New products on show at top UK food and drink expo

Six of the 12 companies on the Invest Northern Ireland ‘Good Food is in Our Nature’ stand at the Food and Drink Exhibition (FDE08) in Birmingham from 6-9 April are taking part in the show for the first time.

Showing their products for the first time at the event are Graham’s Bakery, Dromore; Irwin’s Bakery, Craigavon; coffee blender Johnson’s Coffee, Lisburn; Mash Direct, Comber, a processor of fresh potatoes and vegetables; Millar Savoury Foods, Eglinton, a manufacturer of snack and convenience foods such as scotch eggs, hotdogs and hamburgers; and Western Brand, Lisnaskea, a processor of breaded chicken and egg products, which recently opened the factory in Fermanagh.

FDE 2008, held every two years, is now one of the biggest European food and drink exhibitions. The Northern Ireland group will be among delegations from many parts of the world including Canada, Germany, Austria, Saudi Arabia, Thailand and the USA, with international exhibitors from Australia, Turkey, Czech Republic, and New Zealand. Upwards of 90 countries will be represented at the event in the National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham.

The Northern Ireland presentation has been organised by Invest NI’s Trade and Food divisions.

FDE08 runs alongside Foodex Meatex, Baking Industry Exhibition (BIE), Convenience Retailing Show, and IFFE under the under the collective title Food and Drink World 2008.

Alan Hingston, Invest NI’s Trade Director, commenting on the importance of the show, says: “This is the only event in the UK this year that will be attended by the leading buyers of most of Europe’s foodservice, retail, wholesale and manufacturing companies.

“Past experience indicates that upwards of 25,000 trade buyers will visit the show and many will do business with exhibitors. In 2006, for instance, orders worth almost £50 million were placed with exhibiting companies.

“Northern Ireland companies will be showing a very broad range of products including bakery, sauces, beverages, breakfast and snack cereals and convenience meals.

“Several companies will be using the show to launch innovative products particularly for the ‘ready-to-cook’ market. We would expect the companies to make important contacts that will yield excellent business. Local companies which took part in last year’s International Food Exhibition in London have so far achieved sales of more than £10 million.

“As well as buyers from Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland, they will have an opportunity at Birmingham to show their products to potential buyers from Europe and other parts of the world. Encouragingly, the number of food companies now actively seeking business outside the British Isles is growing strongly,” he adds.

Maynard Mawhinney, Food Director of Invest NI, says: “The Good Food is in Our Nature’ brand has been developed  as an integral part of an international marketing campaign to highlight the quality of food produced by our companies using the best natural ingredients from our farms.

“The fundamental focus of our companies is on products that meet market demands for healthy and wholesome options that also offer convenience. Food processing is now our second biggest manufacturing industry, with business worth  £2.5 billion annually,  and one of our most important export earners with sales throughout Europe, the US, Middle East and Asia.

“As a result, customers can count on our companies to deliver the quality and value for money they need to grow their business profitably,” he adds.

The Northern Ireland Companies Taking part on the Invest NI ‘Good Food is in Our Nature’ presentation at the Food and Drink Exhibition in Birmingham from 6-9 April are:

Classic Mineral Water, Lurgan – spring and flavoured waters

Dale Farm Dairies, Belfast – cheese and yoghurt products

Evron Foods, Craigavon – bakery products

Graham’s Bakery, Dromore – cakes and muffins

Irwin’s Bakery, Craigavon – bread, cakes and morning goods

Johnson’s Coffee, Lisburn – coffee blends

Mash Direct, Comber – mashed potatoes and vegetables

Millar Savoury Foods, Eglinton – scotch eggs, jumbo hotdogs, pies and burgers

Rich Sauces, Newtownards – sauces and mayonnaise

Western Brand, Lisnaskea – breaded chicken and egg products

White’s Speedicook, Tandragee – porridge oats and cereal snacks

Willowbrook Foods, Killinchy – fresh and prepared vegetables, salads and fruit