Six smaller companies were helped by Invest Northern Ireland to visit Europe’s biggest exhibition of natural and organic food products and sustainable farming.
The companies attended the Salone del Gusto exhibition in Turin from 26-30 October, an international event organised by the Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity, which promotes natural and environmentally friendly food production, the City of Turin and Italy’s Piedmont regional authority.
The theme of this year’s exhibition was ‘good, clean and fair food’ and upwards of 150,000 people visited the show. Among those taking part were over 600 exhibitors from more than 80 countries worldwide. The event celebrated its 10th anniversary this year.
The Northern Ireland group featured a broad range of foods including beef, venison, cheese and bakery products. The delegates were able to tour the stands and to take part in major industry presentations including Terra Madre, which focused on issues related to food production in developing nations. There were also a series of taste workshops led by top international chefs.
The visit was organised by Invest NI’s Trade division which has a dedicated team to promote the growth of the food industry.
Alan Hingston, Invest NI’s Trade Director, said: “The visit to Salone del Gusto was organised to enable smaller food producers in Northern Ireland to keep abreast of the natural food market, now one of the fastest growing global trends.
“The event is geared towards artisan and small scale producers and, therefore, was ideally suited to many Northern Ireland food companies. Food and drink continues to be one of our most important export sectors and we want to see more companies exploring opportunities developing in Europe for the sort of high quality and ethically produced foods that are to be found in many parts of Northern Ireland.
“Our approach is in line with the recommendations of the ‘Fit for Market’ report which identified a need to help many more smaller companies to explore new opportunities and to market their products overseas more professionally and successfully.”
Earlier in October Invest NI assisted 14 smaller food companies to visit SIAL in Paris, the world’s biggest food exhibition.