Food Chains for Competitive Advantage is an EU funded programme supported by Bord Bia based on helping food and drink SMEs with their new product development.

The Irish Export Association (IEA) are in their first year of delivering the programme, with 10 companies already on board: Hogan’s Farm, Clonarn Clover, Wicklow Farmhouse Cheese, Newgrange Gold, Flanagans’ Fish, Ballyburden Meats, McCormack’s Farm, Safa Foods, Seery’s Bakery and Shackletons Milling.

The service provides companies who sign up to the programme with a mentor, an expert in the area of food marketing and development, who will provide 11/12 days of one to one mentoring assisting them in launching a new product, from consumer insight and their innovation strategy to new product development right through to the branding of their product.

As well as this consultancy, IEA offers workshops on various subjects such as Consumer Insights, Innovation, Finance, Project Management and Sensory Analysis.

The final workshop is on Food Law and will take place on the 18th of July. IEA are also allowing their 10 companies to take a stand at the Ploughing Championships in September as part of the IEA stand to promote their products, and perhaps launch their new product as a result of the FCCA programme.

Food Chains from Competitive Advantage will be recruiting 15 more companies to join the programme in 2014 and are hoping to start the recruitment drive from as early as September to ensure that 15 companies are ready to go in January. The workshops will be repeated as will the one to one consultancy.

Interested parties are asked to contact [email protected] or call (01) 6424170.