Food Academy’s Irish food and drink start-ups are optimistic as 93% expect revenue growth in 2021

SuperValu supported by Bord Bia & Local Enterprise Offices launches 45 new Food Academy Producers in stores

12th May 2021: According to new research by SuperValu, Irish food and drinks start-ups are optimistic about their future growth, with 93% indicating they expect revenue growth in 2021. Despite the various challenges posed for the sector by the COVID-19 pandemic, 71% of producers plan to expand their workforce in 2021.

The research comes as SuperValu announced 45 new Irish food producers who have completed the Food Academy programme, supported by Bord Bia and the Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs). The products will be on sale in selected SuperValu stores from today. The study shows that increased consumer demand for Irish products (41%) is the number one driver of growth, followed by increased exposure and opportunities through Food Academy (27%). At the same time, economic uncertainty and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic are the most significant causes for concern for producers.

Now in its eighth year, Food Academy is a unique food business development programme between SuperValu, Bord Bia and the Local Enterprise Offices. Participants in the programme receive training in food safety, market research and branding, marketing, finance, sustainability, and business development.

The Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar, T.D. said: “The combination of Brexit and Covid has truly tested Irish food producers, our supermarkets and their supply chains. The industry has remained remarkably strong and resilient, throughout what has been a really challenging period, adapting and responding as things have changed. Ireland’s food and drink producers are known around the world for the quality of their produce. The Food Academy programme is a fantastic example for those with smaller operations to sell to a wider audience. Nearly 300 have gone through the programme so far, supported by the Local Enterprise Offices, Bord Bia and SuperValu. Congratulations to the 45 new producers that will be selling their products in SuperValu from today. It’s a brilliant achievement and a great opportunity for all involved.”

Ciara McClafferty, Trading Director, SuperValu, said: “We believe in local business and are proud to continue to support local producers across the country. In collaboration with Bord Bia and Local Enterprise Offices, the Food Academy allows us to help new businesses grow and get the support they need. The survey shows that 98% of participants found the programme beneficial. The exposure to new customers, increased brand awareness, mentorship, and how the programme supports producers to grow sustainably, are invaluable elements highlighted by the producers. The programme allows us to use our experience to help small businesses through their journey. From the start up to getting their products on our shelves 52 weeks of the year.”

The research also shows that survey respondents believe the SuperValu Food Academy delivers value for their business, from the increased brand exposure, access to new customers, mentoring and sustainable growth opportunities.

The survey respondents also stated that the top two reasons they believe consumers choose to buy Irish, is to support local producers and the quality of locally sourced food and drink products.

Tara McCarthy, CEO of Bord Bia said: “The partnership approach of the Food Academy programme has created a real opportunity to cultivate sustainable small food and drink businesses by supporting them through the initial challenging phases of growth. The producers receive a combination of commercial and marketing insight from Bord Bia as well as expert advice in branding, market research and business development, which arms them with the tools to strengthen their chances of success. These innovative and dynamic food businesses play an integral role in Ireland’s agri-food sector both locally and nationally, so it’s really encouraging to see a new wave of start-ups and entrepreneurs optimistic about the future.”

 The 31 Local Enterprise Offices deliver Food Academy training across the country and Oisín Geoghegan of the Local Enterprise Offices, said: “As the new research shows, Food Academy producers are optimistic about the industry’s future with the majority forecasting sales growth and new jobs this year, which is an encouraging sign.  And for small businesses in the sector, Local Enterprise Offices can help them start-up through the Digital School of Food and the Food Starter programme, get them ‘market-ready’ through the Food Academy programme and help them to grow even further through mentoring and financial supports.”

 The Food Academy programme currently supports 290 Irish food and drink producers, including 140 female entrepreneurs, generating €170m in sales. In 2020, there was a 15% growth in SuperValu Food Academy sales, with participants earning €28m. The Food Academy programme supports 1,500 jobs in local communities nationwide.

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Centra sees increased demand for Moo’d Ice Cream as consumers scream for ice cream during pandemic

Covid has led to +22% increase in ice cream sales in 2020

Ice cream cone remains firm favourite while demand for premium products and toppings continues to grow

Centra, Ireland’s leading convenience retailer, has revealed a significant increase in demand for Moo’d Ice Cream products, with the brand generating €1.6m as of week 16 in 2021.

