Food Companies Encouraged to Invest in Innovation for Growth

Mar 26, 2014

Pictured inviting companies to attend the ‘Food for Thought’ conference at CAFRE’s Loughry Campus are (L – R) Joy Alexander, CAFRE, and John Hood, Invest NI.

Smaller food and drink companies are being assisted by Invest Northern Ireland and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) to grow faster through greater investment in innovative products for export.

Companies are being invited to take part in ‘Food For Thought’, a major conference on innovation on 9th April at the College of Agriculture, Food & Rural Enterprise (CAFRE), Loughry Campus, Cookstown.

The event is being organised jointly by Invest NI and DARD through CAFRE to encourage food companies to take ‘the next steps’ to develop and grow their business. The conference is open to all food and drink companies keen to grow.

John Hood, Invest NI Director of Food and Tourism, said “The conference is an integral part of our work to facilitate the continued growth of the food industry that already contributes £4.5 billion annually to the local economy.

“Participants will be briefed about a range of Invest NI schemes to help them in developing their business, including Innovation Vouchers, R&D assistance and help with packaging design.”

Joy Alexander, CAFRE’s Head of Food Technology Development, said: “We are delighted to be hosting this important conference once again at Loughry. Our experienced technical staff are here to help and have helped companies across a broad range of areas to meet the often challenging requirements in both retail and foodservice markets.

“A key objective is to encourage and assist many more companies to move up the added-value chain by investing in innovative products, processes and services. I would encourage food companies to come to Loughry and learn about the opportunities and the support that’s readily available to them.”

Advice and practical support to help boost business, particularly outside Northern Ireland, will be provided.

Participating companies will have an opportunity to hear experts in areas such as market research, retailing and foodservice, and to find out how to turn ideas into products and how to bring these successfully to market.

The requirements of major retailers and foodservice providers will be detailed by senior representatives from Tesco Northern Ireland and Lynas Foodservice.

The one-day conference is the latest by the three organisations to promote investment in innovation and to encourage business growth.

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