Customers Say the New Budgens Concept Store in Crouch End is a Resounding Success

A new shopper survey has shown the Budgens’ new flagship store in Crouch End is a resounding success. Budgens commissioned a deep-dive face-to-face survey of shoppers at its Crouch End store to test the success of the store refurbishment and see how customers are responding to the new brand proposition.

The results show that attitudes towards the Budgens brand has improved across most brand metrics, with 9 out of 10 shoppers saying they’ll return and 16% more saying that Budgens cares about its customers. Shoppers now also report buying nine items per trip, more than double the amount before the relaunch.

The store, which is company owned and reopened in March after an extensive refit, is proving popular with high-end customers who are likely to also shop in Waitrose and M&S food, a key target market for the store.

Shoppers were asked the same questions before and after the refit, highlights include:

  • 98% of shoppers think the store is great for top-up shopping – up 6%
  • 97% think it’s a pleasure to shop at Budgens – up 12%
  • 93% think Budgens is an active supporter of the local community – an increase of 16%
  • More people think Budgens cares about its customers now (+16%) and that it offers fair prices (+11%)
  • 24% of shoppers now aware of Budgens campaigns/communications, compared to 11% before
  • 87% would choose Budgens because it sold more locally sourced products

Budgens was also recently named the ‘best top-up shop’ at the CTP awards, voted for by 20,000 UK shoppers. The Crouch End shopper survey supports this, showing that shoppers are using the store more frequently and are more likely using the store for a small top up shop rather than a distressed out of item purchase. More shoppers are now making regular visits to Budgens since the store refit, popping in an average of 3 times per week.

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The Musgrave Triathlon: (almost) everything made easier

The 2015 Musgrave Triathlon will take place on Saturday 29 August at Farran Woods, Cork

We’ve improved the website, we’ve sorted out online fundraising, we’ve had a high-profile launch on June 16th… the only thing we can’t make better is the way you’ll feel after you complete the 2015 Musgrave Triathlon. That said you could go to and check out the training schedule, although with just over six weeks to go the time really is now.

But even if you plan simply to finish the race rather than take on all-comers at Farran Woods, Farran in County Cork from 1pm on the 29th of August, please do sign up (at, get your team involved (or ask us to find you one) and get training. You’d be very welcome indeed.

On the other hand if you want to get involved but can’t imagine spending most of a Saturday afternoon running, swimming and cycling, why not help out for a few hours? After 14 years, this is quite a big event and volunteers are always needed (and you can let us know at the same address: Or just come along, cheer and donate. We’d love to see you.

As would Breakthrough Cancer Research and Crumlin Children’s Hospital, which each received €100,000 from last year’s race. With the addition of online fundraising we hope to outstrip that amount this year by making it easier to donate – or encourage others to sponsor you.

So whether you’re a participant, a helper or a watcher have a look at the relevant idonate page, where you can sign up as a fundraiser or fundgiver and learn more about the hospitals that are the beneficiaries of your time and effort.

And finally, thanks. If you’re volunteering or spectating, thanks for helping and encouraging. If you choose to donate, thanks for contributing. If you’re taking part, thanks for putting in the time and effort. In fact thanks to all of you for anything you can do for two very worthy causes.

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Centra Raise the Bar with New Healthy & Nutritious Food Initiative – Centra Live Well

Last Thursday 9th of July, Centra announced today that it is launching a major new initiative – Centra Live Well. This initiative will redefine everyday convenience retailing in Ireland by providing shoppers with choices and information about healthy and nutritious food. Under the new Live Well banner Centra is offering shoppers healthy and nutritious choices across a range of 300 plus products whatever their needs are throughout the day. In addition Centra will provide health and nutrition information in-store and on its extensive digital and social channels which will educate, inspire and ultimately encourage shoppers to make that healthier choice. The Centra Live Well initiative will also be encouraging people to add activity to their daily routine through walking initiatives and involvement in Centra’s GAA community events.

The essence of Centra Live Well is about helping people make a healthier choice when they are on-the-go with a real focus on overall nutrition and balanced, healthy eating. Centra worked with Sarah Keogh, Consultant Dietician with and a member of the Irish Nutrition and Dietetic Institute to help define the range and highlight foods with nutritional benefits.

