Food Academy Seeks the Next Wave of Food and Drink Producers for 2024

The Food Academy is a unique and tailored business development initiative for start-up and early-stage producers, which is supported by SuperValu, the Local Enterprise Office and Bord Bia. This programme not only helps indigenous businesses but also contributes to the overall growth and sustainability of the Irish food industry. Additionally, it serves as a platform for showcasing the excellence of quality Irish products and the innovative spirit of food and drink producers across the nation.  Over the past 11 years, over 1,000 talented producers from the 26 counties of Ireland have successfully completed the programme. One standout feature of the programme, is that their innovative products are stocked on the shelves of SuperValu stores nationwide, ensuring availability for 52 weeks each year.

In addition to providing a platform for showcasing products, the Food Academy programme offers educational components and mentorship opportunities, assisting participants in navigating the complexities of the food retail industry. Furthermore, the programme aligns with current consumer trends, emphasising sustainability, authenticity, and a preference for locally sourced goods.

The Food Academy recognises the importance of innovative and creative individuals within the food sector, acknowledging their role in shaping and advancing the industry. SuperValu's commitment to supporting these entrepreneurs is evident in its longstanding dedication to the Food Academy programme. This initiative presents a particularly positive opportunity for start-up and early-stage businesses at a time when the challenges and costs of doing business are heightened.

Apply for the Food Academy today through your Local Enterprise Office:


The closing date for applications is April 5th, 2024.

Speaking about the Food Academy recruitment,Ciara McClafferty, Trading Director, SuperValu said: “The Food Academy is a brilliant partnership between SuperValu, the Local Enterprise Office and Bord Bia, which continues to go from strength to strength since its inception 11 years ago. Through this programme, producers are given an excellent opportunity to gain invaluable experience, while being given exposure in SuperValu stores throughout the country. At SuperValu, support of local and Irish producers is in our DNA, and our involvement in Food Academy further emphasises our dedication to fostering local talent and businesses within the food industry. Consumer tastes and behaviours are constantly evolving, and the Food Academy is meeting these needs, being centred around nurturing innovative food and drink producers to deliver great tasting products for our shoppers and the Irish market. We’d encourage all start-up and early-stage producers to apply today.”

Tomás Hayes, Head of LEO National Food Committee stated; the Food Academy Programme offers progressive and ambitious food producers a further opportunity to develop their businesses with ongoing advice, support and product placement.  The value of the mentoring and support provided throughout the programme cannot be underestimated. As LEOs, our offices take immense satisfaction in seeing our client progress through the programme with the placement and sale of product through the SuperValu stores. Our offices hope that clients will engage and apply for a coveted place on the programme.”

Speaking about her business and experience with Food Academy, Dee Schroeder, founder of Good Brew Coffee said, “Our business stemmed from a passion for coffee after moving home from Washington DC and realising we couldn’t find our favourite icy cold brew coffee in stores in Ireland. We also saw a gap in the market for plant-based coffee creamers. In terms of the process, we source the finest beans and steep them in cold water for more than 14 hours

and finish off by triple filtering the brew. The result is a superior coffee beverage which is considerably less acidic and bitter than regularly brewed coffee. The Food Academy programme has helped us to turn our vision into a reality. It has provided us with exceptional knowledge and support as we developed our first products. We are delighted to share that our coffee products will be stocked in SuperValu stores nationwide from April, marking a significant milestone for our business.”

Speaking about the impact of Food Academy on her business, Erica Sheehan, founder of Homespun said, “We’re proud to say that Homespun is an award-winning Irish food brand, which was set up in Dublin. We began supplying SuperValu stores with our Quinoa Crunch Granolas after securing a place on the Food Academy. The innovation of the business is ongoing, and we recently ventured into the healthy snack market with the launch of Homespun’s Oat Bars, which are being stocked in SuperValu stores nationwide from April. The Food Academy has been a huge help to us in terms of the running of our business and being able to obtain great exposure for our products in SuperValu stores around the country.”

Gerry Scullion, founder of King of Kefir, spoke about his business and how it has been enabled by Food Academy, “We started off our business with a beer bottle, meaning a bottle opener was needed by customers. We carried out in-store tastings and from this, we decided to start producing the bottles with a twist-off crown cap. We then looked further into the lunchtime grab-and-go market, and this showed us that people prefer cans to glass, so we then started producing our product range in cans. The Food Academy has enabled us to research and gain a better understanding of our customers’ needs. As a result, the programme led us to develop new packaging formats which are now an integral part of our product range.”




For further information, please contact:

Conor Mulligan, Client Executive, Drury

  1. / 083 341 1780

Aisling Hinchy, Senior Client Manager, Drury

  1. / 086 035 3732


Notes to the editor:

About SuperValu

SuperValu serves over 2.9 million customers every week and has 221 stores nationwide. Together with its retail partners, SuperValu employs approximately 16,000 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. SuperValu sources 100% of it is fresh meat and poultry from Bord Bia approved farms and over 1,800 Irish suppliers. 

About Food Academy

Food Academy is a unique food business development programme between SuperValu, Bord Bia and the Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs). Participants in the programme receive training in market research and branding, food safety, marketing, finance, and business development. Food Academy producers have sold a combined €230million of products in SuperValu since 2013, supporting 1,500 jobs in the economy.