Fourteen companies helped to build exports at food shows

A total of 14 local food and drink companies are being assisted by Invest Northern Ireland to expand exports at two international shows.

Eight companies will be on the Invest NI stand at CATEX, a major catering equipment and supplies exhibition which takes place in Dublin from 8-10 February. Seven of the companies will be taking part in CATEX for the first time.

At Gulfood in Dubai, seven companies will be showing their products from 27 February to 2 March, including one for the first time, Scott’s Bakery in Fivemiletown.

Both events are part of a programme of ten food export-focused initiatives in international markets organised by Invest NI as part of its trade promotion activities.

Dale Farm, the leading supplier of butter, milk powder and cheese from its plants in Ballymena and Cookstown, is the only local company taking part in both exhibitions. It is also the only company in the group at CATEX to have taken part in this exhibition before.

Dr Vicky Kell, Invest NI Trade Director, said: “Our programme for local food and drink companies features participation in ten major international exhibitions including CATEX and Gulfood. Other exhibitions planned include IFE in London, ANUGA in Cologne, Food Ingredients Europe, Paris and the Private Label event in Amsterdam.

“This programme demonstrates our continued commitment to an industry which contributes over £3 billion annually to the local economy and has scope for even faster growth.

“We would also like to see more food and drink companies taking part in our multi-sectoral trade mission programme which includes expanding markets in Europe and South America, as well as India, China, the Arabian Gulf and South Africa. Food companies such as Dale Farm, Greenfields and White’s used our mission programme last year and secured worthwhile business particularly in China, the Gulf and Brazil.

“CATEX is an important exhibition this year for companies seeking to develop business through the Republic of Ireland, a major market for the local industry and one that has proved a successful first step into exporting for many smaller companies.

“More than 9,000 decision makers are expected to attend the show which will also feature over 200 leading companies. Research indicates that around 50 per cent of visitors attend to source new products and that 87 per cent have responsibility for purchasing products and services.

“The exhibition, therefore, is an ideal springboard for local companies. It’s immensely encouraging to see so many companies taking part on our stand at CATEX for the first time.

“Gulfood draws its participation and attendance from the global marketplace particularly the Gulf, Middle East, India, and South East Asia.  Local companies such as Finlay Foods as well as those companies mentioned previously have secured business from the show over the past few years.

“Gulfood has become an immensely important international show that is expected to attract 60,000 buyers from over 150 countries who will have an opportunity to examine products and services at 3,500 stands from over 80 nations. It also includes gourmet food within a Salon Culinaire section.”