Speaking about the launch Ray Kelly, Marketing Director at Musgrave Retail Partners Ireland says that Live Well is Centra’s response to shopper preferences and tastes. “Our customers are leading increasingly busy lives and this has an impact on when and how they shop. At the same time the level of information about and awareness of a healthy lifestyle has never been higher and our customers have told us they want to be able to go into their local Centra convenience store and be able to choose from a healthy and nutritious food range, when it suits them” he said.

Centra Live Well is also a determined and sustained initiative by Centra to help address issues we face in Ireland today in terms of health. Ireland is facing a number of health issues related to the food we eat – from obesity to heart disease – diseases that can be positively impacted by food we eat and physical activity” he added.

The Centra Live Well initiative is being driven under three key pillars:

Healthy and Nutritious Choices

Healthy and Nutritious Choices is all about making it easier for Centra customers to identify and choose the healthier options across a wide range of products. At breakfast time there is the choice of porridge or scrambled egg instead of the breakfast roll. At lunchtime you could swap spicy wedges for a chicken & wholegrain salad. If you are on-the-go and fancy a quick snack, instead of sweets, there are fruit pots, health bar or nuts options. At the end of the day there are fresh stir frys.

To encourage shoppers to make that healthier choice throughout a Centra store, there will be very clear Live Well options in terms of choosing a healthier alternative. Alongside sweets and chocolate there will be nuts and healthy bars.  Given the importance of hydration in a healthy daily diet more space has been created for water and other healthier impulse drinks options resulting in a 27% reduction in calories across the entire range. The introduction of products such as kale or pomegranate, being a source of vitamins A, C and K, will offer shoppers nutritious additions to soups, smoothies and salads. The Health and Wellbeing section contains a wide range of products including tahini paste, quinoa, proteins and vitamins.

Educate and Inspire

The second key pillar of Centra Live Well will be to inspire and educate shoppers about making those healthier choices. Throughout a Centra store shoppers will be informed about convenient ways to achieve a balanced diet; helpful information will feature across packaging including a traffic light food guide to make it easier for shoppers to make that well informed decision. Tips on products and what they are a source of will also be a feature. In addition Centra’s popular digital ( and social channels (Facebook & Twitter) will dedicate significant resources to promote the Live Well message on healthy living and dietary information. Tips from dietitian Sarah Keogh and easy recipes will help shoppers kick start a healthy lifestyle.


The third pillar of Centra Live Well will be to encourage, through a combination of existing Centra sponsorships and partnerships, customers and the wider population to get moving and include some exercise in their daily lives.

As part of Centra’s GAA Hurling Championship sponsorship, this summer over 4,000 children throughout the country will take part in hurling camps. These camps are supported by some of the game’s biggest stars including Centra Ambassador and ten times All Ireland medal winner Henry Shefflin. For the first time a session on good diet and nutrition is also included in the day’s events for both participants and parents.

Local retailers will be driving community initiatives to encourage people to get walking by participating in Centra walking clubs. At a national level Centra will be encouraging people to walk as part of their ongoing support for Action Breast Cancer. Other Live Well initiatives will be announced in the coming months.

Centra - live wellSpeaking at the launch Sarah Keogh, Consultant Dietician with and a member of the Irish Nutrition and Dietetic Institute said “I am delighted to be working with Centra on Live Well. I find too many people are confused about healthy eating or think that it is simply too difficult. I meet lots of people caught up in the idea of the perfect diet, the “all-or-nothing” approach which is hard to sustain or even to achieve for most people. Live Well is about making the healthier choice the easier choice when it comes to choosing food. It is not about perfect eating but about guiding people to healthier options when choosing food as well as highlighting that a healthy lifestyle involves being physically active. I look forward to continuing to work with Centra as Live Well develops and grows and I look forward to dropping into Centra for some healthy options when I am out and about as well”.

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This award won’t change me…

Pictured left to right: Cutting the ribbon to kick-off The Bra Walk was U105’s Carolyn Stewart with help from SuperValu NI’s Marketing Manager, Donna Morrison and Action Cancer Ambassador, Lisa Hutchings

That’s the phrase isn’t it? Yes, we are discussing awards yet again in this blog, but in a wider context. In other words, we’re discussing the things you do – and need to go on doing – to establish an award-winning reputation.

