300 jobs created in Irish food startups as a result of listings in SuperValu stores supported by Bord Bia, Local Enterprise Offices and SuperValu

Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine Simon Coveney, T.D. today at the Cork and Kerry Food Forum announced that food business startups plan to create 300 new jobs within 12 months, after receiving listings with their local SuperValu stores.

The small food businesses secured the listings following their participation in the Food Academy Start programme, a collaboration between Bord Bia, SuperValu and Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs). Despite their size, companies have been able to secure listings with SuperValu.

As stores are independently owned and operated, SuperValu retailers are able to source directly from local suppliers on a one-to-one basis, enabling these start-up food businesses to gain their first retail listings in stores in their community. SuperValu is also working with the companies involved to get their products listed in a cluster of nearby stores in order to set them on a long term path to supplying their network of 223 stores.

Speaking at the Cork and Kerry Food Forum at City Hall Cork, a showcase of food producers from Cork & Kerry, Minister Coveney stated: “Ireland’s artisan and specialty food industry is playing a unique and important role in our economic recovery. This is evidenced today by the dynamic growth in food startups and food production companies. The opportunity to support and drive this growth has been leveraged by development agencies including Bord Bia and Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) in partnership with SuperValu, to ensure that food businesses in Ireland are equipped with the appropriate information, advice and skills to be shelf ready. These planned 300 jobs are predominantly in enterprises employing fewer than five people, mostly in start-up food businesses in urban and rural areas, and will further enhance the reputation of our food sector nationally and internationally.”

The announcement was made at the largest artisan food market, the Cork and Kerry Food Forum, which hosted a trade conference attended by over 400 food industry representatives, a showcase and food market with tastings and cookery demonstrations for more than 1,000 members of the public, who turned up to support local producers.

Speaking at the event, Martin Kelleher, SuperValu Managing Director, said: “At SuperValu, we are delighted to announce, that through our partnership with Bord Bia and the Local Enterprise Offices on the Food Academy Start programme, more than 200 small food businesses will work with their local SuperValu retailers, resulting in sales worth €5 million in the next year and leading to the creation of 300 jobs.”

“This initiative is a natural fit for SuperValu as our stores are independently owned by retailers who have developed a tailored offer for their community. As a result, they can offer products that are not available in supermarket chains as our retail partners have the freedom to purchase directly from local suppliers.”

“By matching our stores with start-up food businesses in their area, we have been able to assist with the creation of three hundred jobs across Ireland. This underlines the local multiplier effect of the community retail model, as every time someone shops in our stores, their money goes back into the local economy.”

Welcoming the jobs announcement today, Aidan Cotter, Chief Executive, Bord Bia commented “Selection and participation in the Food Academy Start programme provides artisan food producers with direct access to expertise in branding, market research, purchasing, packaging and retail distribution. This invaluable insight helps support small companies through the challenging initial phases of growth and greatly enhances their chances of market success. It is encouraging to see the positive and tangible benefits of the programme resulting in job creation at a local and national level and delivering sales of €5 million.”

“The Local Enterprise Offices have been working closely with food startups and producers on the ground, to directly support these micro-enterprises and help them to grow”, explained Joe Burke, LEO South Cork. “Today’s Food Forum brings together food producers, Bord Bia, our retail partners SuperValu and the general public, to join together in a celebration of our thriving artisan industry.”

Jason Colbert, Managing Director of Bitesize, added: “The Food Academy Start programme has given me a route to market which otherwise would not have been open to me. The expert retail knowledge and food marketing expertise which SuperValu, Bord Bia and the Local Enterprise Boards provide to businesses as part of the programme are key to helping small food businesses get off their feet and grow sustainably. To have the opportunity to work with and supply the SuperValu stores in my area is great for my business and as a result I’ll be employing 5 to 6 more staff members to meet these new orders.”

SuperValu serves over 2.6 million customers every week and now has 223 stores nationwide. 75% of everything on SuperValu’s shelves is sourced or produced in Ireland. SuperValu sources locally wherever possible and purchases almost €2 billion worth of goods from Irish suppliers which help to sustain 30,000 jobs in the Irish economy. SuperValu was recently recognised as the best promoter of Irish products ahead of any other grocery retailer, according to the ‘Where We Shop 2014’ research study by Checkout and Ignite Research.

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SuperValu recognised as best supporter of Irish producers

SuperValu, the leading Irish grocery retailer, has been recognised as the best supporter of Irish producers, according to a study by Checkout and Ignite Research. Of the 3,000 respondents surveyed for the ‘Where We Shop 2014’ report, one third of shoppers named SuperValu as the best promoter of Irish products, ahead of any other grocery retailer.

SuperValu is the number one supporter of the Irish food industry and its sourcing policy means that it buys Irish whenever possible. This equates to an annual contribution of almost €2 billion to the economy every year, helping to sustain 30,000 jobs in the agrifood sector. Due to SuperValu’s unique business model where stores are owned by entrepreneurs in the community, an additional €80 million is also spent sourcing directly from local suppliers.

