Potatoes, ice-cream, bread and cheese are just some of the ingredients in the Northern Ireland mix on show at this year’s IFE exhibition in London this week.

Fifteen companies from the local food and drink sector are exhibiting at the event on the Northern Ireland group stand, organised by Invest Northern Ireland. IFE is the UK’s premier food and drink exhibition and one of the top five food exhibitions in the world.

The Northern Ireland stand, branded ‘Northern Ireland Naturally’, is emphasising the high quality, wholesome nature of the food and drink produced in Northern Ireland. Several companies are using the event to launch new product ranges.

Kestrel Foods will be launching its new fruit snacks and salad toppings under the brand Forest Feast. Sales and Marketing Director Lorraine Hall comments: “Forest Feast is committed to new product development and these are two of our most futuristic product launches to date. We believe that product and packaging innovation is required if the Forest Feast brand is to continue to develop as a credible Northern Ireland export”.

Rocwell Natural Mineral Water will be unveiling its Rocwell WaterKids “SPLASH” Sports Cap Bottle, the first natural mineral water specifically designed and manufactured for school children. Orchard County Foods is previewing its new range of fresh prepared fruit snack packs.

IFE is a trade only event attracting over 25,000 catering, retail and wholesale buyers from over 100 countries and offering the exhibitors a unique opportunity to meet and do business with potential customers from all over the world.

Alan Hingston, Director of Trade in Invest NI, says IFE presents local companies with a chance to showcase their products on an international stage.

“In recent years many companies in the food and drink sector in Northern Ireland have been developing innovative products and successfully targeting niche markets. Our local companies can boast a combination of high quality, fresh ingredients and technically advanced processing systems, producing world-class products.

“Nearly seventy per cent of our local food sector’s output is exported and this exhibition gives local companies the opportunity to reach buyers worldwide and secure further business in export markets.”

Invest NI has also organized a study tour to coincide with the IFE. The tour is part of Invest NI’s GB Market Entry Initiative for the speciality food industry and involves 12 companies from the sector visiting the exhibition and then visiting the foodhalls in three prestigious London stores, Fortnum & Masons, Harvey Nichols and Selfridges.

The aim of the study tour is to help the companies understand the strategies of the major London foodhalls, see the similarities and differences between them and study the competitive offering already available, so that they can better target this market.

Notes to the editor

The following companies will be exhibiting on the Northern Ireland stand:

Avondale Foods, Lurgan
Classic Mineral Water, Lurgan
Evron Foods, Portadown
Ferne Foods Ltd, Lisnaskea
Fivemiletown & Brookeborough Co-op, Fivemiletown
Halib Foods International Ltd, Belfast
Kestrel Foods Ltd, Portadown
Linden Foods Ltd, Dungannon
Linwoods Bakery, Armagh
LB Meat Products, Newtownabbey
Mullins Ice Cream Ltd, Kilrea
Orchard Country Foods, Portadown
Potato Pleasures Ltd, Cookstown
Rocwell Natural Mineral Water, Pomeroy
White's Speedicook, Tandragee

IFE 2003 runs from 23-26 March in ExCel in London’s Docklands –

The following companies will be taking part in the study tour:

Causeway Cheese Co, Ballymena
Cottage Pride, Armagh
Fivemiletown Creamery, Fivemiletown
Lean & Easy ltd, Garvagh
Mourne Shellfish co ltd, Annalong
Adelboden Bakery, Bangor
Farmlay Eggs, Armagh
Hilden Brewery, Lisburn
Whites Speedicook ltd, Tandragee
Fermanagh Black Bacon, Enniskillen
Red star, Downpatrick
Linden Foods Group, Dungannon