Speciality show leads to new opportunities for local firms

Speiality show SM Farm

Local companies found participation at the recent Scotland Speciality Food in Glasgow a worthwhile exercise, especially in terms of useful contacts made and business leads generated.

The companies took part on a stand organised by Food NI in association with Invest Northern Ireland at the event, Scotland’s biggest show for food and drink buyers.

Taking part on the Food NI/Invest NI stand were: Heatherlea Bakery, Bangor – breads, biscuits and cakes; Irish Black Butter, Portrush – savoury spread; Noisy Nuts, Ballygowan – flavoured nuts to accompany craft beers; and Peppup Sauces, Portaferry – authentic Italian ketchup and pasta sauces

A Food NI section included a wide range of foods from other local producers.

Noel Allen, founder/managing director of Ballygowan–based Noisy Nuts, a producer of flavoured peanuts to accompany craft beers, says the show was “very successful”.

“I had undertaken a lot of marketing in advance and this led to a number of potential customers coming specifically to talk to us,” he says.

“We sampled a lot of produce and talked to a great many visitors who were interested in our unique nuts.

“As a result of this we’ve made a lot of good business contacts which we are currently following up. I’d expect to be supplying customers in Scotland soon,” he adds.

Alastair Bell, chief executive of Irish Black Butter, a unique Bramley apple-based savoury spread for a range of uses, says: “It was my first time there and it was a bit of a learning experience. I found considerable interest in my product and many visitors were keen for me to contact them after the show. I am now following up leads from distributors, independent retailers and delis from all over Scotland. It will take a bit of time to convert the leads into solid business,” he adds.

The Northern Ireland presentation at the show in Glasgow was the first in a series of events being organised by Food NI in Britain in association with Invest NI during 2019.

The Northern Ireland companies, most launched in Scotland for the first time, were among 150 exhibitors from many parts of the UK.

The popular show gave trade buyers an impressive choice of good quality products, great networking opportunities and the chance to expand their business skills.

The show, in its 11th year, was held at Glasgow’s exhibition centre. Companies exhibited all types of speciality food including gift food, bakery, cheese, cooked and cured meats, chutneys, preserves, oil and vinegars, herbs and spices, confectionery, tea and coffee, beers, spirits and cordials.  

More than 1,000 trade buyers from department stores, farm shops, delis, food halls, restaurants and hotels visited the show, which also featured a seminar programme and awards for the best products.

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