SuperValu plans to invest more than €700,000 into a new partnership with Guaranteed Irish, the business membership organisation promoting home-grown and international businesses operating in the State.
The grocery retailer, which has 217 stores, said 75 per cent of the produce stocked on its shelves was sourced in Ireland and that it would highlight and raise awareness of the benefits of purchasing Guaranteed Irish member brands in a new campaign.
This will take the form of in-store content, such as point-of-sale materials, digital advertising, television advertising that bears the Guaranteed Irish symbol and promotional leaflets delivered to 1.2 million households. Its “Bag for Life” products will also display the symbol of the organisation.
"Working with over 1,800 Irish suppliers, SuperValu is uniquely placed to support more Irish food producers than any other grocery retailer," said SuperValu managing director Martin Kelleher.
Guaranteed Irish chief executive Bríd O’Connell said the partnership meant the label would “return to the forefront of consumers’ mind, helping them to support producers in Ireland when carrying out their food shopping”.
Guaranteed Irish now has more than 500 members, which employ almost 50,000 people between them. The organisation has embarked on a membership push under Ms O’Connell, who was appointed to lead the organisation in 2016, and hopes to double its membership by the end of 2020.
Members of the organisation, which span all sectors, do not strictly have to be Irish companies, though they have to create products or services in Ireland or add significant value here to those products or services. They are appraised by the organisation on their ability to create sustainable jobs and on their community credentials.
Other food and drink members include Kerry Foods, Tayto, Manhattan, Clonakilty Black Pudding, Brennans Bread, Pat the Baker, Johnston Mooney and O'Brien, Sheridan's Cheesemongers, Flahavans and Ballymaloe Foods.
Guaranteed Irish began in late 1974 as a campaign run by the Irish Goods Council and was regarded as a more sophisticated message than the “Buy Irish” campaign of the decade before.
After the European Community took the Irish government to court in the early 1980s to stop the campaign on the basis it contravened the Treaty of Rome, it was resurrected as an independent not-for-profit in the mid-1980s, but the scheme eventually fell out of favour.
The organisation is keen that its modern iteration does not promote an exclusionary idea of Irishness. The organisation deliberately uses the phrase “businesses based in Ireland” rather than only “Irish businesses”, while its slogan is “All Together Better”.