Mr John Whitehead has been appointed Northern Ireland Executive of Food from Britain (FFB), the United Kingdom’s strategic international food and drink export-marketing agency.
The appointment of Mr Whitehead as FFB Executive in Northern Ireland results directly from the implementation of the “Fit for Market” strategy, which was published by the Food Strategy Group in November 2004. The Food Strategy Group was created by Invest Northern Ireland and the Department of Agriculture & Rural Development to devise a strategic direction for the Northern Ireland agri-food industry.
Mr Whitehead’s appointment will offer Northern Ireland companies an excellent opportunity to avail of the FFB world-wide network, which generates international business between UK food and drink companies and international buyers.
To help Mr Whitehead assess the current level of export potential within the Northern Ireland food and drink industry, FFB are conducting a diagnostic survey across the entire sector. All companies are encouraged to participate in this exercise which will be taking place during June and July.
Mr Whitehead, who is a Marketing Consultant, will offer the full range of Food From Britain services to Northern Ireland companies, to mirror the services he already provides on behalf of FFB in Scotland. His role will involve working with agri-food companies here who want to expand their export markets, or break into export markets for the first time.
With over 30 years experience in the food industry, Mr Whitehead has served on the Council of Food from Britain, and has acted as a commissioner of the Meat and Livestock Commission. He is currently deputy chairman of the Seafish Industry Authority, and chairman of the Certification Council of Scottish Food Quality Certification Ltd.
Dan Flinter, Chairman of the Food Strategy Implementation Partnership said “This appointment is another key initiative for the agri food sector in Northern Ireland and I very much look forward to Mr Whitehead’s contribution in assisting the industry fulfill the Fit for Market strategy.”
FFB operates nine overseas offices in Europe and North America, as well as a New Markets division that works through associates in the Eastern European and Asia-Pacific markets. FFB also has a role in developing the British speciality food and drink sector by helping companies grow their sales in the UK market.