Invest NI helps Great Taste winners boost exports


Invest Northern Ireland will be showcasing award winning food products at major trade events in London and Dublin over the next two weeks.

Food from almost 50 local companies which gained gold stars in this year’s UK Great Taste Awards, including Hannan Meats of Moira, winner of the coveted Supreme Champion title in the prestigious event for its Italian style Moyallon Guanciale, will be highlighted on Invest NI’s Northern Ireland Naturally presentation at Lunch! in London, 20-21 September, and at Dublin’s Shop 2012 exhibition, from 25-27 September.

Lunch!, held in the Business Design Centre, Islington, is the UK’s most important event for the out-of-home food and drink industry, while Shop is Ireland’s leading event for both retailers and foodservice organisations. Both attract key buyers from Great Britain, the Republic of Ireland, other parts of Europe and further afield and are seen as ‘must attend’ events for innovative products and new food concepts.

Dr Vicky Kell, Invest NI’s Trade Director, commenting on the exhibitions, said: “The achievements of our companies in the Great Taste Awards over the past six years and particularly in the past two years have been amazing. We have seen the Supreme Champion title secured by Northern Ireland companies two years in a row – McCartney’s Butchers and Hannan Meats, both based in Moira – for innovative products.

“Invest NI is helping companies, particularly small and medium sized enterprises, to maximise the business opportunities being generated by the higher profile the companies received as a result of  their outstanding achievements in what has become one of the most prestigious food events in Europe.

“Companies which have gained gold stars in the past caught the attention of key buyers in major grocery retailers including Selfridges, Fortnum and Mason, Harrods, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Asda. Several have won business with supermarkets in the US and Asia. Our objective is to encourage and support the companies in growing sales outside Northern Ireland through a structured programme of presentations at trade exhibitions and missions to markets worldwide. We are also planning a major event in November to celebrate Northern Ireland’s award winning food and drink companies.”

At Lunch! in London, visitors to the Invest Northern Ireland stand will be able to enjoy a menu of delicious ‘lite bites’ created by top chef James Davidson, Executive Chef at Rich Sauces in Newtownards, a leading producer of sauces, mayonnaise and bouillon for caterers and other foodservice businesses.

Mr Davidson said: “I’ve developed an original menu to show trade visitors the versatility of quality food now readily available in Britain from Northern Ireland suppliers. It gives them an opportunity to experience the excellent food that on offer from our suppliers, many of which have won gold stars in the UK Great Taste Awards.”

Lunch! is targeted at the fast growing food-to-go sector and is expected to attract thousands of visitors from cafes, coffee shops, sandwich bars, specialist and contract caterers, supermarkets, department stores, wholesalers and distributors.

Most of the award winning products will also be available for visitors to Shop 2012 at the RDS in Dublin to sample. Northern Ireland companies will also be bidding for further success in the Product of the Year and Irish Cheese awards held during Shop.

The event attracts trade visitors including chefs, catering managers, food and beverage buyers, hotel procurement executives, buyers from multiple retailers, independent grocers, publicans and restaurateurs from Ireland, Britain and other countries.