Starting your own food business can be daunting however, there are many options available to assist you along your journey. Here we give information on the various resources and agencies that will make the process easier for you;
First things first, contact the HSE, they will put you in contact with an appropriate competent authority to register your business which is most often your local Environmental Health Officer (EHO). All food businesses must be registered regardless of the size or where it is operated from – be it your own home, a food truck or a kitchen unit.
Once you have identified the premises you wish to operate from, your EHO will offer you advice on the health and safety aspects of your business and on your proposed plans and ideas. Your EHO will clarify any queries you have regarding your legal obligations under food safety laws and regulations including design and layout, training and food safety management systems. It is always a good idea to engage with a professional food safety officer as they have proven experience and knowledge on meeting the necessary requirements.
Local Enterprise Office (LEO)
Contact your Local Enterprise Office. Your LEO will give you advice and mentoring and provide you with business plans and training programmes to help you find your feet.
Dublin Food chain
The Dublin Food Chain is a marketing and network forum that represents many food/beverage businesses in Dublin. The Dublin Food Chain is a collaborative initiative of Bord-Bia and Local Enterprise Offices in Dublin. They support and mentor SMEs through their journey of starting a food business.
Dublin Food Chain offer:
- Group training initiatives
- Food forums
- Networking events
- Group marketing initiatives
- Online tool for SMEs to navigate the range of government supports.
The Food Safety Authority Ireland (FSAI)
The FSAI offer information on legislation and regulations that are vital when starting a food business. They offer advice and information on food safety training, how to set up your food safety management system, labeling regulations, nutritional content information, and advice on the correct steps involved in product withdrawal/recall.
The FSAI host seminars such as ‘Small Food Business Start-Ups’ where they assist small food businesses or those with the hopes to start a food business. The seminar allows participants to gain advice and hear talks from experts on how to manage food safety, what to expect from an inspection, registering a small food business and information of food safety regulations.
Bord-Bia offers consulting services for SMEs to help improve their strategic capabilities and have a number of specific initiatives;
Bord-Bia vantage: this is an online resource center for small food businesses. It provides information for early stage food businesses including financial product development distributor and export information.
Bord-Bia’s Brand Forum: Works with Irish food and drink companies to develop and grow their brands and their business. It provides its members with a range of branding tools that are consumer centric and commercially pragmatic. The Forum provides practical thought leadership and best practise in branding.
The Brand Forum hosts quarterly events, which present its members with an opportunity to step back from daily challenges to be inspired, informed and to connect with industry colleagues. The Brand Forum Events give the opportunity to participants to hear from expert brand speakers from food/beverage industries worldwide. They provide talks from expert grant speakers from the food industry as well as Q&A sessions.
The Kick start your own food business programme
This is a short two day programme that accommodates those with a food idea or those at the very early stages of starting a food business. This programme will provide participants with useful information for starting up a food business.
The covered topics include:
· The role of various agencies such as LEO and Bord-Bia.
· Food safety (HACCP, Nutritional content, labelling)
· The finances involved in setting up your own food business.
· Information of the Irish food sector
· Identification of the pit falls associated with starting your food business
· The role of packaging and branding
· Distribution options and direct selling.
The Food Academy Programme
The Food Academy programme’s aim is to provide small food businesses with a solid foundation to progress on to retail shelves. The ‘Food Academy’ programme promotes entrepreneurship and is designed for people looking to develop and grow their food/beverage business. It is a collaboration between SuperValu, Bord-Bia and The Local Enterprise Office. It is the next step after the ‘kick start your food business programme’ and is delivered through one-to-one mentoring and workshops. The programme involves four workshops where participants will cover six modules.
The modules include the following topics:
· Market Background
· Understanding Consumers
· Technical Issues
· Growing sales
The participants are given the opportunity to pitch their idea to a panel of SuperValu representatives and will then receive mentorship and expert advice from the panelists, allowing them make any necessary changes to ensure their success. Participants are given the opportunity to trial their product in their local stores over a 12 week period. This allows businesses get real, honest feed-back from consumers.