Food Academy gives small food producers a big chance

What began as a collaboration between SuperValu, Bord Bia, 31 Local Enterprise Offices and hundreds of small food producers, has seen the first ‘class’ of food producers graduate from the Food Academy Start programme.

Local producers from Waterford City and County; Gino’s Ice-cream, Ponticelli Coffee, The Early Bird Egg Company, Edelicious and Sea of Vitality took part in the tailored retail programme and this week saw their products displayed on the shelves of Caulfield’s SuperValu in Waterford.
Thomas Caulfield of Caulfield’s SuperValu Group, welcomed the new producers to the aisles of the Morgan Street store, commenting that “There is a rich tapestry of tastes and flavours on offer from the five companies, from coffee roasted exclusively in Waterford and bread made from seaweed to fresh flavoursome ice-cream, home-made sauces and accompaniments and organic, farm-fresh, free-range eggs.”
He added, “We are delighted to offer these new businesses the opportunity to showcase their products in our store and to introduce these new, exciting, indigenous ranges to our customers.  The producers in question are in start-up or early start phases and the products they are bringing to market are the embodiment of all that is good about Irish foodstuffs and we are proud to support them on this journey. ”
In September 2013, ‘Food Academy Start’ was launched in order to help develop Ireland’s artisan food industry, to deliver a consistent level of food marketing knowledge created for new and early-stage food business owners and to provide small food business with a solid foundation to progress to shelves of retailers.  The five Waterford producers participated in a series of workshops and one-to-one mentoring followed by a process of focus group testing and brand development. 
Ciaran Cullen of Local Enterprise Office Waterford which implemented and funded the programme was pleased to be involved with the initiative.  “SuperValu and Bord Bia developed a challenging yet rewarding programme for the participants.  The five Waterford businesses have unique food products which they worked hard on developing and deserve to reach a wide customer base on the shelves of SuperValu, as their product will be available in local SuperValu stores for a period of twelve weeks.”
“The food culture in Waterford has shifted perceptively in the last few years.  While consumers look for value, they still want, where and when possible, to support local producers because of their assured quality and traceability.  Here in Waterford we are lucky to have a dedicated group of food producers who are making great strides in putting Waterford on the Irish food map.”
The five local food producers will be trialed throughout the rest of the Waterford SuperValu stores and will be on the shelves of Garvey’s SuperValu Dungarvan, Quish’s SuperValu Tramore and Kelliher’s SuperValu Cappoquin from September 2nd.
If you have a business idea, find out about what assistance is available to you from your Local Enterprise Office at 32, The Mall in Waterford City or the Civic Offices in Dungarvan. Alternatively you can email .