Munster Rugby got a pre-European Champions Cup quarter-final boost today as it signed a three-year deal with leading café brand Zest! that will see the popular Mid-West food retailer provide all meals for its senior and academy squads during training and travel.
The deal will see Zest! provide, at no cost, a bespoke catering service to Munster that will include specific dietary drive and individualised meals for all squad sessions at the High Performance Centre at UL, as well as food packs for travel. It will see up to 15,000 meals per annum supplied by the Shannon based company.
The agreement was officially signed off today at Shannon Airport, home to one of Zest’s cafés, located airside, as well as its public restaurant, JJ Ruddles, as the players departed Shannon for Edinburgh ahead of tomorrow’s match.
The deal is a formalisation of a partnership between the two brands that started 18 months ago when Zest! began providing food once a week for Munster squad sessions at the High Performance Centre.
Now Zest! will provide breakfast, lunch and snack meals tailored to the specific requirements of each individual player for the squad sessions three times weekly and for their travel.
Zest! is headquartered in Shannon but has cafes also in Ennis - Zest! At The Market, Market Place, and Limerick - Zest! At Perry Square, Limerick City Gallery of Art; Zest! At Casey’s, Raheen Roundabout; Zest! At EZ Living, Ballysimon Road.
Said Head of Commercial and Marketing at Munster Rugby Doug Howlett, “This is an excellent partnership for us at Munster Rugby and a very significant commitment by Zest! We have built a really strong relationship over the past 18 months and have been very happy with all elements of their operations. The modern athlete has very specific dietary requirements which vary from player to player and meeting that involves, apart from anything else, a complex logistics operation.
“Zest! has not alone been looking after those for some time now but the quality and taste has been exceptional. We also like their concentration on sourcing as much produce as they can locally, and that’s very much to our approval given the strong sense of community that Munster Rugby is built on.”
Said Ean Malone, co-owner of Zest!, “Munster have been fantastic to work with from the off. They apply the same level of professionalism off the field as they do on it and aside from this being one of the greatest brands in Irish sport, this is the type of standard that we want to work with.
“Becoming Munster Rugby’s food partner is validation of the hard work and quality of our entire team. We have a big Munster fan base among our 230 staff, and they are really proud of the fact that they are now a cog in the Munster machine.”
Said Fiona Barry, also co-owner at Zest!, “This is a big commitment on our side but one we are delighted to make because of all that Munster stands for. The players have to watch everything they eat, and our job is to ensure they get on their plate and in their snack packs food that’s high on taste and quality but food that also meets their individual dietary requirements.
“That encompasses meals at their High Performance Centre for their senior squad and their academy. It even works right through to today when the players arrive at Shannon Airport and receive their individualised Zest! packs that will see them through to the afternoon when they check into their hotel. We're looking forward to working with Munster Rugby across this partnership and hoping for a big result tomorrow!”