Food Academy programme

Food Academy Participants on the shelves of SuperValu

Five small Waterford food producers have been given a big chance to feature their products on SuperValu shelves.

Mezze, Nude Food, Pure Food Company, The Hartrey Kitchen and The Sausage Experience who participated in the Food Academy Programme now have their products in Super Valu stores in Waterford with the possibility of growth to other counties as the brand grows sustainably.

Run over a series of workshops, the Food Academy programme is an initiative of the Local Enterprise Offices, Bord Bia and SuperValu to nurture new start-ups in the food and drink sector and it focuses on areas such as business planning, understanding consumer trends and raising finance.

Nicola Crowley from Mezze said "The Food Academy has been such a huge support for our business. The programme, through the guidance of our mentor, helped us through all the stages of getting our #mideastmezze on the shelves. We started with a range of high quality foods we knew people enjoyed but with no idea how to supply supermarkets but we left the programme with the confidence to put our products on supermarket shelves. Now we're looking into nationwide distribution. We never could have made such huge strides towards our goal without the help of the programme and the Local Enterprise Office."

Richie Walsh, Head of Enterprise would encouraged more ‘early-stage’ food and drink producers to apply for the programme through Local Enterprise Office Waterford. A new programme is starting in October. If you are a small food business and interest in growing your sales through retail, you should consider the Food Academy programme.

Start-ups and small businesses in the food and drink sector are supported by Local Enterprise Offices through measures such as financial assistance, mentoring and on-line trading supports. Richie Walsh with Local Enterprise Office Waterford said: “By equipping owners and managers of local food businesses with industry knowledge and skills, they have a better chance of succeeding in business. The goal of the Food Academy programme is to help more food producers to start selling through supermarkets, as well as through farmers’ markets and to provide them with the supports, information and advice to scale up and achieve this retail break-through. ”

The businesses on the programme receive one to one mentoring and also pitch for a chance to trial their products in a SuperValu store. Since the programme began in 2013, over 1,100 products have been successfully trialled and are now on sale through the Irish supermarket chain. According to SuperValu, consumers in Ireland are expected to spend €25 million on Food Academy products in their stores in 2016.

 A new Food Academy Start programme will be starting in October to find out more, check out here