Northern Ireland food on show to Scottish retailers

Food products from nine local companies will be displayed on an Invest Northern Ireland stand at the Scottish Grocer Show in Edinburgh over the next two days.

The event, held in the Highland Centre, is aimed at convenience stores, a particularly strong sector in retailing throughout Scotland. It is the first time that Invest NI has taken part in the event, now in its ninth year. Participation reflects the agency’s strategic focus on helping local food companies increase sales to this important marketplace.

The presentation in Edinburgh follows a ‘meet the buyer’ event in Belfast last Thursday and Friday for top buyers from leading Scottish delicatessen McLeish Brothers. The buyers saw some of the innovative products being processed by 17 Northern Ireland companies at the event, which was also organised by Invest NI.

The buyers spent two days in Northern Ireland as guests of Invest NI and sampled a broad range of local food products. It was the first time the deli chain, which is based in Dundee and has stores across Scotland, took part in a buying event here.

McLeish Brothers has outlets in Dundee, Aberdeen, Broughty Ferry, Glenrothes and Inverurie. Formed in 1947, the delicatessen and convenience store chain has ambitious expansion plans to open up to 12 outlets across Scotland.

The chain specialises in fresh fish, prepared deli goods and a ‘food to go’ menu such as mince and potatoes, beef stroganoff and fishcakes as well as an international range of freshly-prepared Thai, Chinese and Indian meals.

Maynard Mawhinney, Invest NI’s Food Division Director, says: “Scotland is a neighbouring market which we are targeting to help our companies increase business there. We were delighted when McLeish Brothers, a highly respected and successful gourmet business, accepted our invitation to meet a group of Northern Ireland producers and to explore business opportunities.

“The two-day visit was part of an on-going campaign that we are developing to increase awareness among Scottish food retailers of the range and quality of food available here. Initial feedback from the buyers suggests that at least nine of the participating companies can expect orders from McLeish Brothers.

“We’ve also organised a very successful presentation of local food at ScotHot in Glasgow, the region’s main event for the hospitality and foodservices sectors.

“Scotland is a substantial market that’s within easy reach of Northern Ireland. We believe it offers tremendous opportunities for a very broad range of local producers. To help companies maximise new business opportunities there, we will be organising a series of events over the next few months,” he adds.

Taking part in one-to-one presentations made to the McLeish buyers were local companies representing most sectors including fresh fruit, ales, spring water, cheeses and bakery products.