Lyons in UAE to support Northern Ireland companies at world’s largest food expo

Date published: 15 February 2022

Economy Minister Gordon Lyons today visited Gulfood 2022 during a two-day visit to the United Arab Emirates.

Economy Minister Gordon Lyons with NI companies at Gulfood 2022.
Economy Minister Gordon Lyons with NI companies at Gulfood 2022.

During his 48-hour programme, the Minister will support Northern Ireland Day at Expo 2020, as well as host meetings with government officials around trade and tourism and meet with Northern Ireland diaspora. 

This is the 15th consecutive year that companies from Northern Ireland have been represented at Gulfood, the world's largest food expo, which offers a valuable opportunity to boost exports

Speaking from Invest Northern Ireland’s stand at the exhibition, the Minister said:

“Northern Ireland’s food and drink sector is our biggest manufacturer, contributing over £5billion annually to our economy. As outlined in my Department’s 10X vision, encouraging and supporting trade and investment is key to economic growth. I am pleased to be here today, championing our world class offering at Gulfood, which is recognised as the ultimate launch-pad for Northern Ireland food and drink companies to enter and win new business in the UAE market.”

During the visit, the Minister met with a number of Northern Ireland companies  which are bringing a diverse range of products to the region including grass-fed dairy produce, bakery products, teas, coffees, health foods, and snacks as well as a range of porridge oats and oat-based cereals. Downpatrick-based artisan food manufacturer Finnebrogue, which has recently secured a new listing with leading supermarket chain Spinneys, was among the attendees. The deal will see a number of its product lines on the shelves of Spinneys stores across the UAE.

The Minister continued:

“Finnebrogue’s recent success with Spinneys is testament to the company’s hard work to grow its business in this market and to the wealth of export opportunities available to Northern Ireland companies in the UAE. Northern Ireland food and drink also features prominently within the UK’s Eat Programme at Expo 2020 Dubai. I am looking forward to attending NI day tomorrow at Expo, which will provide a unique opportunity to share our innovations and stories with the world through a series of immersive activities within the UK Pavilion.”

Between October 2020 and September 2021, Northern Ireland food and drink exports to UAE totalled over £5million.

Mel Chittock, Interim CEO of Invest Northern Ireland, said:

“Gulfood remains a cornerstone global event for Northern Ireland food and drink companies. Our participation provides a fantastic platform for both new-to-market and growing exporters to connect with the right partners and build relationships which ultimately help them grow sales. Congratulations must go to Finnebrogue, one of several Northern Ireland companies experiencing great success in this region and we look forward to seeing more of our companies having success in the UAE following this year’s show.”

The Minister also visited Dulsco, which has recently selected Tyrone engineering firm Kiverco to design, manufacture and install a turnkey solution to help divert waste from landfill. Around 90% of the new plant was built in Northern Ireland, before being shipped over and installed in Dubai.

The Minister said:

“I am delighted to witness Kiverco’s recycling solutions hard at work at Dulsco’s plant. Kiverco were first introduced to Dulsco in 2018 by Invest NI and it’s great to see Invest NI support making such a positive impact on a business’s global growth. This project highlights Northern Ireland’s world-class expertise in the sector.”

The Minister also took the opportunity during the day to visit the Sharjah Research Technology and Innovation Park which is set up to promote collaboration between industry, government and academia. Earlier, he met tourism companies which operate in the Middle East region.

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