Food Academy

Food Academy is a training programme aimed at supporting and nurturing start-up food businesses. Bord Bia, SuperValu and the Local Enterprise Offices have joined forces on this initiative to provide a consistent level of food marketing knowledge to new and early-stage food business owners.

Programme Structure:

1: Food Academy Start
In 2013, to help develop Ireland’s artisan industry further, Bord Bia, SuperValu and the Local Enterprise Offices joined forces to create ‘Food Academy Start’, a tailored programme that provides a platform for new and early-stage food business owners to develop a commercially viable business.

For the first time, food start-ups regardless of their location have access to a standardized programme of supports throughout the country. Food Academy Start, which is delivered through workshop style training, and supported by SuperValu in the context of retail expertise and providing a route to market, is designed to guide companies from start-up to their first retail listing.

The aim of Food Academy Start is to provide small food businesses with a solid foundation to progress confidently onto retail shelves. All participants in Food Academy are given the opportunity to pitch their product or idea to a panel of SuperValu representatives including the local SuperValu owner. This panel mentors the businesses and passes on its expertise and advice, to allow the participants make any changes deemed necessary to improve their offer. Crucially SuperValu also provide successful participants with the opportunity to trial their product in their local stores for a period of 12 weeks. This provides a real advantage to small businesses in terms of real retail learnings, as they are in a position to liaise with the store to gain feedback on their product from both the store staff and consumers. Such learnings will help the producer to further develop their product, marketing approach, packaging and distribution.

For more information or to register your interest in Food Academy Start, visit or contact your Local Enterprise Office.

2: Food Academy Advance
Food Academy Advance aims to identify and support high potential Food Academy Start graduates who have the potential to scale up to provincial (25-30 stores) or eventually even national (full estate) supply within Supervalu.

Food Academy Advance is the second tier of the Food Academy programme and was first launched in November 2014, with one group of companies annually completing this tier. The supports within Food Academy Advance include a series of workshops, one-to-one key account management mentoring sessions and a one-to-one finance mentoring session, together with store and depot site visits. Participants also have ongoing access to SuperValu trading managers and key account contacts to best position these companies to trade successfully at a provincial level with SuperValu.

The companies participating in Food Academy Advance in 2017 are:
  • Absolute Nutrition
  • Pizza Sorrento
  • The Galway Food Company
  • Fresh from the Pier
  • The Little Pharma
  • Nutmost
  • Oh Naturelle!
  • Fused by Fiona Uyema
  • Forage & Cure
  • Fiona’s Nutterly Nutritious
  • Black Castle Drinks
  • West Cork Gourmet
  • Homespun Foods
For further information on the Food Academy Advance, please contact Gillian Willis: