Food Academy

In collaboration with Bord Bia, Local Enterprise Offices and Musgrave Retail are offering a standardised food marketing programme in conjunction with Longford Local Enterprise Office, under the umbrella of the Food Academy, which will assist entrepreneurs/pre start-ups/start-ups/small food businesses develop and grow their businesses taking into account the following :

Westmeath are planning on running these workshops to be delivered over four days in the Mullingar Park Hotel. It is intended that this programme forms part of a series of integrated steps, allowing companies to avail of Bord Bia’s suite of follow-on programmes at the appropriate stage of market development.

There will be sessions where local Supervalu representatives will come in and meet the group and deliver presentations as to how the process of listing works with them etc.  An additional preparation module will be given on the 8th October in Mullingar by Bord Bia to prepare participants to make their pitch with their product. this workshop will deal with market mapping, positioning and USP development. The programme also includes an opportunity for those ready to trial to try out their products in Musgraves in Westmeath and Longford.

The programme provides integrated support and training to food companies as they progress on their journey of growth from start-up to national distribution and export. The Food Academy Start programme is a comprehensive training programme which consists of a number of modules covering Finance, Distribution, the Market and the Consumer, Production and Marketing.

Programme Objectives

  • Develop an in-depth knowledge of the tools which can be used to assess market background.
  • Understand core technical issues facing your food or drink business.
  • Learn how to grow sales for your product range through better branding and packaging design.
  • Gain all of the tools and knowledge necessary to launch and build a successful food business in Ireland.


  • Understanding Consumers
  • Market Background
  • Research and Data
  • Marketing Strategy & Segmentation


Module One will see participants develop an in-depth knowledge of the tools which can be used to assess the market background (target consumers, routes to market) and how to develop an effective marketing strategy for their products.


  • Introduction to Finance
  • Pricing
  • New Product Development
  • Food Safety and Food Labelling
  • Packaging
  • Managing Human Resources


Module Two participants will come to understand the core technical issues facing food and drink business. The module will focus on how to run a business correctly and legally to maintain effective management and growth.

MODULE 3 & 4 GROWING SALES - Sales Growth Development & Enhancement

  • Branding and Pack Design
  • Routes to Market
  • Buyer Meetings
  • Marketing Plans
  • Promoting with Confidence
  • Public Relations


These Modules will look at further elements of the marketing mix. Participants will gain a good understanding of the different elements of the marketing mix and how the use of better packaging and branding will drive profitable sales.

Click here to view all modules

Who can Participate?

The Food Academy is aimed at those in the early stages of developing food or drink business.


4 Day Workshop  - One to one mentoring will also be an option if required as part of the programme. There is also an additional day with Bord Bia in Mullingar to prepare attendees for making their pitch to supervalu.


€40 - This clinic is subsidised by Local Enterprise Office Westmeath.

Click here to book the next available course - Online Bookings


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James Burke has personally worked in the food sector for over 23 years.  Having started in SuperValu in West Cork, and then moved to Superquinn, he spent 10 years at the operational side of the business and 10 years at head office.

During his career in Superquinn James became group purchasing manager with responsibility for purchasing over €350 million of product, and he was also appointed to the board of the company.

In his current role as business consultant, James provides strategic advice and business planning for some of Ireland’s best known companies within the food and retail sectors eg. Country Crest, Donnelly’s Maxi Zoo.  James is a current member of the TASTE Council (the strategic advisory group for the speciality food industry) which involves continuous contact with the Artisan sector.

He is also a former advisory Board Member of AMS, the €100 billion European buying group and he was a director of Aontas (the Irish buying company).  He is also one of only ten people in Ireland who holds an MBA in Retailing and Wholesaling from Stirling University in Scotland.