Northern Ireland food companies seek private label business

Five Northern Ireland companies, including major processors of red meat and dairy products, are being assisted by Invest Northern Ireland to explore new business opportunities at the big Private Label Manufacturers Association (PLMA) exhibition in Amsterdam on 26-27 May.

The group members are: ABP, Newry, one of Northern Ireland’s biggest beef and lamb processors; Dale Farm, Belfast, the leading dairy processor with subsidiaries in England and Scotland; Norbev, Ballymena, a contract bottler with clients such as Makro; Rich Sauces, Newtownards, an important supplier of sauces and mayonnaise to the foodservice sector; and Tasty Foods Cuisine, Belfast, a producer of ready meals including beef and chicken pies.

The companies, which already supply many of the leading grocery businesses and foodservice organisations in Great Britain, the Republic of Ireland and other parts of Europe, are keen to explore new opportunities from the attendance at PLMA of buyers from European and international food and drink retailers.

The delegation to PLMA has been organised by Invest NI as part of an extensive range of activities for local food companies in global markets. Food and drink processing is now Northern Ireland’s biggest manufacturing industry.

Dr Vicky Kell, Invest NI’s Trade Director, commenting on the Northern Ireland group, said: “The longstanding commitment of our food companies to quality and innovation has attracted major retailers and several have won private label business. These and other companies are keen to develop relationships that will increase this important business. Our support for the industry has already included events in the Netherlands, other parts of Europe, as well as the Middle East and the US.

“PLMA’s World of Private Label in Amsterdam provides the best possible platform for those seeking such business. It’s also a market that Invest NI has identified as offering excellent opportunities to Northern Ireland companies and we are keen to assist them to develop relationships at the show which will attract a huge number of buyers.”  

More than 3,000 exhibitors are expected at the European show in Amsterdam which covers 11 food and non-food halls and the show will include in excess of 30 national and regional pavilions.  

In terms of the food offering, all categories of food, snacks and beverages as well as a special pavilion for fresh, frozen and refrigerated products will be displayed.  

There will be an Idea Supermarket, displaying the best private label packaging and products; a New Product Expo and a pre-show programme of seminars. An international private label exhibition is scheduled for Chicago in November.