The research findings reflect SuperValu’s sourcing credentials such as stocking 100% fresh Irish meat which is born, bred and reared in Ireland and 100% National Dairy Council approved milk for its own brand milk range. SuperValu has also demonstrated its commitment to Irish suppliers through a range of initiatives such as becoming the first retailer in Ireland to adopt the IdentiGEN National DNA Traceback Programme for Bacon and its role in the Food Academy programme, which is run in conjunction with Bord Bia and the County Enterprise Boards to support and nurture start up food businesses.

Commenting on the research findings, Martin Kelleher, SuperValu Managing Director, said: “Irish and local is at the heart of the SuperValu brand and company ethos. These are real credentials, engrained into a way of working; they are genuine, not a convenient tag line. This belief in local enables SuperValu to deliver high quality Irish products which in turn support local suppliers and communities. By purchasing from local suppliers, our retailers offer a shopping experience that is not only exceptional quality and value, but is different and better and tailored to the local community.”

“As the number one supporter of the Irish food industry, SuperValu is committed to supporting over 600 Irish suppliers. The majority of suppliers have been working with SuperValu not just for years, but for decades. We feel a great sense of pride in being able to support local businesses and keep money and jobs in the community. It is also very important to us as it offers us a real competitive advantage over rivals in our area and highlights that we are truly committed to the Irish economy, as opposed to sticking tricolours on advertising, packaging and in-store.”

“Our customers love to see local suppliers in our store as it reassures them that by shopping with us, they are supporting jobs in other local enterprises. In fact a lot of our customers would have a connection with these businesses through work and even family. We always highlight local products with signs, as customers like to buy locally sourced products. It also provides greater choice for our customers and allows them to purchase local traditional goods and sample food of their own area.”

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Celebration and inspiration

Building a business that is seen as one of the most visionary and people-focused of companies in Northern Ireland is quite a tall order, so it’s an honour for one of Musgrave’s divisions to be recognised as just such a company. It’s also good to know that the recognition comes from a well-known, established and respected source.

To put it another way, our colleagues in Musgrave Retail Partners Northern Ireland (MPRNI) have won an award at the 2014 Irish News Workplace & Employment Awards. This is the eighth time these awards have been given out and this year’s event, which took place at Titanic Belfast on the 19th of June, saw hundreds of entries from companies of every sort across Northern Ireland.

Before we celebrate this success – just a bit – we should perhaps think about that number. It’s gratifying to know that, at a time when economic downturn has hit businesses as much as individuals, there are so many companies still investing in employee training and development and making the workplace a worthwhile and inspiring place to be. So our first duty is to cheer on all the winners in all the categories (which you can see here: http://www.irishnews.com/wea2014/winner_2014.html) for not cutting corners when it comes to developing and nurturing employees.

Equally, however, we really should let you know that MRPNI won the award for Managing Talent in the Large Organisation category, competing against finalists including Coca-Cola and Survitec Group. MRPNI was also a finalist in the Right Place to Work category.

The judges described MRPNI as being a clear winner due to its innovative and effective approach to managing fresh and experienced talent at all levels across the business.

It’s not the first time MPRNI has won this award either. That’s quite gratifying too but, as we always like to remind ourselves, every year should be treated like the first time. Last year’s awards are only meaningful if they inspire us to do as well or even better next time.

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You be the judge!

Awards. You can’t fail to notice them, you should aspire to them, but you can’t let winning them turn your head. Serving customers is about getting on with things and not relaxing and having a good time, after all. However, we couldn’t resist telling you about this one, because, in a way, relaxing and having a good time really is what it’s all about. At least that’s how we like to think of ice cream.

Why ice cream? Because one of the SuperValu 500ml ice cream flavours has won an award! Actually the SuperValu range of ice cream has, since launch, won a few awards, notably in Ireland. Cookies and Cream picked up Silver at the Blas na hEirinn Awards last year, Lemon Crunch was awarded one Star at the Great Taste Awards 2013, and the overall 500ml range, of which they are both part, won at the Taste of Cavan Awards 2013.

This time, however, it’s the turn of the Caramel Biscuit 500ml – a favourite of quite a few of us round here – which has won Bronze at the British Frozen Food Federation (BFFF) Awards 2014, which took place on Thursday 12th June at the Hilton on London’s Park Lane.

There’s a serious bit to all this celebration, of course, and that is to point out that this is quite an achievement not just for us and a relatively new line of ice cream but for a very Irish enterprise: our partner in the ice cream business, Lakeland Diaries, which manufactures and supplies the SuperValu range, is from Cavan.

