Supporting the growth of NI's food and drink sector


John Hood
Jul 19, 2018

We have an industry of resilient, resourceful companies who have the passion and commitment to succeed no matter what the future holds.

Northern Ireland’s agriculture and food processing sectors contribute significantly to our economy, accounting for over 20 per cent of Northern Ireland's exports and directly employing around 22,000 people.

Invest Northern Ireland remains focused on driving economic growth and providing the most efficient and effective support to customers in our food and drink sector located right across Northern Ireland.

In line with our Business Strategy for 2017 to 2021, we are working to help ensure that the local agri-food processing industry remains competitive. We understand that reliable market intelligence and consumer insight is vital in helping companies find potential customers, effectively sell and merchandise products, identify market opportunities and develop the right products to meet the needs of current and new customers.

Businesses must put consumers at the heart of what they do and to achieve this effectively, it is vital that they understand, and have insight into, changing trends and consumer needs. Invest NI Business Information Centre holds research covering both consumer and industrial markets. Several of these resources focus on the food and drink sector and provide up-to-date research to help companies make decisions about their products. Businesses are also using these resources to explore packaging ideas and help develop marketing messages which will resonate with the consumer.

We want to help those already exporting to sell more, in established and new markets, and to provide practical support and advice to those wishing to become successful exporters.

We have an expanding global network designed to support Northern Ireland businesses who are keen to explore new prospects. That, coupled with the provision of in-market expertise and resources should help drive the local food and drink industry towards further growth in international premium markets.

- John Hood, Director of Food and Tourism, Invest NI

We want to be regarded by our customers as a trusted business partner and we will continue to help local food and drink producers to position themselves to meet the challenges ahead. We want to ensure that they are as productive and efficient as is possible and are ready to maximise opportunities.

In the case of many large businesses, we are working to identify where we can provide meaningful support to complement a company’s own internal capability and existing activity. For smaller food and drink businesses, there is practical support and advice available to maximise the commercial opportunities in Great Britain which is often their final market outside Northern Ireland.

Northern Ireland’s reputation for pure, natural, quality food and drink is spreading throughout the world. We are delighted that our food and drink businesses are becoming ever more visible and ambitious in taking their products to growing world markets. Our focus remains on supporting all customers in Northern Ireland’s food and drink sector to maximise their profitability through efficient use of resources, continued innovation of products and considered growth in external and export markets.

Want to find out more?

If you are a food and drink business, contact us and we will put you in touch with a member of the food team who will outline the support service we provide.

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