Invest Northern Ireland has concluded a series of five food and drink focussed ‘key accounts management’ workshops attended by key buyers and over 120 representatives of 70 local agri-food companies designed to help them win new business, and improve their competitiveness.
“The workshops were designed to help local agri-food companies improve their presentation skills when meeting potential buyers for the first time as well as gain a better understanding of the unique needs of their target markets,” said Maynard Mawhinney, Director of Food at Invest NI.
“By doing this they will be better able to secure lucrative new business contracts and increase their performance during the initial negotiation stage with major clients,” he continued.
The events form part of a larger government backed strategy to support the growth and development of the local food and drink industry.
Called ‘Fit for Market’ the two-year strategy has been designed specifically to help develop the marketing, capability and innovation potential of the 300 strong companies operating within Northern Ireland’s dynamic agri-food sector.
Managed by the Food Strategy Implementation Partnership (FSIP), an industry led steering group chaired by Dan Flinter, the strategy is being implemented by Invest NI in partnership with the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
A key feature of the intensive workshops was the support lent by key speakers from buying organisations including Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Super Valu, Hendersons, BWG and Holroyd Howe who provided an insiders view of the needs of retail and food service sectors
During the seminars guest speakers like Cliff Kells from Tesco’s provided advice to participants on the specific requirements of major multiple retailers. This was followed by a detailed Q&A session where delegates could discuss issues of direct relevance to their individual companies.
Guest speakers like John Irving, from Norfolkline also highlighted the issues of proper supply chain management, followed by Q&A sessions for delegates to explore opportunities of direct relevance to them.