Pictured at the LIT Meet the Buyer event were Minister Patrick O’Donovan, TD, Liam Brown, LIT, Conan McDonnell, BeeActiv and Mayor of Limerick City and County Cllr. James Collins.
Irish Food Producers give Food for Thought at Inaugural LIT Meet the Buyer event
More than 75 up-and-coming Irish food companies were the focus of retail and food service buyers from Ireland and the UK at the inaugural ‘Meet the Buyer’ event in the Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT) Moylish Campus, today.
The third level institute, recognised nationally for its centre of excellence in food research, hosted the event which facilitated food companies from 25 different Local Enterprise Offices, including Limerick, Clare and Tipperary.
The day-long event was opened to buyers from across the food industry including supermarket groups, food wholesalers, retailers, independent fine food shops, food service, development chefs, restaurants and more. It provided the fledgling SME’s with a huge opportunity to gain new distribution for their products and receive expert advice on how to succeed.
Spearheaded by Food@LIT, in conjunction with Limerick LEO and Irish Quality Food Awards (IQFA), the meet the buyer food event is set to become a key annual business experience for the Irish food industry.
The event was officially opened by Minster of State at the Department of Finance and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform Patrick O’Donovan TD.
Congratulating the food producers on their dedication to quality food production and paying tribute to their entrepreneurship, Minister O’Donovan said, “The food and drink industry in hugely important to the Irish economy, particularly our rural economy. The industry exported €12.6 billion worth of products in 2017 and the Irish agri-food sector remains the country’s largest indigenous industry, employing approximately 8.4% of the working population.”
“The work being carried out by the country’s LEOs, the IQFA and LIT in support of this industry, is therefore hugely important to both the businesses involved and our economy in general.”
President of LIT Professor Vincent Cunnane said, “LIT plays a leading role in ensuring that industry in the Mid-West region of Ireland continues to remain at the cutting edge when it comes to technology, development and being market ready. Nowhere is this philosophy more important than in the food industry.
“The Food@LIT Centre of Excellence provides practical solutions that cover all stages of a food product’s life cycle, ranging from consumer insight and ingredient innovation, to sensory testing and regulatory advice. It also supports a wide spectrum of Irish food companies, from young to more mature companies, and collaborates with them to develop new products, analyse existing processes, and evaluate ideas for the future.”
“Today, in partnership with LEO and the IQFA, we bring that practical support one step further by introducing Ireland’s most promising food producers to some of Ireland and the UK’s most influential buyers,” he said.
Dr Liam Brown, Vice President Research, Development & Innovation, Limerick Institute of Technology, commented, “LIT and Food@LIT is delighted to be hosting this important event. Food, food production, food preparation backed by scientific and sensory analysis is critically important to society. We are particularly proud to engage with the LEO network, their client companies and contribute to further development of Irish companies in the domestic, as well as international markets that they serve.”
Helen Lyons of the Irish Quality Food Awards (IQFA) added, “We are delighted to partner with LEOs around the country for this event. It is particularly exciting to showcase the brightest talent and newest produce coming out of the country. In the seven years that we have been conducting the IQFAs, we have been hugely impressed by the increasing quality of Irish produce, which is now amongst the best in the world. We all want to know where our food is coming from and to be reassured that it is made with integrity, clean, local ingredients and with care. Irish producers really understand this.”
The Local Enterprise Offices are funded by the Government of Ireland through Enterprise Ireland in partnership with the Local Authorities.
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