Government endorse County Limerick cross border sales drive
Access to markets for small to medium sized food companies, particularly in cross-border and national markets, is a key challenge for food entrepreneurs.
To assist food businesses face this challenge, a number of Local Enterprise Agencies and five County Enterprise Boards recently brought together their client companies in Rossnowlagh, County Donegal, to explore alternative routes, principally through joint distribution. Four Co. Limerick food businesses participated in this initiative.
They were: Glen Aine Fine Foods; Wild Orchard Fresh Beverages; Innisfree Foods Ltd; and Alana Foods. Limerick County Enterprise Board was the lead partner for this successful event.
Funded by MicroTrade, five County Enterprise Boards and five Northern Ireland Local Enterprise Agencies, the event brought together 26 food companies from all over Ireland to look at new and innovative models of logistics and distribution.
Minister for Agriculture, Mary Coughlan 1.0., addressed the conference and encouraged companies through her enthusiastic enaorsement of their efforts:
'Indigenous food producers are a vital component of the rural and agricultural economy, or Ireland the Food Island as we are known. We need to support these companies through innovation, research and development ... and initiatives such as this logistics conference.'
During the two day conference in Rossnowlagh, Co. Donegal, companies interacted and shared successful distribution methods while also meeting various support agencies. Limerick company Glen Aine Fine Foods - based in Hospital - was selected as a best practice case study through their cross-border work with Crosh Valley Farm in Omagh, Co. Tyrone.
Mike Cantwell, Assistant CEO, Limerick County Enterprise Board, emphasised the dynamism of the companies involved:
'Often, smaller food companies have a wonderful product but find it difficult to get that product to the marketplace on a national basis. We were delighted to assist four progressive local companies to expand their market coverage. Excellent contacts were established and valuable new markets will be realised as a result of this initiative.