

We’re big promoters of community initiatives and involvement but — let’s face it — we haven’t got a freehold on the term community and we don’t want one! In fact we’re delighted to support and promote any marvellous concept that celebrates and promotes community. And Street Feast, now in its third year, certainly is a marvellous concept.

The idea of bringing people together with their neighbours is laudable in theory but not that easy in practice — unless, of course, you find something that they all have in common. Hence Street Feast, which was started by a group of volunteers who were passionate about bringing people together through food. You will know about Street Feast, of course; you may even have your own plans for Saturday 23rd June. But we do hope you will take part if you possibly can. See what you can do at

It’s a cause close to our hearts of course. Community is not just a marketing strategy or a positive image choice for Musgrave; it is, in many ways, what we are. Anything that encourages the idea and reality of community is to be commended and supported. Naturally we are proud of the way we and our partners have become involved in the communities that house our businesses and partners’ businesses up and down the length of this island and the UK, but we are also thrilled to give our backing to any initiative that bucks the trend of fragmented neighbourhoods and makes everyone feel part of their community. And Street Feast does just that.

Although of course this year we have, through our retail partner Centra, become directly involved in Street Feast, helping to support and promote Street Feast 2013. As a local retailer at the heart of hundreds of communities across the land Centra is thrilled to be taking part in Street Feast. We hope you — and your neighbours of course — will be taking part too.

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Irish yoghurt: a taste of business success

Dairy products and Ireland are pretty much synonymous terms. However, one dairy product — yoghurt — is a fairly recent addition to this centuries-old tradition. No one is quite sure where it originated, although it reached Western Europe in the 20th century. It’s now pretty much everywhere, which is hardly surprising: not only is nutritionally rich, but it tastes great. A perfect way, you might argue, to ensure that kids get a reasonable intake of protein, calcium, and a number of useful vitamins.

Those sort of qualities make yoghurt something of a win-win for the right business too. Certainly our friends at Glenilen Farm, the successful family dairy business based in West Cork, seem to think so with their new range of kid’s yoghurts in Supervalu.

Glenilen has been producing yoghurts, desserts and creams on the family farm using the milk of their own dairy herd and other natural ingredients for some while. That has an obvious attraction for SuperValu, and not just because of its — and Musgrave’s — commitment to local production. If retailers like SuperValu help small-scale Irish food entrepreneurs to find a market for their output, those entrepreneurs can start building up to the economies of scale that could take them even to markets even further afield, with all that means for Irish business, jobs and growth.

We’re not being starry-eyed about this, of course. It takes time. And quality; we won’t sell something just because it’s Irish. But likewise, we know that a lot of small and growing producers are offering very high quality product that might be overlooked without our help. That’s why been working with Glenilen for more than ten years — a tribute, we like to think, to our ability to spot and nurture real local talent and Glenilen’s ability to make great products.

Together we have seen Glenilen grow. Who knows what other entrepreneurs are out there bringing local expertise to products that have an international market? Wherever they are, we aim to find them. Ireland’s future may depend on them.


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