Business News

Food for thought

By Business & Finance
17 October 2016
cliff townhouse oysters

The inside track on Ireland’s booming food and beverage industry, edited by Maura Reidy.


The FoodService Academy seeks to help small Irish food and drink companies develop their business in the foodservice market (commonly referred to as the ‘out of home food market’).

Nine Irish food and drink companies have completed the first FoodService Academy programme with Musgrave Marketplace, Ireland’s leading wholesale supplier to retail, foodservice and SME businesses. The Food Service Academy was set up by Bord Bia and Musgrave Marketplace to help small Irish food and drink companies develop their business in the foodservice market.

The inaugural Food Service Academy took place as a four-month programme, which included workshops and mentoring sessions. The successful companies will now go on to supply products to Musgrave Marketplace’s 6,000 foodservice customers, which range from hotels and restaurants to pubs and nursing homes.

The nine companies that have successfully completed the programme with Musgrave Marketplace are:

  • Atlantis Seafood, a family seafood business based in Wexford
  • Blanco Nino, Europe’s only producer of authentic corn tortillas and un-fried tortilla chips made in Tipperary
  • Coffee House Lane, a Waterford family-run coffee roaster
  • Lily’s Tea Shop, blenders of a range of premium, loose leaf teas as well as matcha tea and premium tea pyramids based in Louth
  • Nobó, the dairy free ice-cream producer, which is made without any refined sugar, gums or stabilisers
  • Maria Lucia Bakes, a Dublin producer of gourmet gluten, wheat and dairy free granola cereals
  • Kildare’s Outdoor Oinks, a range of Bord Bia approved pork and bacon products
  • Tipperary Kitchen, a family run artisan bakery producing a range of handcrafted meringues, dessert sauces and chocolate biscuit cake
  • Wildberry Bakery, an artisan gluten free bakery in Cork

It really is a privilege to work with such passionate people in the industry and to support Irish food business

Commenting on the programme, Sheena Forde, trading director of Musgrave Marketplace, said: “We have been incredibly impressed by the calibre of companies that participated in this year’s inaugural FoodService Academy and are really excited to bring these products to market.”

“She continued: “It has been a pleasure working with each and every one of the businesses to date and we have learned a huge amount from them as well as imparting knowledge from the programme to them. Bord Bia have been a fantastic partner and we are thrilled to announce that plans are already underway for a 2017 FoodService Academy programme. It really is a privilege to work with such passionate people in the industry and to support Irish food business.”

Bord Bia’s Maureen Gahan added: “From Bord Bia  perspective, we are delighted with the success thus far of the inaugural FoodService Academy. Each of the participating companies have had invaluable access to key people from the Musgrave Marketplace team, both at the workshops and through individual meetings over the course of the programme.

“The feedback they have received from Musgrave Marketplace Sales Representatives has allowed them to develop their products and supporting material to reflect the needs of the end customer,” Gahan continued. “We are already looking forward to FoodService Academy 2017 and offering this opportunity to additional Irish food and drink businesses.” 

foodservice academy workshop

Sheena Forde, Musgrave Marketplace; Dominick McGroddy, Lily’s Tea Shop; and Maureen Gahan, Bord BiA


cliff-townhouseThis September sees the return of the hugely popular Cliff Townhouse Oyster Festival, taking place from September 5th to October 2nd. The festival, now in its fifth year, will include an extended Oyster Menu, the All Ireland Oyster Plate, and a limited edition Cliff Oyster Cocktail Menu, designed entirely by the Cliff Townhouse bar staff. The first oyster will be shucked on Monday September 5th and by festival close, head chef Sean Smith reckons more than 10,000 bivalve beauties will have made their way through his kitchen.

This year’s offering will not just include food and beverages. Cliff Townhouse Pearls of Wisdom, an engaging masterclass series as food, fashion and wellness, celebrating the versatility of the glorious oyster will also be on the menu.


rebel-redFranciscan Well, which includes leading craft beer Rebel Red among its range, is bringing its award-winning craft beer into canned format from August. Rebel Red, Friar Weisse and Chieftain IPA will be offered in a 330ml can for the first time in the off-trade across Ireland, with selected on-trade sites also stocking the product.

The Franciscan Well range has also been rebranded to reflect its Irish roots. The previous logo, which included the image of the monk, has been replaced by an image of an arch, highlighting a strong sense of place as the brand aims to accentuate the Well’s provenance.

The new brand firmly emphasises that it is an authentic Irish beer, established in Cork and brewed in Cork.

The decision to can Ireland’s favourite craft beer range is part of an international trend, which has seen rising consumer demand for craft beer in a can instead of a bottle. This decision from the award-winning brewery is in keeping with internationally recognised best practice for freshness and taste, with cans providing superior product packaging quality and infinite recyclability.


food-drink-conferencePremier Publishing and Events have announced the recent addition of The Food and Drink Conference to the list of high-quality conferences and exhibitions that they coordinate.

Premier Publishing and Events is Ireland’s largest business to business conference and exhibition organiser and managing director Colin Murphy said: “I am delighted to have the opportunity to broaden our market-leading food industry events portfolio with this acquisition. Food hospitality will be a natural addition to our craft beers and spirits and food manufacturing events.”

The Food and Drink Conference and Exhibition will take place at Citywest Convention Centre on September 14th. This will be the largest gathering of food industry professionals with six co-located events including food manufacturing, speciality fine foods, craft beers and spirits, free from foods, forecourt retailing and food quality and safety.


clonbawn-sour-creamAldi’s Clonbawn Sour Cream, produced by Green Pastures of Lifford, Co. Donegal, has been crowned the champion at the international 2016 Great Taste Awards, receiving a three gold star rating. Heralded as the Foodie Oscars, the Great Taste Awards, organised by the Guild of Fine Food, is the acknowledged benchmark for excellence for food and drink.

Over 10,000 food and drink products were blind tested by expert judges this year, with the winners chosen by a panel made up of top chefs, cookery writers, food critics, restaurateurs and fine food retailers following a rigorous judging process. Produced exclusively for Aldi, Clonbawn’s Sour Cream is available for just 75c/200ml and beat a host of leading brands to take the title. Aldi took away a total of 32 titles at this year’s awards, totalling 272 Great Taste Awards since 2010.

Many of Aldi’s triumphant products are sourced from market leading Irish suppliers, indicating Aldi investment in developing the longstanding partnerships with Irish producers and communities. Over 50% of Aldi’s supplier spend is now with Irish suppliers, producers and manufacturers.