World Champion Rob Heffernan Gets into the Pink with Centra’s “Let’s Walk” Campaign

Over 250 Centra stores hosting walks across Ireland to raise money for Irish Cancer Society’s Action Breast Cancer programme

Irish athletics star and current World Champion walker Rob Heffernan launched Centra’s “Let’s Walk” initiative which aims to get thousands of people walking in their local community to raise much needed funds for the Irish Cancer Society’s Action Breast Cancer programme this October.

Over 250 Centra stores are hosting a local walk this October and Rob Heffernan is calling on the people of Ireland to get their walking shoes on for this great cause! Centra is also selling a limited edition pink reflective vest in-store for Breast Cancer Awareness month, retailing at €5 with all net proceeds going to the charity. This neon pink high visibility vest is perfect for those darker winter evenings; ensuring safety and style, and all for a great cause!

Every county in Ireland will be taking part in these pink walks which will see thousands of men, women and children pound the pavements to raise money for what is now the most common cancer in women in Ireland, affecting over 2,800 women every year. All funds raised by Centra during Breast Cancer Awareness month will go directly to fund essential services provided by the Society, including information, advice and support services for women throughout the country who have been affected by breast cancer. This fantastic partnership between Centra and the Irish Cancer Society’s Action Breast Cancer programme is now in its 5th year, having raised over €1.4 million to date.

World Champion walker, Rob Heffernan, will be taking part in two Centra pink walks in October giving the people of Ireland to walk alongside a world champion athlete! On Sunday 19th October Rob will be in his native county Cork as he participates in the pink walk from Herlihy’s Centra Bishopstown at 3pm. On Monday 27th October, Rob will be in Wicklow as he joins the people of Baltinglass for Fisher’s Centra pink walk, kicking off at 11am.

Commenting at the launch, Irish athlete, Rob Heffernan, said “I am absolutely thrilled to be part of the Centra ‘Let’s Walk’ initiative this year. Walking is a sport which is obviously very close to my heart and I want to help encourage as many people as possible to get their runners on and walk for this wonderful cause that touches the lives of many people across the country. Not only will you be raising awareness for breast cancer in Ireland and contributing to the fundraising but it is also a great way to stay active and get involved with your local community.”

Martin Kelleher, Managing Director of Centra, added, “We are really looking forward to this year’s ‘Let’s Walk’ campaign to get communities across Ireland walking for the Irish Cancer Society’s Action Breast Cancer programme. To date we have raised over €1.4 million and we hope to add substantially to that figure in 2014. Our pink walks continue to grow in popularity, with more local Centra’s rallying together their local community this year than ever before for this great cause.”

To be a part of the ‘Let’s Walk’ campaign and sign-up to one of the pink walks taking place this October, visit your local Centra store for more details or check out to help raise funds for the Irish Cancer Society’s’ Action Breast Cancer programme.

John McCormack, CEO of the Irish Cancer Society added, “We sincerely appreciate the support from all the Centra stores across Ireland, and the work that they do in helping to raise awareness of breast cancer in Ireland in their communities. Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in Ireland and we would not be able to provide the great service that we do without the considerable support that Centra offer us.”

The Irish Cancer Society’s Action Breast Cancer is Ireland’s leading provider of breast cancer information and support, reaching over 25,000 women who are concerned about breast cancer and breast health every year. The Society strives to ensure that everyone affected by breast cancer has the support they need, when they need it. Anyone concerned about breast cancer or breast health should call the Irish Cancer Society’s National Cancer Helpline on Freefone 1800 200 700.

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Food for thought

Pictured at the launch of SuperValu’s ‘All Star’ line up for the National Ploughing Championships is ‘Mini Bernard Brogan’ (Harley Smith, aged four), ‘Mini Paul Galvin’ (Rocco Kelly, aged four) and ‘Mini Aidan O’Shea’ (Noah Lynch, aged two)

Today we’d like to chat about the recent National Ploughing Championships. Of course there were the fun bits when Dublin star Bernard Brogan, distinguished Mayo footballer Aidan O’Shea and retired Kerry player Paul Galvin appeared, not to mention the hunt for Ireland’s Most Stylish Farmer and the National Ploughing Championships’ Best Dressed Welly competition.

