The Crème de la Crème of Northern Ireland’s food and drink industry reported brisk trade at the recent SHOP Exhibition, Ireland’s most comprehensive retail, food and drink event, in the RDS in Dublin.
Irwins Bakery, Willowbrook Foods, Linwoods, Fivemiletown Creamery, Barefruit and Around Noon Sandwiches were amongst over twenty Northern Ireland companies promoting their products and services at Ireland’s biggest international retail, food and drink event.
Commenting on the success of the show, Maynard Mawhinney, Director of Food at Invest NI, said: “The southern market place has many opportunities for food and drinks companies that can produce innovative, well-differentiated products that will meet the needs of today’s demanding consumer.
“Northern Ireland agri-food companies are producing very high quality products that are meeting the demands of emerging niche markets such as speciality and functional foods and the SHOP exhibition was an excellent opportunity for Northern Ireland companies to gain a foothold in, or strengthen their market presence in, the Republic of Ireland.”
Amongst the participating Northern Ireland companies was Dundonald based, Barefruit, producers of the “Puro” range of whole fresh fruit smoothies. Established only seven months ago, Barefruit has secured listings with Sainsbury’s to supply stores throughout Northern Ireland. From October, 10 Tesco outlets across the province will stock 250ml bottles in three flavours. At SHOP, Barefruit’s key aim, according to managing director, Rosemary Cowan, included attempting to establish a market presence in the Republic of Ireland by intensely targeting key buyers from Tesco Ireland and Superquinn.
Fresh from tantalizing the tastebuds of the world’s golfing elite at the recent Ryder Cup in the K Club, Newry based company Around Noon Sandwiches, which currently employs 20 staff, chose SHOP as a platform for trialing an innovative gourmet layered sandwich made from Bengal flat bread.
As Sheila Chambers, from Around Noon Sandwiches, explained: “We supplied the K Club with a selection of the new gourmet flat bread sandwiches, a relatively healthy sandwich option as it is low in fat and high in fibre and it was very well received. We considered SHOP as being the ideal event to test the reaction of potential buyers and if positive, we will consider adding the gourmet Bengal flat bread sandwich to our existing product offer.”
In addition to promoting its popular range of Rankin Selection Breads and Howell House traditional quality cakes and biscuits, Co. Armagh-based, Irwin’s Bakery exhibited a revolutionary new Low GI white bread at SHOP. Available now for the first time in the Republic of Ireland in Dunnes and SuperValu and Centra stores, Irwin’s Low GI White is the first white low GI bread to be developed in Ireland and the UK, offering GI ratings significantly lower than any other white bread on the market and many wholemeal breads also.
As Brendan Lappin, Irwin’s ROI Account Manager explained: “Already widely available in all major NI multiple and independent stores, we believe Low GI White fits well with the current healthy eating trends on a ROI national basis.
“Irwin’s is an innovation-led company, continuously looking at new ways to effectively and competitively give consumers the choice and added health benefits they want and we’re delighted to be first to market with the lowest GI white bread in Ireland and the UK.