Invest Northern Ireland has appointed two new marketing advisors as part of a unique sales team to strengthen the market presence of local food and drinks companies in Great Britain. This initiative represents the first time Invest NI has directly retained full time sales and marketing support resources to assist an industry sector.
With over 40 years of industry experience behind them both, Michelle Gibson and Robin Barnett are set to help transform the international image and reputation of Northern Ireland’s food sector.
“Fast moving trends in current consumer behaviour means that customers are always on the look out for innovative, well-differentiated products and Northern Ireland food companies certainly have the potential to fulfill this need,” said Michelle.
Together both Robin and Michelle will directly help local companies gain a better appreciation of opportunities in the GB marketplace and in partnership with companies they will seek to secure new lucrative market entry and expansion strategies.
“Northern Ireland companies must be prepared to compete within the global marketplace, with all that this implies in terms of price and quality balance. A product offering that responds directly to consumer needs, combined with innovative market positioning will be fundamental to their success,” said Robin.
Robin and Michelle’s appointments forms 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 food and drink 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.
Commenting on the new appointments Maynard Mawhinney, Director of Food at Invest NI said:
“Robin and Michelle have a big job ahead of them and some tough targets to meet but I am confident that by using their wealth of experience and expertise they will have a strong and lasting impact on Northern Ireland’s food and drink industry for many years to come.”