Retail sales for products in Centra’s Ice Cream offering have rebounded significantly in 2021 after COVID-19 lockdowns forced the closure of Moo’d counters for a number of weeks during 2020 with sales now up 120% year-to-date in 2021.

Figures for 2020 show the humble ice cream cone remained Ireland’s favourite form of ice cream with the range accounting for 47% of Moo’d take-home ice cream offering, amounting to €2.8m in sales. This was closely followed by sales of Moo’d Whirlies which accounted for 34% of overall sales last year. Separately, sweet treats like milkshakes, gelato and slushies brought it €1.9m in sales in 2020.

“Centra has been a massive part of our business. When we started out with Moo’d, we had three members of staff and we now have ten full time members,” said Lisa Clarke, Business Development Manager of Moo’d Ice Cream Treats commentated,Our factory is based in rural Ireland where there were limited job opportunities and prospects. Partnering with Musgrave has enabled us to grow our business and employ local people supporting over 10 families in the local area. Centra has played a massive role in growing our business and without them, we would not have been able to do this. We are delighted to be in partnership with Centra across all of Ireland and be able to deliver fantastic products to customers and make their day.”

Gerry Sheridan, Owner of Ice Cream Treats added: “While Covid had a huge impact on the Moo’d counters, Ice Cream Treats were able to continue operating as a business due to the demand for Moo’d take home tubs range. As our factory is small and we have limited staff on the production line, we were able to operate safely with social distancing. We used the time to develop new Moo’d flavours, creations and engage with our Centra retailers.”

Ice Cream Treats is a member of the Bord Bia Origin Green programme and are working towards reducing their emissions and waste in manufacturing. The company have reduced their energy consumptions by 70% over the last 4 years and are proud to say their Moo’d whirlie cups, gelato cups, milkshake cups, straws and spoons are all compostable.

Ice cream trends

The latest sales data from Centra also shows that caramel is Ireland’s favourite ice cream topping with most consumers including it in the custom swirl cups closely followed by the Bueno Whirl.

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to +22% increase in total ice cream sales in 2020 with demand for multipacks growing by 50% as people look to treat themselves at home during lockdowns.

Centra has also reported a 50% increase in sales of premium ice cream products with people indulging themselves as the pandemic continues with chocolate-based products growing in popularity.

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SuperValu to Sell 135,000 Irish Poinsettias In Runup To Christmas

SuperValu, Ireland’s leading grocery retailer, has announced that they expect to sell 135,000 Irish grown poinsettias in the runup to Christmas. The festive plants will be for sale in all SuperValu stores across the country in five different formats, a range of colours including red, white and glitter variety, with prices ranging from €3 to €13.

All Poinsettias sold by SuperValu are Bord Bia-approved and carry the Bord Bia Quality Mark. This year marks the 24th year that North Dublin based grower Uniplumo has worked with SuperValu to supply the popular plant. To help meet the growing seasonal demand for Poinsettias, Uniplumo will employ over 60 staff over the busy Christmas period to supply over 135,000 Poinsettias for SuperValu stores.

Commenting on the impending availability of poinsettias at SuperValu, Uniplumo Head Grower Sean Grimes, who has grown the plant for over 30 years, said: “Poinsettias require great care to grow in our nursery, taking five months to develop to ensure they are ready for SuperValu in time for the Christmas season. All of this hard work allows our Poinsettias to meet Bord Bia’s approval standards and we take great pride in them having become a staple of the season in SuperValu over the last 24 years.”

Ray Kelly, Interim Managing Director of SuperValu, added: “Year-on-year we see an increased demand for Poinsettias as they come into season and 2020 is no different as we have upped our order to 135,000 flowers. We are proud to be able to continue sourcing all of our poinsettias in Ireland from Uniplumo, who we have built a strong relationship with over the years. Their tireless work to grow and design these beautiful varieties means that SuperValu customers can be assured the highest quality, locally sourced Poinsettias this festive season.”

The 24 year partnership with Uniplumo is another sign of SuperValu’s commitment to source Irish wherever possible. In addition to the Irish produce sold in-store, SuperValu has also committed to a new €500,000 campaign to encourage shoppers to buy Irish and support local business this Christmas. The marketing campaign is aimed at driving consumers to www.GuaranteedIrishGifts.ie, a new initiative showcasing the best of locally based Irish businesses in communities around the country.

