Buyers from around six of the Republic of Ireland’s leading food organisations were given an opportunity to sample products from upwards of 30 Northern Ireland companies by Invest NI in Dublin last week.
Sampling quality food and drink from Northern Ireland in the first presentation of its kind were Superquinn, ADM Londis and Carroll’s Foodservices. The event turned the ground floor of the Clarion Hotel at Dublin International Airport into a day-long Northern Ireland food showcase, the biggest-ever held in the Republic.
In addition to sampling opportunities, the buyers had an opportunity to meet senior managers from the Northern Ireland companies. It also enabled Northern Ireland companies to find out about their business procedures and requirements, and to explore new product ideas with them on a face-to-face basis.
Northern Ireland products also featured in the breakfast options provided for buyers during the unique event co-ordinated by Gerry Murphy, Invest NI’s food marketing adviser in the Republic.
Mr Murphy, commenting on the initiative, said: “We were immensely encouraged by the support received from local companies taking part in what was an important initiative for us within our overall food marketing programme.
“The Republic is one of our target markets, one which offers substantial scope for Northern Ireland companies in both the retail and foodservice sectors.
“This was essentially the first step in an initiative to help our companies win more business in the Republic. The next stage – invitations to the buyers to visit these and other food companies in Northern Ireland – is already underway. A number of inward visits are already being scheduled. These visits will help to develop relationships fostered by the event in Dublin. We’ve already organised a very successful visit to Northern Ireland for Joyce’s365 supermarkets in Galway.”
The Dublin event follows a successful inward mission to Northern Ireland for foodservice companies in Belfast last week. Around 50 local companies were able to present their products to industry leaders particularly in the vending sector.