On the other hand we’re not asking our friends at SuperValu to be shy about their recent sweep at the Checkout ‘Best in Fresh’ Awards. Nor is the Musgrave Group itself going to play down winning the 2015 NACS Insight European Sustainability Retailer of the Year Award.

After all, SuperValu not only picked up a record-breaking nine awards (included the Most Creative Retailer, Best Local Champion, Best Fruit & Veg and Best Bakery) at the only annual event to acknowledge excellence in fresh produce retailing, but it did so through retailers hailing from everywhere from Monaghan to Clonakilty.

And getting a pat on the back for our sustainability strategy from NACS insight, a powerful name in international convenience and fuel retailing and research, is also good news. Between these two awards they show we’re on the right tracks, not just in the usual areas like quality, price and support for Irish suppliers, but in looking after the environment at the same time.

Derry-Trench-Road-20th-AnniversaryBut retail awards aren’t like music or film awards: you don’t find many overnight sensations. You need to build a reputation over time – and keep it. Look at Kelly’s Centra of Trench Road in Derry. It just celebrated 20 years in business. Did David Kelly sit back and wait for congratulatory phone calls? Of course not. He hosted three fun days in June to thank customers for their support over the years. Prizes, giveaways and coupons were part of the celebrations.

Another story, from the same part of the world, involved SuperValu NI’s sponsorship of Action Cancer’s 10k Bra Walk, a charity walk through the streets of Belfast in which staff and retailers from a number of Northern Irish SuperValu stores and from Musgrave NI took part. It’s the sort of thing SuperValu has been doing for years: getting involved in the local area not just as a popular retailer but as a supporter of things that matter to that area.

NACS Awards Winners 2015

Pictured from left to right: Henry Armour CEO NACS, Sharon Buckley Group Commecial Director, John Curran Head of Sustainability, Ern Sherman Vice President of Industry Affairs at The Coca-Cola Company and Dan Munford MD, Insight

And that’s the wider context we were talking about. These very recent examples, and others over the years, as big as Tidy Towns and SuperValu Own Brand or as small as helping out a local charity or stocking a locally-made item, exemplify the sort of attitude we encourage and will continue to encourage across Musgrave and its partners: good food, good service and a real desire to do a little more for the area or region you work in. And if it has helped to gain us a little recognition from our peers, that’s very gratifying. Awards are a great boost to our work and a welcome indication that we’re doing the right thing.

But don’t worry. These awards won’t change us. They are recognition that Musgrave and its partners have worked hard to earn and – more importantly – will continue to work hard to earn.

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CooKit Kids Wins Food Academy Competition with SuperValu and Today FM

Left to right: Kevin Dundon, Jillian Stout and Anton Savage.

Jillian Stout of CooKit Kids food is pictured at Today FM studios, with Kevin Dundon and Anton Savage. Jillian was the winner of the Food Academy competition, in conjunction with SuperValu and Today FM, for her innovative CooKit Kids products. The kits are a simple, easy to follow cookery lesson in a box for kids.

As part of the coveted prize, Jillian was awarded €10,000 to help boost her business as well as a place on the prestigious Food Academy programme. The competition has been running over the last 5 weeks, with Jillian beating off stiff competition from numerous other innovative start up food producers.

The 5 week competition saw Jillian sampling her produce in her local SuperValu store in Ashbourne, with superb customer feedback. Voting on behalf of the judges – Eamon Howell, SuperValu Trading Director, Kevin Dundon, SuperValu brand ambassador and Tom Durcan, SuperValu supplier – was unanimously in favour of the CooKit Kids product. Jillian also drummed up extensive votes from listeners on Today FM, which saw hundreds of people logging on and voting for her product.

Food Academy is a joint initiative between SuperValu, Bord Bia and the Local Enterprise Office Network and was established in 2014 to support small food companies in Ireland. Based in Ashbourne in Meath, keep an eye out for Jillian’s products in her local SuperValu store.

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