ACBI appoints new Chief Executive

24 Nov 2010

A message from John Hickey, CEO of ACBI

Over the summer I was engaged by the board of ACBI to draw up a strategic plan for the organisation so that the new foundations for the rebuilding of the association would be firmly in place by the time a new chief executive was appointed.
In a retail environment of fierce competition, declining spend and margin loss, the local craft butcher is the only truly Irish family owned independent retailer left standing. The local craft butcher is the only service provider left to serve at the heart of the local community. Against this background and in the context of the recent members needs survey, a number of major initiatives are underway.
By January 2011, the head office of ACBI will have relocated to the Ashtown Food Centre. This signals a partnership between ACBI and Teagasc that will see the setting up of an educational and training forum with international associations in Holland.
Work is already underway to develop an ACBI brand through the assistance of funding received from both Enterprise Ireland and the Irish Exporters Association. It is envisaged that under the ACBI's retail brand, a range of unique fresh food products will be made available exclusively to members via our distribution partner. A central buying function will also be set up to cost efficiently purchase a range of ambient food products and services for our members.
There is an absence of consumer awareness of the ACBI brand. Strategic alliances with chef Nevin Maguire and the Farmer's Journal are the first steps in a major marketing campaign scheduled for Autumn 2011.
I intend to review and improve the current structure of the organisation. I propose to set-up regional boards, one in each province through which to create a greater sense of involvement and communication with all of our members. To bring greater continuity and stability to the future of the Association, I intend to explore enlarging the remit of the board members.
It is the obligation of the association to see that each butcher is equipped to fight and win in the current hostilities in the retail market. I feel by taking these initial steps, we can together, make the local butcher shop an essential part of the weekly shopping experience for the Irish consumer.
It is with greater pleasure and excitement that I take up this role. I believe strongly in the value that the Irish Craft Butcher can bring to the marketplace and I look forward to building awareness on the importance of our local craft butcher. This is your association and your craft and I very much welcome your comments and ideas. Please contact me by email at john.hickey@craftbutchers.ie