Foster: opportunity on the menu for food industry

An appetite for new opportunities will help Northern Ireland’s food industry continue to grow, Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster has said.

Speaking as she officially opened the IFEX 2012 show at the Kings Hall, today, the Minister outlined the important role played by the food industry in the Northern Ireland economy.

Arlene Foster said: “Food and drinks processing is Northern Ireland’s most important manufacturing sector, and one that has continued to grow during the recession.

“There are enormous opportunities available in the sector and the Programme for Government has set a target of 20% growth in manufacturing exports by 2015.

“The potential of the food industry is also clearly recognised in the Executive’s Economic Strategy, and the Agri-Food Strategy Board has been established to develop a strategic plan for the sector up to 2020.”

The Minister commended businesses exhibiting at the show for their commitment to growth and urged them to continue to seek out new opportunities.

Arlene Foster said: “In Northern Ireland we have the highest possible traceability standards and a people-led food provenance culture that is second to none - a formidable combination when it comes to boosting export prospects.”

“I would encourage established and new companies alike to look to new markets, widen their sales horizons and become exporters. Greater sales abroad will lead to more and better employment opportunities at home.”