Why Food First Consulting?

“I love helping buyers and suppliers do better business together”

Food First Consulting was founded by Malachy O’Connor, an experienced and passionate food industry professional. Over the years, he saw so many potentially great deals fall through, not because buyers and suppliers disagreed, but because they were on completely different pages, with completely different needs. Our vision is that those great, once in a decade deals, don’t need to be so rare.  Our mission is to help suppliers and buyers do better business together by understanding each other’s needs, by bridging the gap between them.

Food First Consulting bridges that gap.

Based in Ireland, we have a unique knowledge of the retail world with a broad skills set thanks to +20 years experience in food technology, buying, buying director and marketing director roles, in a variety of c-store, multiple and discount supermarket retailers.

We offer 3 core services:

Food First Consulting provides services to a broad spectrum of clients.

  1. Start-ups and smaller businesses can access advice either directly via Food First Consulting or via Enterprise Ireland where Malachy is a business mentor.
  2. SME and larger branded businesses can access support directly via Food First Consulting.
  3. Private Label focused manufacturers and retailers can engage via IPLC (International Private Label Consult).
We’re eager to discuss your business needs and answer any questions you may have.

Everything we do is based on our values:  Impact, Comradeship and Creativity.

We believe in living and working with integrity and empathy so that we can have a positive impact on the world. We’re stronger together, as comrades, we encourage and challenge each other, we have each others backs.  And we are diverse, so we take perspective and look at things differently finding creative solutions in unlikely places.

Food First Consulting was set up to bridge gaps.  We do that in three ways.

Retail Insights
Malachy will help you get you inside the heads of the major retailers and help you do more and better business by understanding their pressures, their dynamics, what they want and what they need.
Negotiation Skills
Malachy will train you and your team to negotiate effectively with potentially bigger and more powerful opponents. Malachy can also strategically support on specific negotiations.
Strategy Development
Malachy will work with your team to develop a business strategy, be that for your entire business or with a specific segment or customer in mind.


IPLC (International Private Label Consulting) is a boutique consultancy firm specialising in strategic consultancy services and project management support to manufacturers and retailers.

With a broad and unrivalled understanding of the Private Label industry, we help our clients with a pragmatic and action-orientated approach.

Latest news
Grocery Market Commentary 12 w/e 6th September 2020

Headlines The Kantar Worldpanel data for the 12 weeks to September 6th sees SuperValu maintain 1st place with 22.1% market share of the take-home grocery market. Dunnes have moved up from third to second place on 21.3% followed by Tesco on 21.0%. Lidl are fourth with 12.7% and Aldi are fifth with 12.6%. The market […]

The Year in Groceries: 2020 So Far

The calm before the storm  The last hand I shook was on 5th March, in the lobby of the Radisson Blu Hotel in Letterkenny, after a fantastic 2-day client session. Within the first 10 weeks of 2020 I had visited London, New York, Dubai, Bologna and Milan via Bergamot. Covid-19 had already crept into our consciousness by […]

Covid-19 and Online Groceries

Many businesses are asking themselves about the true impact of the pandemic on online grocery shopping for customers, retailers, and suppliers. And this question filtered through in my recent AMA (ask me anything) webinar on 14th August. So, I’m going to quickly share what I have learned over recent months in the local market and around Europe.  Context  Back in March, April and May it was reported that up to half the world’s […]

What our Clients say
Glenisk has been working with Malachy since his departure from Tesco. Malachy’s insights have not only helped us forge closer ties with our retailers but his plain-speak and no-nonsense approach has assisted us in understanding retailer needs better than ever before. I believe that Malachy’s contribution to your company with ultimately enhance your bottom line and put you on a correct footing with your Retailers.
Vincent ClearyMD at Glenisk
I’ve known Malachy for over ten years now and can only recommend him as
a real professional in his food first consulting business. He is highly experienced, with knowledge in the purchasing and sales aspects of the food industry. It was important in my business that he was as passionate about food as I was, his support, enthusiasm and negotiation skills have helped my team immensely. Great balance of skills and an asset to any company.
Jackie ReidOwner & Sales Director at Deli Lites, Northern Ireland
Fantastic knowledge of the food industry and a great understanding of the economic challenges small to larger companies face in the current climate. A massive asset to any business.
Drew McIvorBusiness Development Executive at Invest Northern Ireland