Compass Ireland Launch; Net Zero, Local Sourcing, Foodservices Innovation, Multi-Cultural Street Food, Frictionless Food-to-Go Store…..for Starters!
The relaunch of the Compass Group business in Ireland was announced this week at a briefing in Dublin, where the foodservices company sponsored a new ‘Chefs Green Room’ at the food festival, Taste of Dublin.
The global catering business is a new Taste of Dublin partner for 2021, celebrating the revival of the hospitality sector and the return of Dublin’s annual showcase of Irish culinary talent.
Compass Group is rebranding as Compass Ireland here, to recognise the company’s Irish team as a distinct business unit, at the forefront of global innovation.
The news was announced by newly appointed Irish MD, Deirdre O’Neill, who is spearheading a client-centred innovation programme with sustainability and local sourcing at its core.
“This is the next generation of foodservices, built around customer needs and employee wants, and espousing the local agri-food sector and sustainability as key business drivers”, O’Neill told clients and suppliers at the trade launch.
Leading culinary talent, Kevin Thornton, Ireland’s first ever two-Star Michelin Chef, was also revealed as a new company mentor. His role will include supporting food philosophy, menu development, training and team-building, along with Culinary Director, Shay Kendrick.
Compass Ireland is the first foodservices company here to publish a commitment to net zero greenhouse gas emissions in its own operations, and value chain, by 2030. Ambitious targets include promoting ‘plant forward’ meals, with a 30% switch from animal proteins by 2025, as well as reducing imports by 20% as part of its journey to net zero.
Deirdre O’Neill explains: “By reducing imported products by 20%, our Irish food sourcing will grow from 70% to 75%. Reduced spend on imports of around €500,000 is needed to meet our target”.
The business works with 180 Irish food producers, spending in the region of €35 million a year with its Irish supply base, reducing food miles and enhancing sustainability.
Compass Ireland has partnered with Ireland’s first commercial vertical farmer, Brian O’Reilly of Emerald Green, who uses cutting-edge indoor hydroponic farming technology. O’Reilly now supplies all fresh basil, previously sourced from Israel.
Compass Ireland accounts for annual revenue on the Island of Ireland in the region of €68 million. The business employs 1,500 people here, largely across onsite foodservice operations.
During the height of the pandemic, a new centralised Copper Pan Kitchen production facility and the launch of the Feedr ‘cloud canteen’ for app ordering, ensured food supply to clients wherever they were based.
New ground-breaking food solutions are now supporting the safe return to workplaces. These include an Irish Village Markets partnership for on-site food-trucks at client premises, offering enticing street food and multicultural cuisines.
The company announced it will launch Ireland’s first ‘frictionless’ Food-to-Go Store in Dublin in November, bringing next-generation retail to the market. Cutting-edge computer vision technology will let shoppers buy food-to-go, without waiting in line or stopping to scan or pay.
By innovating and adapting its operations and offering, Compass Ireland will ensure it continues to lead the industry, and stays relevant to clients and consumers, Deirdre O’Neill says.
“This new direction will allow us to continue to win new business, and ensure strong retention rates, so we constantly grow and further leverage our scale”.
Gender balance and enhanced diversity, including more female participation in culinary roles, is also planned. Michelin-star chef Danni Barry will become Compass Ireland ambassador for a new apprenticeship scheme.
The programme will support the skills development of existing employees and attract new talent, helping future-proof personnel needs in the business.