Newcomers from Northern Ireland at SHOP 2009

Seven of the 11 food and drink companies taking part in SHOP 2009 on 28-30 September in Dublin with Invest Northern Ireland, will be pitching for business at the industry’s biggest exhibition for the first time.

Buyers and other visitors to the show at the RDS in Dublin will be able to sample the products of these newcomers, ranging from natural artesian spring water and organic vegetables, to filled wraps or stuffed mushrooms.

Invest NI has supported the show, the Republic’s biggest annual food and drink exhibition, from its inception.

Some the participating companies already have customers in the Republic and are keen to expand sales. Among the best known and most successful bakers in Ireland at the show will be Irwin’s of Portadown, with a product portfolio that includes the unique Guinness Bread, and Rankin Selection artisan-styled breads, morning goods and cakes.

The newcomers will be aiming to make a positive impact on both the retail and foodservice sectors.

Dr Vicky Kell, Invest NI’s Trade Director, commenting on the exhibition, said: “SHOP is an ideal exhibition for smaller companies wishing to enter the Republic, our biggest export market because it’s easily accessed and serving customers there is also easier. Companies have gained experience there and then moved on to explore opportunities in other European markets.

“The substantial number of newcomers taking part on our stand is very encouraging and clearly indicates that our SMEs in food and drink are now looking increasingly for new business outside Northern Ireland,” she added.

The group of newcomers includes Crossgar Foodservice from Co Down, one of Northern Ireland’s most successful suppliers of a range of foods from its own production operations. It’s a one-stop service of poultry, meat, chilled, frozen, grocery and non-food items, built around a core of locally produced products including a number which recently achieved Great Taste Awards from the UK Guild of Fine Foods.

Another newcomer, Cloughbane Farm Foods from Pomeroy in Co Tyrone specialises in its own range of fresh beef, pork, and lamb from its own farm, along with cooked meats and pies.

Armagh company, Unimush supplies a broad range of mushrooms including closed cup, button mushrooms, breakfast flats, chestnut mushrooms, portabellas and stuffed mushrooms to retail and other clients in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Antrim Hills Spring Water sources water from its own artesian well for its Water Within product and Drip and Drop for children and young people. Another water supplier in the group, Classic Mineral from Lurgan in Co Armagh, counts major retailers including Tesco in its customer portfolio and has taken part in previous SHOP exhibitions.

Among other first-timers at SHOP will be Orchard Organics, also from Co Armagh, a leading supplier of organic vegetables, and Portadown’s Orchard County Foods, a supplier of fresh apples and apple products.

Three leading suppliers of gourmet sandwiches, wraps and paninnis, Around Noon of Newry, Deli-Lites, Warrenpoint, and Enniskillen’s Bite Group, another first-timer, will also feature on the Northern Ireland stand.