However, the show also highlighted SuperValu Food Academy producers as part of a programme that aims to support food start-ups hoping to secure their first retail listing. Now, regular readers of this column will be aware that SuperValu has signed a number of contracts over the years, local, regional and countrywide, with producers of – well, where do we start? Pates, terrines, yoghurt and spirits are just a few locally produced items that come to mind. As for where the next ones will come from, 15 SuperValu Food Academy food start-ups showed off their products at the Championships, where they had access to somewhere in the region of 200,000 samplers. Some SuperValu Food Academy producers even supplied recipes for a demonstration hosted by celebrated chef, Kevin Dundon.

The result of all this activity could be that some names you may not know yet will be coming to a SuperValu near you soon, bringing excellent food or drink from local companies with a flair for taste, quality and presentation. We do hope you’ll watch out for them – and support them.

And beyond that? Could a small producer from your area be showing off new meat, dairy, veg or other offerings at one of these shows or even on SuperValu shelves some time in the future, boosting Ireland’s economy, jobs and reputation? Now there’s food for thought.

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Musgrave CEO Chris Martin addresses Institute of Directors’ Autumn Lunch

Chris Martin, CEO Musgrave Group addressed the Institute of Directors’ Autumn Lunch on Thursday 25th September on the subject of Food Leadership – the role of the indigenous grocery retail sector in supporting Ireland’s reputation as a world class centre for food and food innovation.

Speaking on the importance of the agri-food industry to Ireland’s economy, he said,

“The hard work of the last few years is really bearing fruit. The economic indicators and commentary on Ireland are much more positive. Only on Monday we had the headline in the FT: ‘the Irish economic recovery a shining light for others’. This narrative drives well founded optimism and resonates well, especially when you speak to people looking in from abroad. In the UK food accounts for 1 in 7 of all jobs. When we do the same sums for Ireland and look at the entire food chain we come to a figure of one in every six jobs. The food chain also accounts for more SME’s than any other sector.”

Click here to read the full speech

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An Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD Launches Second Food Academy Start Programme – 150 Jobs To Be Created

An Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD today launched the 2nd Food Academy Start Programme at the National Ploughing Championships, encouraging start-up food producers to register for the programme. According to organisers, nearly 200 Irish small food businesses will benefit from the 2nd Food Academy Start programme resulting in the creation of a further 150 jobs after the participants secure retail sales worth €5 million with SuperValu.

Food Academy Start is a joint initiative by Bord Bia, SuperValu and the Local Enterprise Offices to assist small food producers grow their business from start-up to their first retail listing through a workshop and mentoring system. Today, An Taoiseach Enda Kenny met some of the 85 graduate food businesses that have completed the Food Academy Start programme and as a result, secured their first retail listings with 133 SuperValu stores. These companies will continue to be supported by the Food Academy in order to further grow their sales and progress to become provincial and national suppliers.

SuperValu is able to afford the participating companies the unique position of starting their journey on a small scale, as a result of its community retailer model, whereby stores are independently owned. This allows store owners to source directly from local suppliers, allowing them to stock locally produced artisan foods that are not available in other supermarkets.

Commenting at the National Ploughing Championships, An Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD said: “The Food Academy Start programme is great news for the 200 small companies who will have a chance to participate and grow their business as the 85 companies here today can attest. I commend Bord Bia, SuperValu and the Local Enterprise Offices all over the country for collaborating on this important initiative which will create 150 jobs. The Government is highly supportive of the agri-food sector as it is Ireland’s largest indigenous industry and will continue to be as we work to secure economic recovery by prioritising job creation and investment.”

Martin Kelleher, SuperValu Managing Director, added: “At SuperValu, we are committed to quality and supporting local suppliers – that’s why Food Academy, which gives small businesses a big start, is so important to us. Our independent retail model, whereby stores are independently owned and operated by local entrepreneurs, means that our retailers are uniquely positioned to support small food start-ups as they grow their business. Food Academy participants were able to start their journey by supplying their local SuperValu store and now we are helping them grow to the point where they can supply more stores in their local community. As a result of this growth, these food start-ups will create a further 150 jobs in the year ahead, a vital boost for communities around the country.”

Aidan Cotter, Chief Executive of Bord Bia, commented “With revenues of €475 million, small food businesses play an important role in Ireland’s agri-food sector by enhancing our reputation for dynamic, high-quality food. Food Academy Start is a unique opportunity to help cultivate sustainable small food companies by providing them with access to expertise in branding, market research, business development and distribution. This combination of both commercial and marketing insight assists in supporting producers through the challenging initial phases of growth and strengthens their chances of future success. It is encouraging to see the tangible benefits of the programme to date in delivering sales of €5 million.”

