Twenty food companies seek export opportunities at SIAL 2010

Twenty Northern Ireland companies, representing over 60 per cent of the food and drink industry, will be at SIAL 2010, the world’s biggest food and drink exhibition, from 17-21 October.  

Seventeen of the companies are being assisted by Invest Northern Ireland to explore and develop business contacts at the international industry event, which is held in Paris every two years.

Four red meat companies – ABP, Newry, Dunbia, Dungannon, Foyle Food Group, Londonderry, and Linden Foods, Dungannon - will be showing beef, lamb and other products on a stand organised by Invest NI. They will also be meeting buyers from European supermarkets and foodservice organisations lined up by Invest NI.

In addition, three local companies – Dale Farm, Belfast, Moy Park, Craigavon, and Vion, which has a processing plant at Cookstown - will be showing poultry, bacon and ham, and dairy products on their own stands.

A 13-strong group of companies will also be visiting the exhibition on a business mission organised by Invest NI. Many companies in the delegation have arranged meetings with existing and potential customers.

Alastair Hamilton, Invest NI Chief Executive, commenting on the Northern Ireland presence at SIAL 2010, said: “It’s immensely encouraging to see such a strong representation of local companies from virtually every sector taking part in what is clearly an important event for those wishing to grow exports and also to spot opportunities for new products and services.

“Food and drink is a vitally important industry for Northern Ireland which generates in excess of £3 billion for the local economy. Our focus on SIAL and other international food events indicates our commitment to assist the growth of the industry especially in other European markets, where a recent consultancy report that we commissioned in conjunction with the Livestock and Meat Commission indicated there are significant opportunities for our red meat companies.

“In addition to providing new business contacts, participation at SIAL enables our companies, both large and small, to keep abreast of trends within the global food industry showcased by presentations such as the Health Village, the Gourmet Experience and Tastes of the World.

“SIAL really does provide an unrivalled business opportunity for our companies because of the high quality of buyers who will visit the exhibition.  Upwards of 150,000 trade visitors, including decision makers from all the world’s food retailers, are expected from around 200 countries.

“Over 50 per cent of visitors will be from nations outside France. The fact that more than 1 out of 4 visitors are likely to be traders, wholesalers and import-exporters will provide exhibitors in particular with real opportunities to generate sales.”

Taking part in SIAL this year will be almost 6,000 exhibitors from 105 countries including newcomers such as Armenia, Nigeria and the Dominican Republic.