UNION Hall Smoked Fish has signed an agreement worth €920,000 with SuperValu to supply a range of their products after securing nationwide distribution with Ireland’s leading grocery retailer arising from the company’s participation in the Food Academy programme.
Food Academy is a joint initiative between Bord Bia, the network of Local Enterprise Offices and SuperValu, and was established to support early-stage Irish food businesses.
Participating companies gain access to expertise in branding, market research, business development and distribution, to allow them to scale up and secure listings with SuperValu.
Union Hall Smoked Fish was set up in 1987 by Elmar, and the recently deceased John Nolan.
It is now run by their son Sean, who is the managing director at the West Cork firm.
Specialising in smoked salmon, mackerel, tuna, and fish patés, the Nolans brine the fish, and then they slowly oak smoke it in the centuries-old traditional smoking manner in their bespoke artisan smokehouse.
A coveted product, Union Hall Smoked Fish products are now available in over 85 SuperValu stores nationwide.
As part of their participation in the Food Academy programme through their Local Enterprise Office in Cork North and West, Union Hall have cultivated a unique network of local suppliers, who also participated in the programme.
This network is currently working together to help grow the renowned west Cork style of food.
Union Hall have also benefitted from over €50,000 in funding that they were able to access through their Local Enterprise Office to help them on their journey.
Sean Nolan, managing director of Union Hall Smoked Fish, said: ‘This deal with SuperValu was made possible through our participation in the Food Academy programme.
‘We have been able to invest throughout in our business, as well as in our top-class Artisan Smoke House through their support.
‘Furthermore, we now employ eight people, which has seen us reach new heights, including winning an award for our smoked mackerel at the Blas na hÉireann awards in 2017,’ he added.
‘Through the marketing and branding support of the Food Academy, we decided to come together with fellow suppliers in the West Cork region, which we hope will forge strong ties amongst this particular business community.’
Tara McCarthy, Bord Bia chief executive, said: ‘Through their hard work, they have expertly utilised the knowledge gained through their participation in the Food Academy Programme.
‘This deal highlights the growth potential for ambitious food producers and their important role in the Irish food and drink industry, capable of serving both local and national consumer needs,’ she concluded.