MRPNI Serves Up 400,000 Brussels Sprouts This Christmas

MRPNI will be serving up 400,000 Brussels sprouts to Northern Ireland consumers this Christmas thanks to its partnership with Co. Armagh supplier Derrykeeran Nurseries.

Pat Smith of Derrykeeran Nurseries, Co. Armagh along with Aiden Kearney, Fresh Produce Trading Manager of MRPNI help serve up 400,000 Brussels sprouts to Northern Ireland consumers this Christmas.

As one of the top sprout farmers in Northern Ireland, Pat Smith of Derrykeeran Nurseries will supply the home-grown vegetable, which is an important addition to many festive dinner tables, to all SuperValu NI, Centra NI and Mace NI stores.

Fresh Produce Trading Manager of MRPNI, Aiden Kearney, said: “We’re delighted to continue our work with Derrykeeran Nurseries who have been supplying MRPNI for almost 20 years. We expect to sell in the region of 400,000 sprouts across our stores with 50% of sales taking place over the two week Christmas period.

“We are committed to bringing the highest quality fresh produce to consumers and sourcing in Northern Ireland allows us to do this. We are very proud of our relationship with suppliers such as Derrykeeran Nurseries who are one of over 250 local suppliers in Northern Ireland we use across our business,” he added.

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Musgrave Retail Partners Ireland to create 80 jobs as part of €8.2 million investment in Fonthill depot

Musgrave Retail Partners Ireland announced today that 80 new jobs are to be created as a result of an €8.2 million investment at the company’s Fonthill depot in Dublin. The new roles in management, warehouse and driving positions will bring the total headcount at the site to 335 permanent staff. The 57,000 sq. ft. expansion will boost Fonthill’s capacity by 60% by 2015. Work has already commenced on the Fonthill site, which will sustain 65 construction jobs. The expansion is due to be completed by July 2015.
Commenting on the expansion, Martin Kelleher, Managing Director, Musgrave Retail Partners Ireland, said: “This significant investment in our Fonthill depot is a major milestone for our business in order to ensure we can meet our future capacity needs by strengthening our supply chain and logistics operations. The expansion will allow us to reach the site’s full potential, ultimately enhancing the shopping experience at SuperValu and Centra stores by guaranteeing greater availability of produce on a daily basis.”
Musgrave Retail Partners Ireland operates the SuperValu and Centra brands in Ireland, partnering with entrepreneurs who own and operate stores in their local community. SuperValu is the leading Irish grocery retailer with 223 stores nationwide, serving over 2.6 million customers every week and recorded retail sales of €2.1 billion in 2013. Centra is Ireland’s number one convenience brand, with 465 stores nationwide and recorded retail sales of €1.48 billion in 2013.

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Tánaiste Joan Burton launches ‘Feeding Ireland’s Future 2015’

Skills for Work Week; 2nd – 6th March, 2015

The Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton TD, today launched ‘Feeding Ireland’s Future 2015’, an initiative by the Irish food and grocery industry body set up to help support young unemployed people. This is the second year of the initiative and will involve food and grocery companies and service providers to the sector throughout Ireland providing free pre-employment skills for young people through its core initiative, ‘Skills for Work Week’, a designated skills training week in March 2015.

The programme is being promoted by ECR Ireland, with the support of its members, in partnership with the Department of Social Protection through its Intreo service. According to the latest Live Register figures, the percentage of young people on the live register in November 2014 was 13.9%.  Whilst this is down from 15.3% in November 2013, responding to this situation is still an ongoing priority for the Government. 

Speaking at the launch, the Tánaiste said: “As Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection, I am delighted that the Department is involved with ECR Ireland and Feeding Ireland’s Future, which I regard as an important measure in supporting our youth employment strategy.  I would urge employers to take on the challenge of offering work experience to young jobseekers, to help them improve their chances of securing employment.  All too often we hear that young jobseekers do not adequately demonstrate their skills, ability and depth of experience in their CVs, which is often the only information an employer has in deciding to invite a candidate for interview.

“By participating in Feeding Ireland’s Future you can make a truly positive difference in a young person’s life.  You will be helping them gain the necessary skills to become job ready.  In short, you can help them to put their best foot forward to getting a job.  Each action, by you, no matter how small, can make a big difference in a jobseeker’s life.” 

Over the course of the next two months, the Department of Social Protection will be contacting young people across the country that would benefit from this unique opportunity.  The experience will enhance their employability skills through benefiting from the expertise and advice of employers in their locality.

The ‘Skills for Work Week 2015’ initiative is being led by board member of ECR Ireland, David O’Neill, Managing Director of SHS Sales & Marketing.

He commented that, as one of the country’s largest private sector employers, the food and grocery industry was well placed to support young people in the transition from education to employment.

“Feeding Ireland’s Future will give young people in Ireland a much better insight into the vast range of career opportunities available in our industry. Today’s young people are tomorrow’s workforce so investing in and inspiring our young people is critical for our sustained business success. Based on the support we have received so far, we are confident that Feeding Ireland’s Future will become a major industry initiative in which most retailers, suppliers and service providers will want to participate” he said.

