NI food & drink tops the bill in international markets

Aug 29, 2017
Des Gartland (left), Invest NI’s North West Regional Manager, is pictured with Robin Young MBE, Niche Drinks.

Four Northern Ireland food and drink companies have been assisted by Invest Northern Ireland to win new business in international markets, estimated to be worth nearly half a million pounds collectively.

Niche Drinks, BFree, CocoMojo and Rooney Fish have secured orders to supply their products in China, the United Arab Emirates and Europe.

Congratulating the companies, Alison Gowdy, Invest NI’s Director of Trade said: “This is a fantastic result for Northern Ireland’s biggest manufacturing industry and showcases the increasing appetite around the world for Northern Ireland food and drink.

We are delighted that our businesses are becoming ever more visible and ambitious in taking their products to growing world markets with Northern Ireland food and drink exports valued at £1.2billion in the last 12 months.

- Alison Gowdy, Invest NI

“We are delighted that our businesses are becoming ever more visible and ambitious in taking their products to growing world markets with Northern Ireland food and drink exports valued at £1.2billion in the last 12 months.

“All of the businesses have put substantial time and resources into fostering relationships with global customers which has helped them to secure these deals. As a direct result of our programme of business activities in China many Northern Ireland companies are reaping significant benefits, with Rooney Fish and CocoMojo now securing their first deals in this market, which is hugely encouraging.”

Niche Drinks, BFree, CocoMojo and Rooney Fish benefited from a range of Invest NI support including food business development guidance, trade advice and from participating on Invest NI trade missions and exhibitions to profile their products on a global stage.

“Invest NI's longstanding strategic focus is to assist companies to win business abroad. We have an expanding global network of offices designed to support Northern Ireland businesses which are keen to explore new opportunities. That, coupled with the provision of in-market expertise and resources, will help drive the local food and drink industry towards further global growth.

“I would strongly urge businesses here to keep exploring the opportunities available and to seek Invest NI’s help in tapping into new export markets.” continued Alison.

Robin Young MBE, Finance Director and Company Secretary of Niche Drinks said: “We are very happy with our success to date. Our long term growth plans are progressing well and we continue to focus on building our export sales, particularly in the U.S and Europe markets.

“We recently secured our first Russian orders for our Quiet Man Irish Whiskey and both Causeway Coast and Shannons Irish Cream Liqueurs as a result of a visit to Russia at the beginning of this year and we continue to build distribution in the market there.”

Andrew Rooney, CEO of Rooney Fish said: “We are delighted to have shipped our three Gold Star Mill Bay Oysters to Hong Kong in our first year of harvesting. We met with a leading seafood distributor during an Invest NI Exhibition in China and worked hard to build a rapport which has allowed us to achieve this success. We see China as a market full of opportunities for our business and we look forward to continuing our recent success and securing further orders.”

Invest NI’s in market support... has been vitally important to our business

- David Waldron, BFree

David Waldron, European & Middle East Business Development Manager from BFree said: “Securing fresh export deals is vital to the success of our business. Our sales in this region have increased by 50% since last year due to new deals with both Spinneys and Lulu Supermarkets in the UAE. We have also been recently listed with Choithrams, a major UAE supermarket, following participation at Gulfood. Invest NI’s in market support in the UAE and Europe has been vitally important to our business and has enabled us to gain access to key contacts and essential resources in markets which seemed way out of our reach.”

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