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SuperValu launches Food Academy 2024

Mar 12, 2024, by  - Category: Food & Beverage

SuperValu seeks the next wave of start-up and early-stage Irish food and drink producers

SuperValu has announced the launch of the Food Academy programme for 2024. The programme is actively seeking applications from budding start-up and early-stage food and drink producers across Ireland. Now in its 11th year, this extended commitment highlights the sustained success and positive impact the Food Academy has had on the local Irish food and drink industry.

The Food Academy is a unique and tailored business development initiative for start-up and early-stage producers, which is supported by SuperValu and the Local Enterprise Office. 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, more than 1,000 producers from all 26 counties of Ireland have successfully completed the Food Academy programme. This initiative has provided these entrepreneurs with a unique opportunity to showcase their innovative products on SuperValu shelves all year round. Since its inception in 2013, Food Academy producers have collectively generated €230 million in product sales within SuperValu, supporting 1,500 jobs in the economy.

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, provenance, and a preference for locally sourced goods.

Course Overview

Food Academy Course Content

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

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

Food Academy Past Participants

Speaking about the Food Academy recruitment, Ciara McClafferty, Trading Director, SuperValu said: “The Food Academy is a brilliant partnership between SuperValu and the Local Enterprise Office, 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.”

Speaking about her business and experience with Food Academy, Dee Schroeder, founder of GoodBrew 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. GoodBrew represents the next generation of cold brew coffee, offering sweet and creamy blends enriched with beneficial ingredients such as gut-friendly prebiotic fibre, immune-boosting vitamins, and 60% less sugar than the current market leader. The Food Academy programme has been instrumental in turning our coffee vision into reality, providing invaluable knowledge and support during the development of our initial products. We're thrilled to announce that our coffee creations will be available 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, "At Homespun, our mission is to create healthier alternatives to foods we all know and love, and SuperValu has played a significant role in our product innovation journey. The Food Academy has significantly elevated my entrepreneurial skills, securing national listings and exposure for our Quinoa-based granolas and low-sugar Chicory Syrup. Our latest creation, a range of Irish-made oat bars, will be available in SuperValu stores nationwide from the end of April. These bars offer a contemporary twist on traditional flapjacks, free from excess sugar, wheat, or dairy. We're delighted to have the support of SuperValu once again for our new products. I wholeheartedly recommend the Food Academy to any aspiring food and drink startups; it's been a game-changer for us."

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.

Read more and apply:

Information from the SuperValu website:

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