Invest Northern Ireland Helps Local Food Companies Extend Their Reach

May 11, 2006

As part of its continued commitment to improving the strength of Northern Ireland’s food and drink industry, Invest NI will help ten local companies to exhibit at Bord Bia’s third international Speciality Food Forum today the 11th May at the Royal Hospital, Kilmainham.

Designed to help build relationships between speciality food producers and potential buyers, the exhibition will feature an impressive line up of international speakers, including Ewan Venters, Food and Catering Director with Selfridges & Co. and Karen Todd, Local Choice Manager with ASDA Wal-Mart, UK.

At the event current changes in premium food retailing will be discussed as well as the importance of the speciality foods sector at a regional, national and international level.

Visiting buyers drawn from major multiples, independent retailers, distributors and foodservice providers across the UK and the RoI will hold over 80 potential new business meetings with the participating Northern Ireland companies.

The winners of this year’s Great Taste Awards, considered as the ‘Oscars’ of the world of food and drink, will also be announced at a special gala awards dinner held after the meet the buyer event.

Invest NI’s support of the forum forms part of the work of the Food Strategy Implementation Partnership, delivered by Invest NI and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development with assistance from Bord Bia, to develop market-led products.

Commenting on the event Maynard Mawhinney, Director of Food at Invest NI said:

“Our participation further demonstrates the work we have engaged in through our Food Sector Market Advisers and our Trade team to give local specialty food companies the opportunity to make potentially lucrative business connections.

“No single event in itself can make a pivotal difference but when combined with other recent initiatives which we have supported such as the Hotelympia Exhibition, the Harrods Initiative and Covent Garden Market we are creating a cumulative effect that is making a real impact.

“This event will bring local companies face to face with over 100 buyers, as well as allowing them to assess their competition, gain a deeper insight into food sector innovation and new market trends within the industry,” he continued.

The nine local companies attending the event include:

•The Offbeat Bottling Company, Bangor

•Kettyle Irish Foods, Lisnaskea, Fermanagh

•Mash Direct, Comber

•Fivemiletown Creamery, Fivemiletown

•Good4U Food and Drink Company Ltd, Tyrone

•Kestrel Foods, Portadown

•Brownlee’s Handmade Preserves, Armagh

•Fermanagh Black Bacon Company Ltd, Enniskillen

•Finnebrogue Venison, Downpatrick

•Company of Irish Bakers, Belfast

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