Speaking at the event, Tara McCarthy, Director of Bord Bia’s Food and Beverage Division commented, “Supporting a dynamic, profitable and growth-oriented small business sector remains central to Bord Bia’s strategic plans and programmes. The guide provides valuable insight for producers and start-ups targeting the grocery retail market and it will help companies understand buyer requirements and the trading policies of the multiple retailers and independently owned speciality stores. With a current value of approximately €9 billion, and an average spend on grocery items per household of €5,500, grocery retail in Ireland represents a key sales opportunity for food producers.
The guide aims to highlight the issues that small companies and entrepreneurs face when entering the retail market in Ireland and to outline the demands that each route to market presents. It also includes profiles of the multiple retailers, discounters and an overview of independent specialist stores as well as a sample pricing model and a glossary of retail terms.
This ‘Guide to Retail for Small Food Producers’ is part of a series of publications from Bord Bia including the ‘Guide to Distribution for Food and Drink Producers’ and the forthcoming ‘Guide to Farmer’s Markets for Small Food Producers’. The ‘Guide to Online for Small Food Producers’ and the ‘Guide to Foodservice for Small Food Producers’ will complete the series in 2015.
Bord Bia works with over 400 small food businesses with an annual turnover of €400 million. Approximately 3,000 people are directly employed in the sector and in 2013, 187 companies were approved a total of almost €1 million in marketing grants. In 2014, many small firms will travel with Bord Bia to trade fairs across the UK, Germany and further afield.
At the event themed ‘Understanding a Changing Market’, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney, T.D. delivered the opening address while Niall Harbison, Founder of Simply Zesty, CEO of PR Slides and well known food blogger, provided insight into his varied businesses and how he created successful opportunities. Other key speakers included Paula Donoghue, Bord Bia’s Insight and Brand Manager, who shared research outlining the Irish consumer’s attitudes to eating and cooking, which was complimented by David Berry of Kantar Worldpanel, who presented on the Irish and UK retail landscape. Kenneth O’Connor, Local Project Manager, Musgrave Retailer Partners Ireland, and Darragh Flynn of the Happy Pear, the Wicklow based food market, afforded insight into how small businesses can gain retail expertise through the Food Academy programme, a collaborative initiative run by the County Enterprise Boards with the support of Bord Bia and Super Valu. Barry Murphy, Fit Fuel, winner of the Innovation Award at Bord Bia’s Food and Drink Industry Awards in November 2013, discussed innovation as a requirement to meet consumer’s changing needs. Professor Damien McLoughlin, UCD delivered an interactive session on how family run businesses can learn from the experiences of other similar companies, using the example of Mutti, a premium Italian tomato processor. Padraig Brennan, Senior Business Analyst, Bord Bia, alongside Alan Kingston of Glenilen Farm, highlighted the business benefits of Origin Green, the Irish food and drink industry’s sustainability development programme, while Tara McCarthy, Director of Bord Bia’s Food and Beverages Division, concluded the seminar with an overview of Bord Bia’s wide range of services and programmes to assist food producers. There was also a showcase of services on offer from other support agencies including the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, County Enterprise Boards, Enterprise Ireland and Teagasc.