Retail Breakthrough For Kerry Food Start-Ups

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Back row; Thomas Foley, Pyro Desserts; Conor Hyde, Bullseye Food Consultancy; Jim Garvey, SuperValu; Michael Killoury, Musgraves; Mary Kate Mageean, SuperValu; Victor Sheahan, Kerry Local Enterprise Office; Ollie Diggin, Ardfert Dairy. Front row – Nicola Lynch, The Little Juice Factory; Paul Walker, Blair Farm Charcuterie; Eibhlis Diggin, Ardfert Dairy; Orla Walsh, chocolate biscuit cake & quiche.

FIVE food and drink producers from around the county, have made a retail breakthrough this month by securing a space on SuperValu shelves through the Food Academy programme.

Ollie Diggin, Ardfert Dairy; Paul Walker, Blair Farm Charcuterie; Nicola Lynch, The Little Juice Factory; Thomas Foley, Pyro desserts; and Orla Walsh, chocolate biscuit cake and quiche have all been supported by Kerry Local Enterprise Office through the Food Academy programme which began in March of this year.

This is a training and mentoring programme for food companies, run by the Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) jointly with Bord Bia and SuperValu.


These innovative Kerry food companies can now be found in key Kerry SuperValu stores from this month as part of a 10 week trial, marking a major milestone for the start-up food businesses.

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.

Congratulating the five Kerry businesses, Tomás Hayes with Kerry Local Enterprise Office 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 job creation in the County. 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.”

Karen Tyner, Small Business Manager with Bord Bia said: “Over the past five years, Bord Bia has been proud to work in collaboration with the Local Enterprise Offices and SuperValu to support hundreds of small food producers through Food Academy, providing them with a viable route to market and enabling them to achieve sustainable growth”.

MaryKate Mageean, SuperValu’s Food Academy Manager commented: “The Food Academy programme is a key pillar of our support for local producers and local businesses and we’re delighted to now have over 320 small Irish food companies well on the road to success, with their products on shelf in SuperValu stores around Ireland.”

Local food entrepreneurs are encouraged to find out more about the Food Academy programme by contacting Kerry Local Enterprise Office on 066 7183522 or

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