Vincent Reynolds, Head of the Local Enterprise Office, said: “We are looking forward to working with the next wave of Food Academy Start participants to help them establish their food businesses. Anyone who is interested in this fantastic opportunity should contact their Local Enterprise Office to find out how they can take part in this collaboration between industry and State agencies, which will ultimately boost employment in communities across the country.”

SuperValu serves over 2.6 million customers every week and has 222 stores nationwide. 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 help to sustain 30,000 jobs in the Irish economy.

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SuperValu unveils ‘All Star’ line-up for National Ploughing Championships

SuperValu is building an entire village to showcase its commitment to growing local communities and plans to celebrate the very best fresh food available from its good food family of over 600 Irish, Signature Tastes and Food Academy producers over the three day event. SuperValu’s sourcing policy reflects a real commitment to buy from local producers and local farmers whenever possible, making SuperValu the number one retail supporter of the Irish food industry.

Placing the spotlight firmly on the best taste of local, SuperValu has enlisted the help of Dublin star Bernard Brogan, distinguished Mayo footballer Aidan O’Shea and retired Kerry player Paul Galvin to take to the stage of the SuperValu Village Green with celebrated Irish chef, Kevin Dundon to host demonstrations that feature recipes from SuperValu Food Academy producers – a programme which aims to support food start-ups to secure their first retail listing.

SuperValu plans an exciting three day schedule confirmed which will include:

  • fifteen of the SuperValu Food Academy food startups will have their products showcased at the event, with over 200,000 consumers able to sample their food
  • health and nutrition questions and answer session with MC Marty Morrissey and our GAA heroes on how to bring championship health to your dinner table in the GAA zone, which celebrates SuperValu’s sponsorship of the Senior Football Championship
  • SuperValu’s Search for Ireland’s Most Stylish Farmer with Aidan O’Shea and Paul Galvin
  • the National Ploughing Championship’s ‘Best Dressed Welly’ judged by Bernard Brogan in the TidyTowns zone, which celebrates SuperValu’s twenty three year sponsorship of the national, community pride competition

Commenting at the launch, SuperValu Managing Director, Martin Kelleher said; “We are very proud to be at the National Ploughing Championships showcasing our commitment to local communities. We believe that supporting local entrepreneurs – whether they be retailers, suppliers or famers – is the key to sustaining the Irish economy. What makes SuperValu different is our business model. By shopping with SuperValu, more money goes back into the Irish economy as our retail partners source from local producers and use the services of businesses in their community. A fact SuperValu is very proud of.”

Today’s announcement is a perfect example of this in practice. This money is in turn reinvested locally, helping to sustain jobs and creating a virtuous circle of economic activity.

SuperValu ‘Believes in Local’ and supports communities across Ireland every day. International research has shown that shopping with independently owned stores like SuperValu means up to three times more money goes back into the local economy, supporting local jobs and local causes in towns and villages up and down the country.

SuperValu Growing Local Communities

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Modern artisans

Lets face it, if you wanted to come up with a great name for an Irish pate and terrine producer you could do a lot worse than On the Pig’s Back. That’s the lovely Irish saying Ar mhuin na muice, by the way, although good luck and prosperity are the message of both languages.

On the other hand, you’d have to come up with more than just a name to outdo the real-life company called On the Pig’s Back. It has just won the Small Producer of the Year award at the Irish Food Quality Awards. Sponsored by SuperValu, the award is designed to celebrate artisan food and drink in Ireland and to give small companies, like On the Pig’s Back, a chance to sell through some of SuperValu’s 222 stores nationwide and make use of the sales and marketing expertise the retailer can offer.

Mind you, modern artisan food production and distribution is a fairly sophisticated business these days. Along with its stall at the English Market and a deli in Douglas, On the Pig’s Back has a very nifty website ( – what else?) and an online shop. And a recent deal signed with SuperValu will add two jobs and help with growth, as well of course as help to extend the range across the entire SuperValu network.

At this point we usually like to remind people of SuperValu’s commitment to Irish suppliers, and the importance to the economy and jobs of shopping in locally owned stores that have a policy of purchasing from local suppliers. It’s certainly helpful. Isabelle, whom some of you will have met at the stall and the deli, is delighted with the access to new markets and skills the deal gives her and her company. But she and her fellow workers have already proved that they have something important and original to offer and have put in a lot of hard graft in getting it right and spreading the word. That’s what got them noticed in the first place.

