A significant number of jobs created through the food industry in Cork and Kerry

By Business & Finance
29 June 2015
food forum Cork and Kerry
Helena Hickey, Skeaghanore West Cork Duck; Hayley Milthorpe, The Cultured Food Co; Martina Horgan, Martina’s Seafood Pies; Therese Scott, Natural Larder Company and Jimmy Allen, De Roiste Foods. Picture: Miki Barlok

Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine Simon Coveney, announced 65 new jobs this morning at the Cork and Kerry Food Forum which took place at Cork City Hall over the weekend.

The 65 jobs are being created in food business start-ups as a result of the Food Academy, a collaboration between Bord Bia, SuperValu, Local Enterprise Offices of Cork and Kerry, Cork and Kerry County Council and Cork City County. The Cork and Kerry food producers who participated in Food Academy will generate sales worth €1.2m in 2015.

Speaking at the Forum today Minister Coveney, said, “Confidence and self-belief as innovators in the food and drinks sector are critical success factors for  start-up enterprises. Food Academy – a unique collaboration between Bord Bia, SuperValu and the Local Enterprise Offices – is helping start-ups to bring their innovative ideas to market stage. The net effect will be the creation of 65 jobs in 2015. A collaborative approach is the key to building success.”

The announcement was made today at the trade conference which was attended by over 400 food industry representatives and buyers and welcomed over 5,000 people to the public market on Sunday.

Also speaking at the event, Martin Kelleher, SuperValu managing director, added: “Through our partnership with Bord Bia and the Local Enterprise Offices, more than 30 small food businesses from Cork and Kerry who are part of the Food Academy will generate sales worth €1.2m this year, leading to the creation of 65 jobs.

“This is a real endorsement to the Food Academy initiative which allows us to bring community based food start-ups to the retail market and provides them with the potential to grow their businesses even further, providing employment for themselves, members of their community and for some – family members. It is great to nurture the energy and passion of these entrepreneurial producers and harness this into producing a range of products that we are proud to stock on our shelves. By matching SuperValu stores with startup food business in their area, the Food Academy programme is providing a real boost for local economies throughout Ireland.”

As SuperValu stores are independently owned and operated, SuperValu retailers are able to source directly from local suppliers on a one-to-one basis, enabling these start-up food businesses to gain their first retail listings in stores in their community. SuperValu is also working with these producers to get their products listed in a cluster of nearby stores in order to set them on a long-term path of sustainable growth.

Assistant head of Enterprise of Cork LEO, Joe Burke added: “This is the sixth year of Cork Kerry Food Forum which is primarily a food producers network that gives an opportunity to meet trade buyers both locally and nationally and in more recent years a public market. The event has a huge local following with over five thousand in attendance yesterday at the public market. The theme for this year’s event is Food Innovation which is a vital ingredient for the sustainability of any food business. Creating the environment of bringing customers and producers together face-to-face gives life to food innovation to build sustainable food businesses and create more jobs in our communities.”

SuperValu serves over 2.6 million customers every week and 75% of everything on SuperValu’s shelves is sourced or produced in Ireland.  SuperValu continues to source locally wherever possible and purchases almost €2 billion worth of goods from Irish suppliers which helps to sustain 30,000 jobs in the Irish economy.