This will be the second year of Feeding Ireland’s Future. Last year, 29 companies participated in the programme offering over 1,500 places for young unemployed people to attend skills sessions designed to aid their quest for work.  The most effective activities conducted were CV writing courses, interview skills and giving insights into various job functions & trading relationships.  The initiative was a great success, as 97% of participants said they were more confident in applying for a job after taking part in ‘Skills for Work Week’. In addition, 88% of companies that took part said they would definitely aspire towards participating in the programme again in 2015.

Companies already signed up for Feeding Ireland’s Future include some of Ireland’s leading names in the grocery industry; BWG Foods, Keelings, Kellogg’s, Maxol Group, Musgrave Group, Nestlé, P&G Foods, SHS Sales & Marketing, Tesco, and Unilever are all involved to date. The companies will open their doors to give young unemployed people first-hand experience of the workings of production and marketing. 

The companies will provide a range of initiatives including free on-site skills workshops and site visits for young people at locations across Ireland during Skills for Work Week 2015, which will run from Monday 2nd to Friday 6th March 2015.  The focus will be on developing pre-employment skills and will include advice on CV writing, interview training and behind the scenes tours of factories, depots and offices.

Declan Carolan, General Manager, ECR Ireland called on as many companies as possible to participate and offer some pre-employment training initiatives during March 2015.

“Feeding Ireland’s Future is a great example of how the food and grocery industry can collaborate to further the skills of young job seekers in Ireland and better prepare them in their quest for work.  We are looking to build on the success of last year’s programme and I hope as many companies as possible participate for 2015 so that future employers will favourably recognise those applicants who have participated in the Skills for Work week.  Our industry needs to collectively step up and help inspire young people and I believe that Feeding Ireland’s Future can play a significant role in this ideal” he said.

ECR member companies interested in participating in Skills for Work Week 2015 should contact: or T 087 235 2148

For media queries, please contact:

Sheila Gahan, Wilson Hartnell T: 01 6690030 or 087 234 2409, e:

Ruth Doyle, Wilson Hartnell T: 01 6690030 or 087 944 8134, e: 

About ECR Ireland

Efficient Consumer Response Ireland (ECR) was established in 1998 to promote and educate the Irish Business Community about Efficient Consumer Response and the benefits it brings. It is the official ECR organisation in Ireland and is a member of ECR Europe. The board is comprised of senior executives from a selection of retailers and suppliers operating in Ireland whose purpose it is to represent the sectors within which they trade.

ECR Ireland encourages long term co-operation between retail trading partners to drive costs out of the supply chain and benefit the Irish consumer. It does this by developing industry best practices, promoting their adoption and providing education and guidance on key demand side & supply chain issues. It is committed to the implementation of ECR principles by Irish companies and is a not for profit organisation.

About Intreo

Intreo is a service from the Department of Social Protection which helps those unemployed with their employment and income support services needs. Intreo provides a personalised service, based on individual needs including; advice on education, training and personal development opportunities, job search assistance as well as information on and access to the range of income supports available.

Companies already signed up for Feeding Ireland’s Future

The Musgrave Group
SHS Sales & Marketing
Maxol Group

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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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Getting serious about getting youth to work

It’s time — in today’s blog at least — to get a bit serious. Ireland has a talented, well educated workforce but is still emerging from a tough economic period. The percentage of young unemployed is in double figures and needs to fall. Government is only too aware of this. That’s why it supported the recent launch of Feeding Ireland’s Future 2015, the second year of the Feeding Ireland’s Future initiative.

But it’s not a government initiative — or at least not entirely. This also comes via an Irish food and grocery industry body set up to help support young unemployed people. Food and grocery companies and service providers throughout Ireland will be offering free pre-employment skills for young people through a related initiative called ‘Skills for Work Week’, a designated skills training week taking place in March 2015.

ECR Ireland, the Department of Social Protection and many of Ireland’s leading names in the grocery industry are part of Feeding Ireland’s Future, including, of course, Musgrave. But what you no doubt want is not a list of supporters but an idea of what it’s all about. Well, oddly, it’s quite simple. Sometimes the right people aren’t getting the right jobs for very basic reasons. Take last year for instance, when 29 companies participated in the programme offering over 1,500 places for young unemployed people to attend skills sessions designed to aid their quest for work. The most useful training turned out to be CV writing courses, interview skills and giving insights into various job functions and trading relationships. Understanding the job and promoting yourself effectively, in other words. Both are useful but even more so when they go together, which is why the young participants seemed to approve.

“Helping them gain the necessary skills to become job ready,” is what the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton TD, calls this. And we at Musgrave are ready to help. Certainly if companies that know what they want from employees can offer expertise and advice, we believe they should, as do Nestle, Maxol Group, Tesco and a number of others taking part in Feeding Ireland’s Future.

After all, it’s not just the young who can benefit. We may be helping to nurture an industry leader of the future who could benefit not just him or herself but our own businesses in an increasingly competitive global market. In other words we might not just be helping to lower unemployment and its cost to the state or bringing more people into the Irish workforce but nurturing a future senior figure in Unilever, Kelloggs — or even Musgrave. Now there’s a thought…

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