Invest Northern Ireland Chairman Stephen Kingon will launch the ‘Northern Ireland Good Food is in our Nature’ campaign to help local companies win more business in Europe at the Anuga International Food Exhibition in Cologne. Mr Kingon will be heading a 27-strong delegation of food companies visiting the exhibition from 13-17 October. A further six companies will have stands at the event, the world’s most important food industry event this year.
The launch of the ‘Northern Ireland Good Food is in our Nature’ brand forms part of a larger government-backed strategy to support the growth and development of the local food and drink industry.
Developed to support local food companies in building sales outside Northern Ireland, the initiative will be launched at a special event for existing and potential buyers as well as food journalists attending the exhibition. Anuga will involve over 6,300 suppliers and attract almost 200,000 trade visitors from around 160 countries.
Mr Kingon, commenting on the event, said: “Anuga offers a unique opportunity in 2007 to promote our food and processing companies to the world, and launch a distinctive brand that sets our products apart in the international marketplace as being natural, innovative and produced by people who care deeply about quality.
“This important campaign presents a strong message about vibrancy of the food and drink industry which is harnessing Northern Ireland’s natural environment to develop quality, wholesome products and an industry which is sharply focused on customers. The new brand clearly emphasises the link between the nature of our people, the landscape they work within and the provision of good, ethically-produced food.
“Food and drink is worth £2.4 billion per year, with 60 per cent of its output going outside Northern Ireland. The sector counts for 23 per cent of manufacturing sales and is one of our pivotal industries with over 20,000 employees.
“A regional food and drink brand is essential in today’s global economy. Regions such as Northern Ireland have to be distinctive, have to be individual and have to play strongly to our particular strengths.
“Invest NI has therefore deployed significant marketing and other resources to support the brand and assist companies to explore export opportunities. We have experienced and dedicated teams within our Food and Trade divisions with vast knowledge of global markets and processes to help companies to expand export sales. In addition, staff at our Dusseldorf office are supporting this strategically important initiative.”
The Livestock and Meat Commission (LMC) has a stand at the exhibition in the Red Meat hall and the four largest red meat and lamb processors in Northern Ireland will be taking part - Anglo Beef Processors (ABP), Newry, Dunbia, Dungannon, Linden Foods, Dungannon and the Foyle Foods Group, Londonderry. Dale Farm Dairies, Belfast has its own stand at the exhibition and Linwood Foods, Armagh is exhibiting on the ‘Food from Britain’ stand.