Companies seek food business at 2012 Olympics

Fifty local food and drink companies have so far responded to an Invest Northern Ireland drive to encourage and help the industry to bid for London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic contracts.

Some 14 million meals will be needed for 16,500 athletes, 4,000 officials, 20,600 international broadcasters and journalists, and nine million ticket holders, across 40 different locations. A further five million meals are likely to be required at rowing and sailing locations.

The Northern Ireland companies have registered their products and capabilities on the CompeteFor internet portal that will be one resource used by caterers and other suppliers providing food and drink products and services at the various Olympic venues.

Invest NI is encouraging more local food and drink companies to register on the CompeteFor web portal before the end of October for food and drink related contracts.

Dr Vicky Kell, Invest NI Trade Director, said: “This is an immensely encouraging response to the work that Invest NI has been undertaking to ensure that as many local companies as possible are positioned to bid for the contracts being placed by major catering organisations.

“The opportunities for food and drink companies are certainly substantial and will involve contracts in excess of £150 million being placed.

“Invest NI cannot influence the tender process or the decisions made by Olympic catering contractors, however we are working to highlight the opportunities and offer practical support to Northern Ireland companies so they can compete strongly for contracts and submit effective tenders.

“Business relating to LOCOG, the Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, could also lead to companies being well placed to bid for other worthwhile contracts from forthcoming international events including the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.”

Invest NI has held a series of briefing seminars and workshops to help companies to register for 2012 business opportunities and continues to provide appropriate support.

The Olympics and Paralympics are also expected to generate up to £230 million for restaurants in London and over £300 million, including food and drink, for hotels used by overseas visitors to the games.

The LOCOG/Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) Food Vision set a requirement to include regional specialities, particularly from small and medium sized companies and artisan producers from across the UK, that promote and celebrate the variety, quality and diversity of UK food and drink, and also to source 80 per cent from ‘local’ suppliers.