Eleven Northern Ireland food and drink companies will be selling their products to consumers and other visitors at the BBC Good Food Show in Birmingham this week.
Eight of the companies are part of an Invest Northern Ireland exhibition stand at the event which is open to the public and regularly attracts thousands of visitors including buyers from major retail chains and independent stores in Great Britain.
The eight companies on the Invest NI stand are: Tyrone’s Fivemiletown Creamery; Howell House, Lisburn, part of Irwin’s Bakery of Craigavon; Johnston’s Coffee , Hillsborough; Kestrel Foods, Craigavon; Linwood’s Superfoods, Armagh; McErlain’s/Genesis Breads from Magherafelt; White’s Porridge Oats, Tandragee; and Wilson’s Country, also based in Craigavon.
Several of the companies on the Invest NI stand will be using the event as a platform to launch new products.
In addition, other Invest NI supported companies Dale Farm, which has operations in Belfast, Ballymena and Cookstown; Irwin’s Bakery, Craigavon; and Niche Drinks, Londonderry, are exhibiting independently at the event, which runs from 24-28 November at Birmingham’s National Exhibition Centre.
Maynard Mawhinney, Invest NI Director of Food, commenting on the exhibition, said:
“The BBC Good Food Winter Show in Birmingham is rated as the UK’s biggest celebration of food and drink. It’s essential, therefore, that our companies, many of which already have good business in Great Britain, should grasp the opportunity the event provides to increase awareness among consumers of the excellent food and drink which they offer.
“We took part last year and it proved to be an extremely successful show particularly in terms of sales achieved by companies on our stand. The event offers consumers, particularly from the Midlands, the opportunity to sample our food and drink, a key element of Invest NI’s strategy to help to accelerate the growth of our sales to Great Britain, still the most important market for Northern Ireland food and drink processors.
“Our companies have also used the event to test market new product ideas. The participation of many food businesses from other parts of the United Kingdom and from Ireland provides networking opportunities and enables our companies to keep abreast of consumer trends and new product ideas.
“We’d be very keen to see the BBC include Northern Ireland in the Good Food Show programme along with the current venues of London, Edinburgh and Birmingham,” he added.
Northern Ireland food and drink companies will be alongside the likes of Carte D’Or, Lavazza Coffee, New Zealand Honey, Sainsbury’s, Starbucks and Marks and Spencer at the important event.
Helping to draw members of the public to the exhibition will be a host of celebrity chefs including James Martin, Gordon Ramsey, Rick Stein, and Si King and Dave Myers, TV’s ‘Hairy Bikers’, who included Northern Ireland food in their recent BBC series.
Other highlights of the exhibition will be the first World Cheese Awards, a Masterchef presentation by John Torode and Gregg Wallace and a unique Producers’ Village involving specialist supplies and artisan producers.