More than 300 jobs are being created in food business startups as a result of the Food Academy Start programme, a collaborative initiative between the Local Enterprise Offices, Bord Bia and Supervalu.

According to Supervalu, over 200 food business startups and producers who participated in Food Academy Start will supply Supervalu retailers for the first time, generating sales worth €5 million and significant employment this year.

The announcement was made by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Marine Simon Coveney, at the Cork and Kerry Food Forum announced that food business startups plan to create 300 new jobs within 12 months, after receiving listings with their local Supervalu stores.

The small food businesses secured the listings following their participation in the Food Academy Start programme, a collaboration between Bord Bia, Supervalu and Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs).

As 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 the companies involved to get their products listed in a cluster of nearby stores in order to set them on a long-term path to supplying their network of 223 stores.

The announcement was made at the largest artisan food market, the Cork and Kerry Food Forum, which hosted a trade conference attended by over 400 food industry representatives, a showcase and food market with tastings and cookery demonstrations for more than 1,000 members of the public, who turned up to support local producers.