THIS OCTOBER 1st sees the very first Cork/Kerry Food Forum take place (register here) at the Rochestown Park Hotel when over 200 producers, food retailers, distributors and those involved in the food sector in the south west get together to meet Simon Coveny TD and others keen to further their knowledge of the Irish food sector which is worth more than €20billion to the economy.
Organised by Bord Bia, Cork County & City Enterprise Boards, Kerry Enterprise Board and Cork County Council, the event will feature a range of information workshops moderated by Ella McSweeney on recent consumer trends and information on applying for geographical indication (GI) status which protects the names and products originating from a specific geographic location. One to one business mentoring slots will also be available for start up business owners as well as a special showcase of more than fifty Kerry and Cork food producers.
In the period 2007-2011, Cork/Kerry County & City Enterprise Boards have grant aided more than 90 food projects, and provided specific food training and mentoring to almost 290 people, proving that Ireland’s local food industry continues to soar with high demand for local goods from Irish retailers and restaurants. The artisan and speciality food sector in Ireland currently employs nearly 5,000 people in full and part-time positions with a potential to grow to 7,500 jobs in the next eight years, giving the local economy a further €4.1billion boost. The artisan food industry has also proven itself to be incremental to rural-based employment, food tourism and the development of a stronger image for Irish brands internationally.
Guest speakers at the event will include Shaun Doherty, Tesco Ireland, who will speak of the opportunities open to local Irish food companies within Tesco Ireland who sell over €2 billion worth of Irish food products and export more than €655m worth of Irish goods to Tesco stores all over the world. Spice Specialist and flavour innovator Arun Kapil, Owner of Award winning Cork company Green Saffron Spices will also impart tips on developing a successful Irish food brand and tell guests all they need to know about starting and growing their own food business.
Speaking of the event, Michael Hanley, CEO of West Cork Enterprise Board, said “The food production sector has long been a focus of the Cork and Kerry Enterprise Boards so it makes perfect sense to host a joint event where producers from both sides of the border can come together and learn to grow their businesses. The Food Forum has been hugely successful attracting over 600 attendees in the last few events and it allows us to highlight different aspects of the industry and aid our local businesses to responding to the challenges they face within the sector. Ireland’s food industry is on the up and such events are vital for the continued growth and nourishment of new entrepreneurial talent in the Cork and Kerry region to ensure continued success.”
Also speaking of the event, Úna Fitzgibbon, Director of Marketing Services, Bord Bia said, “Ireland’s food industry is experiencing strong growth in export at present so it is vital for Irish food and drink companies to work with the retail sector to build their competitiveness and copper fasten their position on the international market. The Cork/Kerry food forum is a fantastic event as it gives new and established food companies the insight required to build strong businesses at home and investigate the many opportunities for expanding abroad.”
The Cork/Kerry Food Forum is a completely free event; however, advance event registration is essential. Get registered here or contact the West Cork Enterprise Board on 023-8834700.