Innovation was the focus of a seminar attended by one hundred representatives from Northern Ireland’s red meat, pork, poultry and fish sectors in Cookstown this week.
Jointly hosted by Invest Northern Ireland and CAFRE, the event, aimed at encouraging innovation for growth, highlighted the support available through Invest NI and the Food Innovation Centre at CAFRE.
John Hood, Invest NI’s Director of Food and Drink, said: “Our red meat, pork, poultry and fish sectors employ over 11,000 people and last year contributed over £2.4bn in revenue to the local economy.
“Together with CAFRE, we want to encourage more businesses operating in these sector to explore innovative measures to support their growth and continued contribution to Northern Ireland’s Agri-Food processing industry.
“Adding value to products and processes and making efficiencies for example can make a considerable difference to a business’ bottom line. This event will help to improve the competitiveness and capability of local companies as they seek to grow in ever competitive markets outside Northern Ireland.”
Representatives from Moy Park, Food First Consulting and Hannan Meats outlined the importance of innovation in the development of their businesses while Redbrook Ingredients briefed delegates on the current flavour and ingredient trends. The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board also presented some of the trends and consumer insight for the meat industry.
Joy Alexander, Head of Food Technology, CAFRE, added: “To remain competitive our food businesses must continue to utilise our world class raw materials to produce innovative products which meet the needs of consumers. We at CAFRE, are delighted to once again partner with Invest NI to promote the importance of food innovation and showcase the support services available.”
Invest NI offers free advice and support available in areas such as business information, innovation and technology solutions, research and development, design, e-business, sustainable development, skills and strategy solutions, trade development and food marketing.