Food and Drink Support

Expert guidance for food businesses in Northern Ireland.

Welcome to our Food Support section, offering a range of practical advice for both food service and food products businesses across Northern Ireland.

We can provide in-depth support and guidance on the various business issues faced by food companies: from product development to stock control and waste management, from packaging development to help with tenders and marketing, and from energy and resource efficiency to protecting intellectual property.

Explore the range of guidance we offer through the links above.

Contact our
Business support team
0800 181 4422
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Food and Drink Support

Packaging and Product Development

When it comes to the food industry, the area of product development is of great importance.

With so much competition out there, making your product or packaging different is crucial if you want to stand out in the marketplace and open up new market opportunities.

We can provide guidance and support on vital issues such as developing new or refreshing existing products to ensure you remain competitive; this can include the packaging which must accommodate translation and ingredient details for new markets.

We can advise you on:

Product development

  • Developing unique selling points
  • Adapting products for international markets
  • Funding for developing new or existing products
  • Transit packaging, labelling and delivering less packaging waste
  • Market trends that need to be adopted into products e.g. gluten free, healthy eating options
  • Sensory evaluation, micro analysis, nutritional and allergen advice
  • Analysis of customer preference


  • Brand development
  • Sealing freshness provision by packaging
  • Translation
  • Meeting regulations and cultural needs
  • Presentation and display adaptations
  • Food information labelling requirements
  • Packaging ideas

Shelf life extension

  • Adapting recipes to increase product shelf life
  • Acquiring expertise in both ambient and chilled sections

Production and Cost Savings

Production efficiency is key to achieving cost savings in the short term, and building a sustainable future in the long term.

Many food companies in Northern Ireland want to become more resource efficient. Our teams can provide practical advice and support in identifying and implementing a range of good practice efficiency techniques and measures.

We can advise you on:

  • How to reduce waste and improve efficiency
  • Water utilisation
  • Effluent treatment
  • Energy usage, including refrigeration
  • Food waste legislation
  • Improving usage of ICT within your business
  • Improved supplier engagement and communication

We can help you obtain:

  • Loans for energy efficiency projects

Stock control / production

Contact us for ICT advice on:

  • Food traceability/security
  • Barcoding and labelling software
  • Ingredients/raw material batch control
  • Managing and tracking order fulfilment
  • Management reporting systems
  • Shop floor data capture
  • Time management systems
  • Integrated scheduling and traceability

Industrial symbiosis

We provide expert guidance on how to recover the value from by-products of food and drink production and reduce wasted resources going to landfill.

Sales and Marketing

It is important that you understand how to effectively market your food product or service. Using appropriate marketing techniques will ensure that your business' products or services reach their ideal customers. The marketing channels available are many, but to be successful you need to understand your target audience, the mode of operation in the target market and the needs of your customers.

We have a host of information and guidance on how to market your business better, so that you can open up new opportunities for growth in different markets.

We can advise you on:


  • Website development: multi-lingual/multi-currency/online shop
  • Online marketing: email, social media, paid and using online marketplaces e.g. eBay/Amazon
  • Optimising sales conversions on your website and improving the user experience to drive sales conversions
  • Collaborative working – Brand NI


  • Marketing and export strategy development
  • Finding new customers – tracking government tenders
  • Pricing strategies
  • Developing selling messages for different markets
  • Email marketing to encourage customer retention and cost effectively promoting your products or services
  • Identifying and using the right channels


  • Brand development, safeguarding and imagery guidance

In-market certification

  • Achieving the correct standards/approvals for your specific offering and market eg. HACCP, BRC, Salsa, FDA, ISO9001, ISO14001

Country information

  • Export documentation
  • Taxation and insurance
  • Risks and rewards

Customer relationship management

  • Improving customer engagement and reducing administration
  • Achieving follow-on sales

Technical and Compliance

Food companies encounter many technical challenges such as getting the right accreditations to sell in any market and ensuring these are correctly included in relevant paperwork and packs. You also need to ensure you are protecting your assets both physical and intellectual. There is a cost to the physical transportation of items so you need to ensure you are using the most cost effective methods possible.

Our experts will guide you through these challenges with specialist advice across a wide range of technical and legislative issues.

We can provide:

Environmental accreditation

  • Technical consultancy support to help you achieve an environmental management system such as ISO 14001 or other similar accreditations

Transport efficiencies

  • Technical consultancy to assist you to make efficiencies in the transport and distribution of raw materials and manufactured products

We can advise you on:

Safeguarding assets

  • Protecting against cyber crime e.g. financial support for Cyber Essentials Plus
  • Protecting intellectual property – retaining USP e.g. trade marks
  • Labelling/packaging and labelling legislation
  • Ensuring intellectual assets are managed
  • Data security and data protection using backup solutions and/or cloud solutions
  • Compliance
  • Certification and management systems
  • Product safety
  • Efficiencies (including resources)
  • PQQ Audits and approved supplier documentation
  • Brewing
  • Corporate Social Responsibility