Robert Mosse outside The Little Mill in Bennettsbridge
As banana bread and sourdough became two of the biggest trends of lockdown, The Little Mill team in Bennettsbridge worked overtime to keep bakers happy in their kitchens.
The Little Mill is part of SuperValu’s Food Academy and as sales of SuperValu Food Academy products soar Robert Mosse of The Little Mill in Bennettsbridge, Co Kilkenny will tell you that it’s been a busy time to be a flour miller.
SuperValu saw sales of flour increase 270% in March and to remain that way for eight weeks throughout lockdown. Robert and his team adapted to the change with some longer days and hard work to meet the increased demand. However, as the seventh generation of Mosses in Bennettsbridge, he is no stranger to changes. Over the last three months sales of locally produced Food Academy products have soared in SuperValu stores across the country as people have supported local businesses. Across the Food Academy brands there has been a 22% rise in sales over the past 12 weeks as customers support local producers.
Since joining SuperValu’s Food Academy 5 years ago, The Little Mill’s products have gone from being stocked in 12 SuperValu stores to now being found in 70 stores all over Munster and Leinster. Along with wholemeal flour, the range includes spelt flour, soda bread mix, brownie mix, scone mix and more.
As demand for flour and baking mixes increased as people discovered a new love for baking during their days spent at home The Little Mill worked with SuperValu to make meeting the unprecedented demand for their product more manageable and ensure that shelves were kept stocked. Before the Covid-19 crisis struck the team delivered stock directly to each location every three or four weeks but as demand increased SuperValu moved to a process whereby SuperValu began collecting from them instead. Picking up the product and bringing it to SuperValu’s centralised warehouse saved The Little Mill valuable time needed to focus on production.
Keeping things local is important to Robert, The Little Mill has a strong network of local grain suppliers within 20km of their mill. Plans for the future include adding to the high quality range to encourage more customers to try their products but before that, Robert says they’re all due a few well deserved days off!
SuperValu Food Academy is a unique food business development programme between SuperValu, Bord Bia and the Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs). Participants in the programme receive training in market research and branding, food safety, marketing, finance and business development. Food Academy producers have sold a combined €140 million of produce in SuperValu since 2014, supporting 1,500 jobs in the economy. To date, 620 producers have come through the programme, with 272 producers currently enrolled in the programme.