Fourteen Food Companies Explore Business In Paris

Fourteen smaller food processing companies were assisted by Invest Northern Ireland to explore opportunities for their products at the world’s biggest exhibition for the industry this week in Paris.

The companies took part in an Invest NI organised business development visit to SIAL 2006 from 22-24 October at the Paris Nord Exhibition Centre.

Most of the members of the Northern Ireland delegation were first time visitors to the international exhibition. They represented a broad range of product sectors including meat, bakery, vegetables, healthy snacks and dairy.

The exhibition, which is held every other year, featured almost 6,000 exhibitors from over 90 countries. Upwards of 150,000 buyers and other food industry executives from over 180 countries visited the show.

Alan Hingston, Invest NI’s Trade Director, said: “Our programme of business development visits to major international exhibitions is designed to enable companies to see if they have products which will appeal outside Northern Ireland and to assess the steps they need to take to compete successfully.

“As well as helping companies to carry out such market research, the visits provide opportunities for companies to keep abreast of trends in key markets.  Knowledge gained through this engagement in the international marketplace may also encourage them to use their existing expertise and experience to develop new product ideas.

“The business development visits are an integral part of our comprehensive Passport to Export programme which, over the past four years, has enabled 739 companies to participate in 46 multi sector trade missions to overseas markets; 1,248 to take part 73 NI stands and 98 sectoral trade missions to international trade fairs and exhibitions.

“In addition, almost 1,000 companies have participated in 139 capability development workshops to enable them to gain exporting skills and knowledge; 1131 existing exporters were helped to enter new markets; and 474 companies were assisted to explore export markets for the first time,” he added.