Meat companies on business mission to Nordic region

Seven local red meat companies are being assisted jointly by Invest Northern Ireland and the Livestock and Meat Commission (LMC) to develop business contacts in Sweden and Denmark from 26-30 November.

The companies are visiting Stockholm and Copenhagen for a series of meetings with wholesale and retail organisations and also with food industry experts in both centres. The visit, the first by a red meat group to Scandinavia, is being co-ordinated by the Northern Ireland Trade Consultants (NITC), which is based in Amsterdam and has been involved in a series of business development initiatives organised by Invest NI.

The visit follows a similar mission to Italy last year which resulted in a delegation of Italian meat buyers travelling to Northern Ireland for discussions which led to orders worth almost £6 million being placed with local meat processors. The two-day visit by the Italian buying group was also organised by Invest NI and the LMC.

Maynard Mawhinney, Invest NI’s Director of Food, commented on the Scandinavian mission, saying: “Our objective in organising this mission is to help the participating companies carry out on-the-ground market research, to benefit from the knowledge of an experienced food advisor, and to meet potential customers in both wholesale and retail sectors.

“We intend to follow the Italian success and to organise a ‘meet the buyer’ event in Belfast early next year for a group of meat buyers from Sweden and Denmark. Our companies are certainly capable of providing the quality and variety of products demanded in both these important markets. Sales missions to other international destinations are also planned.

“The visit also demonstrates our continuing support for the red meat industry as it seeks to rebuild and increase business in markets outside Northern Ireland. We recognise the industry’s importance to the local economy and are using our marketing expertise and contacts on initiatives designed to enable the companies to identify and develop opportunities in international markets,” Mr Mawhinney adds.

The LMC’s Export Development Executive Jelmer Hania says: “The Northern Ireland red meat companies have a proven track record in selling our excellent farm quality assured beef and lamb overseas. However, for the industry to thrive new premium markets are needed to increase sales further.

“This trade mission to Sweden and Denmark will allow the Northern Ireland companies to gain a better understanding of the Nordic marketplace, as part of a high profile group of exporters, with the flexibility to pursue individual business objectives.”