SuperValu seeks next generation of Irish food and drink producers 

Pictured: Erica Sheehan; Dee Schroeder and Carmel Biggane (Photo by Naoise Culhane)

SuperValu's 2024 Food Academy programme aims to nurture and support budding Irish food and drink producers by offering tailored business development opportunities and nationwide exposure



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12 March 2024

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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. 

The closing date for applications is 5 April, 2024.

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 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. 

Within the past 11 years, more than 1,000 producers from all 26 counties of Ireland have successfully completed the Food Academy programme. 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. 

Educational opportunities 

Additionally, the 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.

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. 

Ciara McClafferty, trading director, SuperValu, said: “Through this programme, producers are given an excellent opportunity to gain invaluable experience, while being given exposure in SuperValu stores throughout the country.

“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.”

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.”

To apply for the Food Academy through your Local Enterprise Office, please click here.


Read more: Pettitt’s SuperValu, St. Aidan’s, Wexford wins coveted SuperValu Store of the Year Award for 2024






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