Picture by Parkway Photography
Going German: Michael Little (right) of Western Brand, Lisnaskea, shows the company’s products to Jorg-Michael Umbach (left) of D&E Handels, Hamburg, and Maynard Mawhinney, Invest NI’s Director of Food and Tourism.
Fifteen local food and drink companies are being assisted to pitch for business in Germany with a leading importer and wholesaler.
Invest Northern Ireland hosted a three-day visit by a senior executive of D&E Handels. The importer, which is based in Hamburg, has a distribution network throughout Germany that includes major retailers and independent stores.
Maynard Mawhinney, Invest NI’s Director of Food and Tourism, commenting on the visit, said: “As one of Europe’s biggest and most affluent markets, Germany offers substantial opportunities for local companies, both large and small.
“This visit is the result of research that our Business International team has carried out in Germany to identify experienced distributors to help our companies to harness the business potential of a marketplace of over 80 million people.
“D&E Handels was chosen because the company has extensive experience in importing food and drink to Germany and also because of its sharp focus on sales and marketing. We were keen to tie up with a company which had the resources and commitment to work with our companies especially smaller and medium enterprises in developing their products and packaging to suit the German standards and market requirements.
“In addition, D&E Handels demonstrated a wealth of experience to us in positioning new products and brands in market niches. All the Northern Ireland companies taking part in the one-to-one meetings were chosen by Handels as having the greatest potential in Germany.
“The visit is an integral part of our focus on assisting local food and drink companies to explore and exploit business in key markets in Europe and Russia.
“Our market research has indicated that German consumers are concerned about the provenance of their food and are increasingly moving away from processed products. Our companies offer the sort of provenance and heritage that the market is demanding.
“Most of the products shown to Handels were also geared to the expansion in quality home cooking. Consumers there are now eating out less, but are prepared to spend more on premium products to cook and enjoy at home.
“There’s been a return of more traditional kitchen skills. As a result, there’s a growing demand throughout Germany for innovative products that cater to the creative home cook.
“Sustainability continues to gather pace, whether for environmental or humanitarian reasons, consumers are increasingly giving priority to sustainable practices that benefit both humans and animals,” he added.
The marketing initiative in support of Northern Ireland food and drink in Germany is also being assisted by staff at Invest NI’s office in Dusseldorf.