The Irish food board has partnered with KSG Catering to launch In.gredients, a programme designed to provide a route to market for smaller producers looking to sell their products to the Irish foodservice industry – worth £6.3bn (€7.5bn) last year.
The six-month workshop-based programme will mentor manufacturers and offer access to KSG and its partners.
Seven companies have already signed up to the new initiative: Forage&Cure, The Galway Food Company, Green Saffron, Joe’s Farm Crisps, Natasha’s Living Food, Synerchi and Urban Artisan.
Bord Bia foodservice specialist Maureen Gahan said: “Foodservice in Ireland offers major opportunities for food and drink companies providing innovative products and solutions to meet changing consumer needs.
‘Major opportunities for food and drink companies’
“Through programmes such as this, we are equipping companies with the necessary skillset to target this growing industry.”
According to Sandra Burns of crisp manufacturer Joe’s Farm, the programme has offered the company insight into how foodservice firms choose their suppliers and industry contacts.
“I am delighted to be taking part as foodservice is a sector I have not looked into supplying yet, so I hope I can open doors for the business and take it to the next level,” added Burns.
Irish owned KSG Catering manages catering contracts for professional offices, healthcare, education and travel.
The company also operates a number of restaurants in shopping centres around the country including SoMa Burger, Noah & Co Bistro Cafe and Leopold Coffee Houses.
‘Development of local food producers’
KSG group head of culinary operations Nick Andrews said: “As a 100% Irish-owned company, KSG is 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 scale to grow their business and learn from our foodservice experience and consumer insight.”
Meanwhile, the UK foodservice market was predicted to grow from £47bn in 2015 to £56.5bn by 2019, according analyst Horizons.
Companies signed up to In.gredients
- Forage&Cure – butcher and meat processor.
- Galway Food Company – manufacturer of a range of shortbread biscuits.
- Green Saffron – producer of spice blends, sauces and chutneys from spices sourced in India.
- Joe’s Farm Crisps – vegetable crisp manufacturer.
- Natasha’s Living Food – supplier of a vegan and raw food snack range.
- Synerchi – organic and free-from beverage manufacturer.
- Urban Artisan – owner of the Cracked Nut food shop in Dublin and snack manufacturer.