Dubai gets a taste of Northern Ireland

Invest NI's Shane McArdle pictured with members of the merchandising team at the main Spinney's supermarket in Dubai where shoppers at it and Waitrose supermarkets in the region have been enjoying  sampling sessions of goods from Northern Ireland food producers
Invest NI's Shane McArdle pictured with members of the merchandising team at the main Spinney's supermarket in Dubai where shoppers at it and Waitrose supermarkets in the region have been enjoying sampling sessions of goods from Northern Ireland food producers

Shoppers in one of the world’s fastest developing regions are getting a special taste of what Northern Ireland’s food and drink industry has to offer as part of a St Patrick’s Day trade promotion in Dubai.

Two leading retailers are being given an opportunity to enjoy the flavours of tasty and innovative food from Northern Ireland in time for St Patrick’s Day.

Dozens of products from seven local firms are being featured in a major sampling initiative in 10 stores run by Spinney’s and Waitrose.

The promotional drive, a concerted market development campaign by Invest Northern Ireland is the first ever to be held in the Emirates.

The in-store tastings began on March 12 and run until today and are likely to be the first in a series of similar marketing initiatives held outside Northern Ireland.

Invest NI has its marketing hub for the Middle East, India and Africa in Dubai.

This in-store promotional activity is also being supported by an extensive PR campaign in the Emirates.

This includes an in-store magazine promotion and local media coverage including radio and newspapers.

Dr Vicky Kell, Invest NI Trade Director, commenting on the campaign, says: “We are delighted to have gained the support from both Spinney’s and Waitrose to showcase the quality, variety and originality of Northern Ireland food from such a broad cross-section of our companies to shoppers in Dubai.

“We have been experiencing a rapid growth in sales of our food to the Emirates and Dubai in particular over the past few years.

“The sampling initiative is designed to raise awareness of our award winning food and its quality and availability on the shelves of the two major retailers in Dubai.”

The potential of such trips has been highlighted by the annoucement of a deal for one of the youngest firms taking part in the mission.

Belfast based GM Marketing has won significant business for its recently launched Free’ist sugar and gluten-free range of products from Spinney’s.

GM, is supplying its range of sugar-free cookies, chocolate bars and wafers to Spinney’s by means of a distribution agreement with Pan Euro Foods in Dublin, brokered by Invest NI.

Other firms include Forest Feast from Portadown, Grahams Bakery, DromoreLinwoods, Armagh, Mash Direct, Comber and Sunstart Bakery from Ballymena.