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Grub's Up for 200 small irish food producers

Pictured at the Food Academy Conference at the Royal Hospital in Kilmainham yesterday are Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney, Rachel Nolan from dairy-free ice cream maker Nobo and SuperValu managing director Martin Kelleher.

The minister was present to welcome the news that 200 small food producers will secure retail listings worth €10m with SuperValu through the 'Food Academy' programme next year.

Food Academy is a joint initiative involving Bord Bia, the Local Enterprise Office Network and SuperValu that is designed to support small food companies in Ireland.

The results of a research study conducted with Food Academy participants were also launched at the conference.

The study reveals that almost 85pc of participants expect to employ new staff over the next 12 months, with almost a quarter expecting to take on more than three new workers during the period.

"We are delighted to be able to work hand in hand with budding artisan food producers, providing them with the opportunity to trial their products in local SuperValu stores and then grow their partnership with us as they scale their business and supply more SuperValu stores, creating local jobs in the process," Mr Kelleher said.