Food startups aiming high
In.gredients programme participants tell how Bord Bia and KSG Catering are giving them new skills to bring their products to the foodservice market.
Seven Irish food and drink companies have joined a new programme which is helping smaller companies get their products listed in the food-service market.
For the first time Bord Bia and KSG Catering, an Irishowned firm that currently employs more than 1,000 people, came together to run the ‘ In. gredients’ programme, a six- month scheme under which businesses receive specialised support to help them grow business in some of the 110 outlets around the country run by the award- winning KSG Catering.
The company serves food to more than 12 million customers every year and was awarded Ireland’s Sustainable Restauranteur of the Year 2016.
Food companies under the umbrella of the In. gredients programme produce everything from natural, healthy snacks to indulgent hand- cooked vegetable crisps, premium Irish charcuterie and award-winning spices, sauces and chutneys.
Firms participating in the programme include East Cork firms, gourmet vegetable crisp-producer, Joe’s Farm Crisps, and the Green Saffron brand which produces spice blends, sauces and chutneys from spices sourced by family members in Moradabad, India.
The workshop-based programme, which is carefully coordinated by Bord Bia, supports companies at varying stages in their development. In addition, participants receive bespoke mentoring as well as access to relevant KSG personnel and help in gaining an understanding of the organisation’s processes and procedures. Clear objectives and targets are set for each company to help them achieve key opportunities identified for their business with KSG which currently provides bespoke contract catering solutions to a broad range of clients operating in a wide range of industry sectors, including professional offices, healthcare, education and travel.
Nick Andrews, group head of culinary operations, KSG, said that as a 100% Irish- owned company, KSG was proud to partner with Bord Bia to support the development of local food producers.
“We are delighted that through this programme, Irish companies will have the opportunity to use KSG to grow their business and learn from our foodservice experience and consumer insight.”
It’s a sector full of potential — the foodservice or “out of home” market grew to a record € 7.5 billion in 2016, and is forecasted to grow to over €9bn by 2020, according to Bord Bia.
Foodservice describes all food consumed out of home, from restaurants, hotels, coffee shops and bars to workplace catering, hospitals, education and vending.
This market has benefited from better than anticipated economic growth, buoyant consumer confidence, a strong domestic and international tourist market (including business tourism), an unemployment rate that is now less than 7%, and the continuation of 9% VAT for hospitality.
Highlighting the sector’s prospects, Maureen Gahan, Bord Bia’s Foodservice Specialist said foodservice in Ireland offered major opportunities for food and drink companies providing innovative products and solutions to meet changing consumer needs.
“Through programmes such as this, we are equipping companies with the necessary skill-set to target this growing industry.”
“Going Green: Over 60,000 farmers and 500 food producers are becoming more sustainable with Bord Bia’s Origin Green, the only sustainability programme in the world operating on a national scale.
Nick Andrews, group head of culinary operations with KSG Catering, Maureen Gahan, Bord Bia foodservice specialist, and Simon Povall, business development director, KSG, launching the new ‘In.gredients’ programme. Picture: Gary O’ Neill