Food star­tups aim­ing high

Irish Examiner - Supplement - - FOOD & DRINK IRELAND - Áilín Quin­lan bord BIA & KSG CATER­ING In.gre­di­ents pro­gramme

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

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