How big an achievement? Well, Lakeland’s ice cream won from a record number of entries judged by consumers on behalf of an organisation – the BFFF – that has over 300 members in all areas of the frozen food business (and if you want to see just how big that business is, have a quick look at the awards page: http://bfff.co.uk/annual-awards-4/).

The less serious bit is to take advantage of some lovely weather (at the time of writing) to remind you that SuperValu ice cream 500ml range also includes Cookies & Cream, Rocky Road, Madagascan Vanilla, Salted Caramel and Mint Crisp. Why not see if you agree with the award judges or prefer one of the other flavours? Go on – you be the judge!

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What it all comes down to

First and foremost, in today’s blog we’d like to congratulate Kate Walsh. She’s the manager of Herlihy’s Centra Fermoy. But she’s also International Store Manager of the Year, according to NACS Insight, which is an amazing achievement.

Readers will, we hope, forgive our excitement. NACS stands for the National Association of Convenience Stores. Insight is short for Insight Research, which is a research business specialising in the convenience and fuel retail industry. We at Musgrave are delighted that one of our partners – Centra – has impressed these combined industry heavyweights so much that they’ve found a Centra store worthy of a top honour (delivered, incidentally on June 4 at London’s St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel).

Equally important, though, is the fact that this is a great illustration of how modern store managers learn their trade. Manager often rise up through the ranks (as Kate did with Herlihy), gaining experience along the way in various aspects of the business. But Kate also studied food business and completed a trainee management programme with Musgrave as part of a work placement opportunity – and she has a diploma in human resources.

That’s quite a range of skills – but these days it’s not so unusual. The convenience business has long been about much more than simply opening a shop in a promising area; knowledge of people management, as well as food and grocery management, is very important these days.

That’s also proven by Serena Guihen. She was highly commended at the same event for her performance at Centra Moycullen. She turned the business around, transforming the workplace into an enthusiastic, energetic and willing team.

Making the business work is the bottom line of course. All the skills and training in the world mean very little if the people who walk through the door aren’t impressed. And that means you.

So it’s good to get a thumbs-up from people in your own business. Kate and Serena are certainly the sort of people we like working with. But what matters much more is that they’re the sort of people you like shopping with. That really is what it all comes down to.

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Musgrave MarketPlace invests €8 million in new multi-temperature delivery fleet

State of the art fleet provides nationwide coverage and reduces carbon footprint

Musgrave MarketPlace, Ireland’s leading retail and foodservice wholesaler, today announced a major upgrade of its delivery fleet. The €8 million investment will see Musgrave MarketPlace introduce 55 new multi-temperature trucks to its fleet, significantly reducing the company’s carbon footprint and facilitating high-frequency nationwide coverage.

The new multi-temperature fleet will allow Musgrave MarketPlace to deliver ambient, frozen and fresh food liquor and non-food products in a single delivery. The company’s vehicles supply products to all of its ten MarketPlace cash and carry outlets nationwide. In addition to its 6 day per week delivery service, the company also offers a customer collect and online service.

Commenting on the announcement, Paul Kerrigan, Director Musgrave MarketPlace said, “This is the largest investment made by Musgrave MarketPlace in our delivery fleet to date, underlining our commitment to ensuring a timely, quality service to our customers. It means that we can now offer Ireland’s widest wholesale range of over 12,000 products, to our 40,000 customers nationwide with an even greater efficiency.”

Barry O’Neill, Supply Chain Director Musgrave MarketPlace said, “The improvements to our network are a very important part of delivering on our commitment to customers in providing unrivalled quality and value. We are continually investing to deliver on our brand promise of ‘first for value, first for choice and first for service’.”

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€14 million worth of Superquinn sausages to be sold in 2014

SuperValu, the leading Irish grocery retailer, has announced that it expects to sell €14 million worth of Superquinn sausages in 2014 after making four new products available this week in response to popular demand. In addition to the popular Superquinn sausage 12 pack, SuperValu stores have now also begun to sell Superquinn sausage meat, Superquinn pork jumbo and cocktail sausages and Superquinn pork sausage burgers.

Since the introduction of the Superquinn sausage to SuperValu stores last October, sales have doubled and thirty tonnes of sausages are sold each week.  As a result of the four new lines being introduced, this is expected to rise to thirty five tonnes per week. All pork raw materials are 100% Irish.

Commenting on the announcement, Martin Kelleher, SuperValu Managing Director, said: “Sales of the Superquinn sausage continue to go from strength to strength and the recent mention by Liam Payne on stage during the One Direction concert last Friday shows just how famous they are. We have kept the recipe a closely guarded secret, however, in response to consumer insight we have expanded the range to offer consumers choice and versatility.”

“Since going on sale nationwide, shoppers across the country have been eager to get a taste of the famous Superquinn sausage. This has also provided a great boost for ABP Ireland, who produce the Superquinn Sausage for us, as they created 8 new jobs in order to cater for demand at its processing facility at ABP Cahir, Cahir, Co. Tipperary.”

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