Fourteen food and drink producers from around the country have made a retail breakthrough this month by securing a space on SuperValu shelves through the Food Academy programme and one of which is based in South Dublin.

The finalist is Nicoya (nut butters), which have been supported by LEO South Dublin went live in June.

The Food Academy Start Programme is a training and mentoring programme for early-stage food companies, run by the Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) jointly with Bord Bia and SuperValu. Run over a series of workshops, the Food Academy programme nurtures new start-ups in the food and drink sector, focusing on areas such as business development, food safety, responding to market trends, distribution and driving sales.

2018 marks the fifth year of the programme and over the last five years, graduates have sold €78 million worth of produce in SuperValu stores, supporting approximately 1,500 jobs in over 320 LEO-supported businesses.

The Food Academy programme is also expected to generate €50 million in sales annually for emerging Irish food producers within the next five years.

Amanda Mills with Local Enterprise Office South Dublin said: “By supporting food and drink start-ups with specialist training and one-to-one mentoring in the Food Academy programme with Bord Bia and SuperValu, the Local Enterprise Offices are helping even more local companies make important business breakthroughs. Over the last five years of the programme, emerging food and drink companies have helped to support around 1,500 jobs. By helping local companies think and act more strategically about their food and drink business, this will increase their chances of success, helping to create even more jobs here locally.”

The Local food/drink producers will be joining more established Irish brands which have successfully completed the Food Academy Programme in recent years, such as The Happy Pear, Absolute Nutrition and HIRO by Roisín.

The next Food Academy Start programme for South Dublin companies begins in August and local entrepreneurs can find out more by contacting Amanda Mills, Local Enterprise Office South Dublin on 01 4149000 or amills@sdublincoco.ie.