A group of the North East’s top independent producers have had a taste of the Irish food and drink market on a trade development visit to Dublin.
The two-day visit, arranged jointly by UK Trade and Investment Ireland (UKTI), North East Process Industry Cluster (NEPIC) and Tasteclub, which supports the region’s artisan food and drink producers, was organised to provide the group with an overview of the Irish market and smooth introductions to key stores and buyers.
Ireland was selected as the ideal country for first time exporters as it is the largest food and drink export market for the UK - currently worth £3.2bn per annum. This is nearly twice the size of the next largest export market, France.
On the visit were representatives from Al Ameen Honey, Black Paw Brewery, Corn Again, Davenport’s Chocolates, Eliza Pepperpot, Harp and Lyre, Jarrow Brewery, Jenkins and Hustwit and Sri Tea.
Over the two days, the group enjoyed one-to-one meetings with buyers, visits to a number of Dublin’s high end food and drink stores, and seminars from guest speakers on topics such as the differences between British and Irish consumers.
Jane Williams, founder of Gateshead-based Davenport’s Chocolates, was one of the business owners on the trip. “UKTI, NEPIC and Tasteclub put together a fantastic trade visit for us. The store visits and buyer meetings were exactly right for our customer base, and I’m looking forward to developing the relationships formed during the trip in the year ahead.”
Verity Silva, owner of Sunderland-based Sri Tea, adds: “The highlight for me was having direct contact with buyers and making valuable connections for the future, and the balance of these meetings alongside in-depth seminars certainly gave me a detailed overview of the export market and process.”
Jo Atkinson, operations manager at Tasteclub, said the food and drink group is committed to helping its members grow their businesses through international trade and introducing them to new buyers.
“We hope that the positive conversations had during the visit will translate into new Irish listings for high quality produce from the North East.”