Food Academy START

The Autumn intake for the Food Academy is now open for applications. Please download the attached application form, complete and email it to before the 23rd April 2021 with the application attached in the email.

This programme runs over a 4-5 month period, over four full days including the opportunity to pitch to local SuperValu store owners.


  • To give participants an in-depth knowledge of the tools with which they can analyse and take into account the importance of researching the Market Background and Understanding the Consumer, trade customers and routes to market and how to segment the market for their products
  • To train participants on Core Technical Issues including raising and managing funds for business, how to price food products while taking into account the costs of routes to market e.g. distributors and retailers margins, NPD and food safety and food labelling following the most recent EFSA and FSAI guidelines, packaging options and formats and managing staff and HR law.
  • To work with participants on growing sales for their product range through branding and pack design and identifying the routes to market suitable for their product range e.g. markets, the retail sector, the foodservice sector, direct sales (including online) and the export market. This will include preparing for and conducting buyers and distributors meetings, working on marketing plans, raising brand awareness through PR, the internet and social media
  • By the end of the programme, the participants will have all of the tools and knowledge necessary to launch and build a successful food business in Ireland and start looking at the export market.


Mentoring will be a significant aspect to this programme. One mentoring visit (approx. 1 hour) will take place after each module, in conjunction with the content delivered during the previous training day.

Mentoring visits will take place at your Local Enterprise Office, unless otherwise specified by your trainer. 

Outline Syllabus

The Course Material is delivered in modules and covers all of the aspects of researching, launching and growing a successful food business. The facilitators will follow the syllabus as set out by Bord Bia, the LEO's and Musgrave Retail while at the same time using relevant case studies and guest speakers to enhance the knowledge of the participants on the programme. The workshops covering the following modules, will be supported by a 1- hr mentoring session with each participant following each training session, to assist the participants to make the material covered in the workshops relevant for their business, and to reinforce the learning & insights gained during the workshops to the benefit of their food businesses:

Module 1 - Market Background and Understanding the Consumer


To ensure that companies put the consumer at the centre of all activities, and that they then work with the most relevant retailer/foodservice operator to bring their product to market. Without understanding who they are targeting, it wouldn’t be possible to get the marketing mix right, i.e. product features/quality, price, packaging type/branding, place (which retailer/foodservice operator they should target). 

Market Background and Understanding the Consumer

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

Module 2 - Technical Issues


To ensure that companies are running their businesses correctly and legally (not about their product offer to consumers), this is the internal look at the best way to manage and grow food businesses. 

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

Module 3 - Growing Sales


This is the final module and at the end of the workshop companies should be confident that they have a good understanding of the different elements of the marketing mix and how they can use them to drive profitable sales. The first three presentations relate to preparation needed prior to listings i.e. packaging design, deciding on the most appropriate route to market and preparing to meet buyers, while the final three focus on growing sales once listings have been achieved. Branding and Pack Design

  • Routes to Market
  • Buyer Meetings
  • Marketing Plans
  • Promoting with Confidence
  • Public Relations

Training Method 

  • Interactive Powerpoint presentation with working examples drawn from existing companies both domestically and internationally and links to websites and relevant video clips using an overhead projector and white screen
  • Participants will be given an outline of a Business Plan for food companies which Yvonne Scully developed for the Bord Bia Vantage Website, together with guidance on how to complete it at the outset of the programme and participants will be encouraged to complete the relevant sections covered by each module both during and at the end of each module.
  • Using a flipchart and facilitated discussion groups, participants will be encouraged to contribute their own experiences of the subject matter of each module
  • Each participant will be given an exercise to write their own press release.
  • Participants will receive hand-outs of the PowerPoint slides
  • Participants will receive handouts and emailed blank copies of the following documents to enable them to work on their own examples and in conjunction with the facilitators during mentoring sessions:
  1. A blank Business Plan template
  2. Pricing models for food and drink companies
  3. Cash-flow analysis
  4. P&L Accounts
  5. Balance Sheets
  6. Resources for research
  7. Samples of press releases from Irish and International companies and a blank template

Participant Profile

Ideal candidates for this training & mentoring programme are recently established artisan food producers who have tested their products on key target markets and have a clear offering for the retail trade. Applicants need to have completed Food Starter to partake in the Food Academy. If you wish to discuss your suitability for this programme please feel free to contact us on 0404 30800 or email