Which, in case you were thinking of having a go, is what being a successful modern artisan is all about – not just being a producer but having a bit of business sense, marketing ability and social media savvy. And a wonderful product too, of course. From personal experience we can recommend not just the On the Pig’s Back pates and terrines but the cheeses. If you’re in Cork, check out the stall or deli. If not, check out your local SuperValu in the coming months.

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On the Pigs Back’ signs deal with SuperValu worth €100,000, creating two new jobs

‘On the Pigs Back’ scoop Small Producer of the Year Award at Irish Quality Food Awards

SuperValu, the leading Irish grocery retailer, announced today that is has signed a deal with ‘On the Pigs Back’, a Cork-based pate and terrine producer, worth €100,000. The deal will see two new jobs created at the company and further capital investment, as they extend their range across the entire SuperValu network.

‘On the Pigs Back’ were selected as winners of the ‘Small Producer of the Year’ award at the Irish Food Quality Awards last night. Sponsored by SuperValu, the award is designed to celebrate artisan food and drink in Ireland. The company will now have the opportunity to supply a wider range of their gourmet products to SuperValu’s 222 stores nationwide and will benefit from significant sales and marketing support from the retailer.

Commenting on the announcement, Martin Kelleher, Managing Director SuperValu said, “We are delighted to present this award to ‘On the Pigs Back’ and congratulate them on their title of ‘Small Producer of the Year’. This opportunity will now enable ‘On the Pigs Back’ to grow from a small local supplier to a business supplying products across our entire SuperValu network, demonstrating our commitment to Irish suppliers.”

”International research shows that by shopping in locally owned stores, like SuperValu, three times more money is invested back into the local economy. One of the ways this is achieved is due to our unique retail model, whereby stores are independently owned and operated by local retailers, and retailers have the freedom to purchase directly from local suppliers. A food start-up can begin its relationship with a local SuperValu store, before eventually growing their business across our entire store network. As a result, you will often find products in your local SuperValu that you cannot buy in other supermarkets.”

Isabelle Sheridan of ‘On the Pigs Back’ said, “Working with local SuperValu retailers has given me a route to market which otherwise would not have been open to me. My relationship with SuperValu has provided me with the skillset required to expand my business and create jobs in the process. We are really excited as we embark on this next chapter and are delighted that SuperValu customers will have the opportunity to try more quality ‘On the Pigs Back’ products over the coming months.”

SuperValu serves over 2.6 million customers every week and now has 222 stores nationwide. 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 help to sustain 30,000 jobs in the Irish economy.

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The spirit of ‘58

There’s another important point to be made about TidyTowns, apart of course from congratulating Kilkenny City yet again on winning the 2014 competition. Back in the 1950s, when TidyTowns started, Ireland had a population of around 2.8 million. In 2014 it’s 4.6 million. More telling than that growth, however, is the growth of paved roads, car ownership, shops (including those owned by sponsor SuperValu), mobility of all sorts and the general sprawl of modern living. The concept of ‘local’ has changed completely as people come and go all the time on cheap flights or car ferries (in the 1950s leaving and coming back was quite an undertaking).

Or to put it another way, we are thrilled that TidyTowns still means so much to Ireland and the Irish in a modern, fast-moving technologically advanced world. Our thanks, therefore, to everyone everywhere who gets involved.

In fact you could say that this is one occasion where – with due deference to Kilkenny – it really isn’t just the winning but the taking part that counts. What Martin Kelleher, Managing Director of sponsor SuperValu, called “the outstanding demonstration of community spirit shown by all volunteers” probably makes an even greater difference in the Ireland of the 21st century than it did in 1958 – just how much of a difference you can read at where there’s a history of the competition.

It’s also enormously encouraging, in today’s busy, complicated and demanding world that interest in the SuperValu TidyTowns competition has been consistently high in recent times with the number of entries exceeding 800 each year for the last four years. The community spirit that inspired TidyTowns is clearly still going strong nearly 60 years later.

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Kilkenny is Ireland’s Tidiest Town for 2014

Kilkenny City is Ireland’s Tidiest Town for 2014. Kilkenny was today (8th September) named best of the 849 towns and villages throughout the country that entered this year’s SuperValu National TidyTowns competition. The announcement was greeted by great celebration at today’s awards ceremony at The Helix in Dublin.

