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.
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.”