SuperValu is calling on Cork food start-ups to join its Food Academy programme despite the current Covid-19 crisis.
Now in its seventh year, the unique food business development programme between SuperValu, Bord Bia and the Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) will see participants receive training in market research and branding, food safety, marketing, finance and business development.
The programme helps early-stage food and drink businesses to get their start in the food retail sector with their first supermarket listing in SuperValu.
One of the food start-ups to list in SuperValu is Macroom-based Tex-Mex Addict fajita kits.
The Mexican food product is produced locally using traditional recipes with real spices and each pack is made with five different types of dried Mexican chiles for an authentic flavour.
Owner of Tex-Mex Addict, Brendan Hedley, said that he has been “working steadily” to develop his unique product with the help of Supervalu’s Food Academy over the last six months.
He said that without the help of SuperValu Food Academy, he would not be where he is now.
“It has given huge support to all the producers involved, and I recommend it for any new producer starting out,” he said.
To date, 620 producers have come through the Food Academy programme, with 272 producers currently enrolled in the programme.
Producers have sold a combined €140 million of produce in SuperValu since 2014.
Managing Director of SuperValu, Martin Kelleher, said that the supermarket chain has been a supporter of local for 40 years.
He said that the Food Academy programme was initiated to support local food start-ups and that the programme is now ”more important than ever” at a time when consumers are starting to come out and support local again after lockdown.
“Our independent retailers can provide local producers with their all-important first supermarket listing, helping them to create employment in local communities, We believe in local business and Food Academy is a great way for us to help new businesses to grow and get the support they need,” he said.
Food start-ups are encouraged to still enter the programme with applications being accepted until Friday, June 26.
People can apply by contacting the Local Enterprise Office for an application form on www.localenterprise.ie.