Food innovators at international exhibitions

Sixteen food companies, mostly smaller enterprises, are being helped by Invest Northern Ireland to display their products at two of the biggest exhibitions in the British Isles next week. They are taking part in stands organised by Invest NI’s Trade division at the Speciality and Fine Food Fair in London and the SHOP exhibition in Dublin, both of which run from 2-4 September.

Eleven companies will be on the Invest NI stand at SHOP in the RDS, Dublin, this is the first time the agency has taken a group stand at the exhibition. Five companies are being assisted by Invest NI to join the Bord Bia, Irish food board, presentation at the Speciality Food Show, one of the biggest events for smaller food processors in Europe.

Alan Hingston, Invest NI’s Director of Trade, commenting on the two events, says: “Both shows are ideal platforms for smaller companies to reach a targeted audience of buyers in the retail and foodservice sectors from across the British Isles and other parts of Europe. They are geared to smaller companies with innovative products for niche sectors, the type of businesses which form the backbone of our food industry.

“Our participation at both – the first time at SHOP – is a further demonstration of the strength of our support for a strategically important local industry. Assisting the growth of the food industry, especially SMEs, is a priority area for us and represents a substantial part of our overall budget to encourage sales outside Northern Ireland. We also have a team dedicated to food marketing.

“SHOP, now in its second year, is a unique event for the retail, food and drink industry in both parts of Ireland. Its main focus is on fresh ideas for the fast developing convenience industry.  It offers an opportunity for companies to build business in the Republic, which currently accounts for just 13 per cent of sales by local food processors.

“The Speciality and Fine Food Fair offers excellent opportunities for suppliers of high quality food and drink to meet the UK's leading independent retailers, food halls, delicatessens and restaurants.

“Our decision to join with Bord Bia enables us to participate in a larger group of companies and thereby to achieve a greater impact at this important event for niche market businesses. Our companies will be able to benefit from Bord  Bia’s ‘Ireland – the Food Island’ branding and supporting marketing activities. We have a good relationship with Bord Bia and have taken part in joint initiatives over many years,” adds Mr Hingston.

In the run up to the Speciality Food Show, Northern Ireland companies gained 23 gold awards for quality products in the Guild of Fine Food Great Taste Awards, which are an integral part of the event. These companies will be in the running for the overall winner and regional winner awards to be announced during the show.

Northern Ireland companies taking part at the SHOP Exhibition in Dublin from 2-4 September:

Active Packaging, Omagh – food packaging

Around Noon Sandwiches , Newry – sandwiches, wraps and rolls

Barefruit Products, Dundonald – smoothies

Dale Farm Dairies, Belfast – milk, butter and yoghurt

Davison Canners, Dungannon – apple and fruit compotes

Deli-Lite, Warrenpoint -  sandwiches

Kestrel Foods, Craigavon – Forest Feast branded nuts and dried fruits

Millar Savoury Foods, Eglinton – hot dogs, burgers, sausage rolls and scotch eggs

P McCann and Sons, Craigavon – apple based juices

TS Foods, Castlewellan – convenience foods and ready meals

Wilson Country, Craigavon – fresh and packed vegetables, potatoes and fruit

Northern Ireland companies taking part at the Speciality Food Show in London from 2-4 September:

Honest, Downpatrick – wheat-free cakes

Willowbrook Foods, Killinchy – packed vegetables, fruit and mashed potato products

Need of Meats, Newry – meat products

Summer Garden Salads, Dungannon – salads.

Whites,Tandragee – breakfast cereals