On hand to present the prizes was Mr. Alan Kelly, T.D., Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government and Mr. Martin Kelleher, Managing Director of SuperValu, the competition’s main sponsor for the 23rd year. The Helix was packed with representatives of TidyTowns groups, from all over the country, eagerly anticipating the announcement of the winners.

Clonegal Co. Carlow claimed the award of Ireland’s Tidiest Village. Other winners included Kilrush, Co. Clare receiving the award for Ireland’s Tidiest Small Town, Westport Co. Mayo received the award of Ireland’s Tidiest Large Town, while Kilkenny City was also declared as Ireland’s Tidiest Large Urban Centre.

Speaking after the awards ceremony Minister Kelly said: “This is a fantastic achievement for Kilkenny; a really worthy winner. It is 1985 since Kilkenny last won the overall prize but they have been consistently achieving high standards in the competition at local and regional level. So my congratulations to Kilkenny and all of the other deserving prize-winners announced today. I am very impressed by the enthusiasm of all those involved in the TidyTowns effort. The results of their efforts are obvious in the attractive, well cared-for towns and villages we see throughout the country. It is clear that working together and getting things done increases peoples’ pride in where they live and helps to build vibrant communities. This is why I am delighted to see this competition continues to sustain great interest, even after 56 years.”

The Minister also thanked SuperValu, the competition’s sponsor. He said: “I would like to thank SuperValu for their continued sponsorship for the past 23 years. SuperValu has been integral to sustaining and developing the TidyTowns competition, not only through their financial sponsorship but also through the support provided to local TidyTowns groups by their network of local retailers. Through their continued sponsorship of this competition, SuperValu have proven that they really do “believe in local”.

Martin Kelleher, Managing Director, SuperValu added “At SuperValu we believe in supporting local communities and nothing captures that belief more than the SuperValu Tidy Towns competition. The outstanding demonstration of community spirit shown by all volunteers is commendable. Their relentless commitment to working for the good of their local community is what makes this competition the success it is today. With 222 stores embedded in communities across Ireland, SuperValu and its retailers, through its sponsorship of TidyTowns for the past 23 years, are committed to supporting the work involved in building vibrant local communities. I am delighted to congratulate this year’s winners and to recognise the dedication of all TidyTowns committees nationwide who make a real difference at a local level.”

Interest in the SuperValu TidyTowns competition has been consistently high in recent times with the number of entries exceeding 800 each year for the last four years.

The TidyTowns competition is organised by the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government and sponsored by SuperValu. The TidyTowns competition has been sponsored by SuperValu since 1992.

Full details of all this year’s winners are available at and at

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One in a thousand (almost)

Kilkenny is famous for quite a few things: culture, architecture, beauty and festivals for example. It’s also a very popular tourist destination. Well, from the 8th of September it has another major boast: Kilkenny City has been chosen as Ireland’s Tidiest Town in this year’s SuperValu National TidyTowns competition.

That’s a double celebration, by the way. Kilkenny City was also declared Ireland’s Tidiest Large Urban Centre. For the main prize it fought off the strong claims of Clonegal Co. Carlow (Ireland’s Tidiest Village), Kilrush, Co. Clare (Ireland’s Tidiest Small Town) and Westport Co. Mayo (Ireland’s Tidiest Large Town). You can see the full list at or but, to give you an idea, the total entry was some 849 towns and villages – so you could almost say that Kilkenny City is one in a thousand!

It’s been there or thereabouts in this competition for most years, of course; it regularly does well at local and regional level. Most of you who know Kilkenny would not be surprised to hear that. However, this is the first outright win for the city for nearly thirty years: it last picked up the main prize in 1985. Of course, as one of our retail partners, SuperValu, has been the main sponsor for 23 years, we’d like to believe that this win is even more significant, but we’re both aware of the great heritage of the TidyTowns contest and just delighted to have an association with it.

However, we can’t resist highlighting the fact that the values TidyTowns promotes – community involvement, pride in place, and environmental concerns — are values that Musgrave and SuperValu also strongly support. And not just with financial backing. There’s no point boasting about being local if you don’t get involved and the network of SuperValu retailers certainly does that, offering support and encouragement to the TidyTowns groups in their areas.

On the other hand, perhaps they have been inspired – just a bit – by a competition that has after all been part of the fabric of the nation for 56 years.

That’s right: 56 years! There are Irish men and women who have grown up with TidyTowns and seen their children get involved with it – perhaps even their children’s children. Long may it continue.

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