Beef companies go Dutch to boost export sales

Salesmen from Northern Ireland’s biggest beef and lamb companies have held a series of high level business pitches in the Netherlands.

Organised by Invest NI, the intensive sales drive, which took place from 4 - 6 February, included major retailers, caterers and foodservice organisations.

Companies taking part in the sales drive included ABP, Newry; Dunbia, Dungannon; Foyle Food Group, Londonderry; and Linden Foods, Dungannon.

They met senior buyers from Dutch companies supplying a range of beef, lamb and pork products to retailers, hotels, restaurants and canteens, both private and public sector, across the Netherlands.

Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster said: “Invest NI set up this sales drive as part of its focus on helping the red meat industry in Northern Ireland to grow exports. It sought to increase awareness of the outstanding quality and variety of Northern Ireland beef and lamb in one of our most important European markets.

“Local Northern Ireland companies have continued to supply meat to the Netherlands over the years and customers there remain in both the retail and food services. The aim of this sales drive, was to provide practical assistance and advice about Northern Ireland meat products, to strengthen sales in the Netherlands region.”

Sales pitches were made to seven companies with total annual meat sales in excess of £3billion. These included industry leaders such as Sligro Food Group in Amsterdam, an operator of 150 supermarkets, representing 35% of the Dutch market, 44 cash and carry depots and ten major distribution centres across the country; Van Der Zee in Emmen, one of the largest butchers in the Netherlands and Deli XL in Ede, which has 30,000 customers in catering and foodservice.

The meetings were set up by Invest NI with assistance from Northern Ireland Trade Consultants in Amsterdam, an export development consultancy, which also looked after transport arrangements in the Netherlands.

Arlene Foster continued: “Invest NI has been successful in pinpointing and lining up key buyers in the Netherlands biggest procurement organisations, which supply supermarkets, hotels, restaurants, canteens and public sector outlets, such as hospitals and care homes.

“Over the past year, Invest NI has taken other initiatives to support the local red meat industry, including one-to-one meetings with buyers in Spain, Denmark, Sweden and Italy. It has also hosted buying missions from these markets to Northern Ireland.”