SuperValu serves over 2.6 million customers every week and has 223 stores nationwide. Together with its retail partners, SuperValu employs approximately 14,500 colleagues, making it one of the State’s largest private-sector employers. SuperValu continues to source locally wherever possible which helps to sustain 30,000 jobs in the Irish economy.

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Guaranteed Irish and SuperValu support Food Academy food producers in a bid to drive local enterprise

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Ireland’s leading retailer SuperValu backs food enterprises, demonstrating its commitment to provenance with national symbol.

Guaranteed Irish, the business membership network supporting 1200+ homegrown and multinational businesses based in Ireland, has today announced a new partnership with one of Ireland’s leading food business development programmes, The Food Academy. The partnership will see SuperValu subsidise the Guaranteed Irish membership fee for Food Academy producers on being awarded the Guaranteed Irish seal of approval by the Appraising Committee at Guaranteed Irish for one year. The deal comes as Irish take-home grocery sales soar by 25.4% during the 12 weeks to 17 May, the fastest rate of growth recorded in the past 15 years, as shoppers adapt to life at home, Kantar Worldpanel reports.

As Ireland’s leading retailer, SuperValu is the biggest supporter of local producers in Ireland. Food Academy producers have sold a combined €140m of produce in SuperValu stores nationwide since 2014, supporting over 1,500 jobs in the Irish economy. To date, 620 food producers have come through the programme, with 292 producers currently live instore with a 52-week shelf space commitment.

Founded in 2014, SuperValu joined forces with the Local Enterprise Office Network and Bord Bia to create the Food Academy Programme. Food Academy works with businesses in the food and drink sector through their journey from start up to getting their products on shelves of SuperValu stores. The programme nurtures small businesses, enabling producers to gain retail and marketing insights from local SuperValu retailers, with a focus on areas such as business planning, consumer trends, packaging, and finance.

Guaranteed Irish businesses make a large contribution to the Irish economy each year, contributing to turnover, employment, and local sustainable enterprise in communities throughout the country. The new partnership will enable food enterprises to join the Guaranteed Irish network of 1200+ businesses and avail of the national symbol of trust, which will add to their brand value. The Guaranteed Irish mark is actively being sought by consumers who value businesses that support enterprise in their community. The partnership between Food Academy and Guaranteed Irish will see the national not-for-profit organisation grow further on the back of a ground swell of support for local businesses and communities. ‘We are delighted to welcome this further growth of our network of homegrown start-ups, especially at this time, when there is so much demand for new supply chains, said Brid O’Connell CEO, Guaranteed Irish. ‘We also commend SuperValu in encouraging local entrepreneurship in Ireland, giving small food producers a big chance at building a sustainable business.’

Guaranteed Irish now has over 1,200 business members, employing 90,000+ people across Ireland, generating an annual combined Irish turnover of €12.9bn. The Guaranteed Irish symbol is the national symbol of trust and business provenance in Ireland since 1974. The official Guaranteed Irish licenced mark is awarded to businesses based in Ireland that support sustainable jobs, contribute to our local communities, and are committed to Irish provenance.

The deadline for Food Academy producers to submit their applications for membership of Guaranteed Irish is Friday July 31, 2020. All successful applicants will have their Guaranteed Irish membership fee heavily subsidised by SuperValu for one year on being awarded the licenced mark by the Guaranteed Irish Appraising Committee represented by Grant Thornton, Certification Europe Ltd. (CEL) and CG Business Consulting.

Carmel Biggane, Food Academy Manager, SuperValu
Carmel Biggane, Food Academy Manager, SuperValu

Commenting on the partnership, Carmel Biggane Food Academy Manager, SuperValu said, “We have a rich heritage of food business and innovation in Ireland, and it has never been more important to support our local & Irish producers. SuperValu is proud to support and promote our 292 Food Academy producers and encourages consumers to discover the high-quality food products offered by these Irish entrepreneurs. The current climate has sparked a resurgence in demand and a new appreciation for local quality food & drink. Having the Guaranteed Irish symbol will give consumers confidence that they are supporting local businesses and providing a vital boost to the local economy.”

 

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