Invest NI Asks Sainsbury's to Try Something New

Apr 07, 2006

Eighteen local companies are today getting the chance to pitch their produce to one of the UK’s biggest supermarket chains, at an event organised by Invest Northern Ireland.

The Meet the Buyer event will bring the companies face to face with key buyers from Sainsbury’s, who are keen to source more Northern Ireland niche products.

There will be an extensive range of products on offer from local companies, including ice cream, organic mushrooms, bacon, fruit smoothies and cider.

Maynard Mawhinney, Invest NI’s Director of Food, says: “This is a tremendous opportunity for local companies to promote their goods to one of the UK’s top food retailers. These companies recognise that to be offered shelf space in a major multiple they must offer highly differentiated, quality products that are targeted to the needs of the buyer.

The event forms part of the work of the Food Strategy Implementation Partnership’s ‘Fit for Market’ report, being delivered by Invest NI and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, which recommends that local companies develop market-led products. The participating companies have all developed innovative products that show an understanding of shifts in consumer behaviour.

At the event the companies will also get the opportunity to hear from Sainsbury’s Northern Ireland Commercial Manager James Laws and its Senior Buyer Patrick Murney. They will give advice on how to sell successfully to Sainsbury’s, giving an insight into what the store is looking for.

James Laws, Sainsbury’s Northern Ireland Commercial Manager, says:

“We know that Northern Ireland agri-food companies are producing very high quality products. We are keen to source products that meet the demands of emerging niche markets such as speciality and functional foods. This event is an excellent way for us to find out what local companies can offer and at the same time advise local producers about our needs as a major UK outlet.”

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