Invest NI helps local companies pitch for business in New York

Smaller food companies are being helped by Invest Northern Ireland to explore new business opportunities in the US. Eleven companies are visiting the Summer Fancy Food Show in New York, from 29 June to 1 July, on an Invest NI sectoral trade mission.

The event, now in its 54th year, is one of the most influential food exhibitions in North America. Upwards of 25,000 attendees from speciality food, wine, gift, department stores, supermarkets, restaurants, mail order and related businesses are expected at the prestigious three-day event. There will be around 1,000 exhibitors, presenting around 200,000 speciality foods, at the trade only show.

Only one of the 11 local companies, Punjana Tea of Belfast, has business in the US. Most are visiting the market for the first time. Companies will be seeking business leads for a very diverse range of products, from spring water, mashed vegetables, and chilled desserts to natural porridge oats, salads, real ale and bakery.

Among new products being introduced by local companies are Belfast Ale, brewed by Whitewater in Kilkeel, and Real Fruit Porridge Oats from White’s in Tandragee.

Alan Hingston, Invest NI’s Trade Director, commenting on the event, said: “The New York Fancy Food Show is highly regarded within the food industry because of the quality of its attendees.

“Research shows that around 90 per cent of attendees either authorise or recommend purchasing decisions. Last year, for instance, the show attracted top executives from over 6,000 speciality food retailers, 3,700 chefs, restaurateurs and hoteliers, 161 deli owners, 1,125 caterers and 2,000 supermarket buyers.

“As well as meeting potential customers our companies will be able to keep abreast of market trends in areas such as organic foods by attending a series of seminars, workshops, tastings and cookery demonstrations. Overall, the show provides the perfect platform for companies to explore the huge US market, test their own products and to do business.

“Our visit to Fancy Food is part of an extensive programme of promotional activities that Invest NI has organised specifically to help local food processors to develop profitable business outside Northern Ireland.

“In addition to opportunities to take part in trade missions to markets as diverse as Asia, the Middle East, Scandinavia and North America, we help companies to display their products at international trade fairs. This year’s programme of international promotional events for the local food industry is the biggest-ever organised for this immensely important business sector.

“We have a dedicated and experienced marketing team in our Trade team that works alongside our Food division on initiatives including ‘meet the buyer’ events to help smaller companies in particular to build business abroad,” he added.

Northern Ireland Companies Visiting the Summer Fancy Foods Show in New York from 29 June to 1 July

Antrim Hills, Ballyclare – spring water

Asher’s Bakery, Newtownabbey – bakery products

Cottage Catering, Comber – chilled desserts

Hilden Brewery, Lisburn – real ale

Mash Direct, Comber – mashed potatoes and vegetables

Punjana Tea, Belfast – tea

TS Foods, Castlewellan – convenience meals

The Streat, Holywood – café franchising

White’s Tandragee – porridge oats and toasted oat snacks

Whitewater Brewery, Kilkeel – Belfast ale and lager

Willowbrook Farm, Killinchy – prepared vegetables and salads.