First Minister Rt. Hon. Peter D Robinson and deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness MP MLA have announced that Glenarm Organic Salmon is to supply top hotels in Hong Kong.
The Ministers made the announcement during a visit to the Food Hotel China exhibition in Shanghai with a group of Northern Ireland companies. The Food Hotel China is exclusively for imported food, drink and hospitality supplies and it is expected to attract more than 30,000 buyers from across China.
The First Minister said: “Establishing a presence in Hong Kong for fresh salmon is a tremendous boost for this export-focused business. In a marketplace that remains among the world’s most dynamic places to do business, this will provide a great opportunity to develop future sales.
“The interest in Glenarm fresh salmon shows that Northern Ireland companies can succeed in this highly competitive market. By investing time and resources to develop contacts and building on our reputation for premium quality products there is real potential to win business with organisations such as high-end hotels.”
The deputy First Minister said: “Today’s announcement is testament to the company's resilience, after the difficult circumstances Glenarm Organic Salmon experienced in 2007. It highlights how small local business can go from strength to strength in competitive environments, by focusing on developing niche markets and by attracting high profile customers.
“The agri-food sector has continued to grow throughout the recent economic downturn and there is still considerable potential for the sector to expand. I believe there is demand for our quality products around the world and local businesses need to grasp the opportunities available.”
Also in attendance at the event were Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster and Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill.
Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster added: “Glenarm Organic Salmon has made excellent use of Invest Northern Ireland export schemes including a recent mission to Hong Kong for the seafood sector. By participating in discussions with potential buyers and following up expressions of interest quickly and successfully Glenarm has been able to secure this contract.
“I am convinced that there are substantial opportunities for Northern Ireland food and drink companies in China and indeed other international markets.”
Agriculture and Rural Development Minister, Michelle O’Neill welcomed this announcement: “I am delighted that Glenarm Organic Salmon has identified this new business which recognises the quality and uniqueness of our agri-food products. The excellence of Glenarm salmon is well known to us and I am pleased that customers in Hong Kong will soon be able to enjoy this premium product. Developing such export markets is important in sustaining employment for our rural communities and I congratulate Glenarm Organic Salmon on this exciting new development.”
John Russell, Glenarm Organic Salmon Managing Director, said: “The business that we are developing in Hong Kong will give us an important foothold for growth in China, an increasingly affluent market with a rapidly growing middle class with an interest in quality food from European suppliers. It’s a market that we’ve targeted for fast growth during 2013.
“The interest that we are now attracting from high-end hotels in China carries forward our existing business in other parts of Asia such as Singapore and Thailand, markets which we have been shipping fresh salmon to since 2008.
“What sets our fresh salmon apart from competitors is fantastic quality that comes from our fish farm location in the cold, tidal waters of the Irish Sea. This environment produces a highly textured and delicious fish. Foodservice operators worldwide are now recognising the quality of salmon that we produce in Glenarm. We expect our sales in Hong Kong and mainland China to grow steadily over the next 12 months and beyond,” he added.