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02/08/2021

Limerick food producers graduate from Food Academy to secure space on SuperValu shelves

Limerick food producers graduate from Food Academy to secure space on SuperValu shelves

Marie Griffin of OrganiGo which is based in Abbeyfeale

PRODUCTS from two food producers in Limerick who have successfully completed the SuperValu Food Academy programme, are now on sale in the retailers stores.

Vardebi, which is based at Banogue and Abbeyfeale-based OrganiGo are two of 45 new Irish food producers who have completed the Food Academy programme.

Now in its eighth year, it 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.

"We believe in local business and are proud to continue to support local producers in Limerick. 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," said Ciara McClafferty, Trading Director at SuperValu.

"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,” she added.

Tara McCarthy, CEO of Bord Bia commented: “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 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.

For more on the Food Academy programme click here.

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