Local food firms pick up awards in London

April 13th, 2015 8:02 AM

By Southern Star Team

Siobhan and Mella McAuley of Mella's Fudge in Clonakilty. (Photo: David Kelly)

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WEST Cork food firms were well represented at one of the world’s biggest and most important food and drink industry events, IFE 2015, held recently in London.
Ten producers flew the flag for Cork, showcasing the county’s finest fare at the event which brought together the crème de la crème of the global food industry.
Taking place in London’s Docklands, IFE is the UK’s largest international food industry expo, with more than 1,350 exhibitors, making it one of the key events on the international food industry calendar.
The Cork companies represented the region at a specially designed branded trade stand as part of the Taste Cork regional marketing initiative funded by Cork County Council and Cork Local Enterprise Offices (city, north/west and south).
The 10 companies’ combined sales leads would give a forecasted boost to the economy of up to €1m, and they reported excellent responses from buyers at the event.
The Airport Road-based Irish Atlantic Seafood company – which sources its fish in West Cork – picked up an IFE World Food Innovation Award in the Best New Condiment or Marinade category for their ‘Something Fishy’ Irish shellfish culinary butter.
The company has worked very closely with the BIM Seafood Development Centre in Clonakilty, where they carry out all of their research and development.
Other West Cork companies represented in London included De Roiste Puddings from Ballyvourney – picked in the top 100 products, from a total of over 1340 products on display. They were selected for their ‘Not Just For Breakfast’ terrine.
Also in London were Mella’s Fudge and Régale Biscuits from Clonakilty, the Cultured Food Company from Ballydehob and publican Michael O’Riordan’s Farmer’s Table brand and The Natural Larder company – both from Macroom.
‘The food industry is of huge importance to the Cork economy and supports many jobs in communities throughout the region,’ noted County Mayor Cllr Alan Coleman.
He added that Cork County Council had long been at the forefront of food sector innovation and development in the county. ‘We have helped to drive the industry forward by developing a range of enterprise support services and through the provision of practical assistance to food enterprises at various stages of development,’ he said.
He pointed out that the Council had led the way by creating a network of County Council-owned, fully fitted commercial kitchens, production units and food business incubation units that are available to rent at a cost-effective, flexible basis, minimising overheads and capital costs for food companies at key stages in their business development.
This makes the Council unique in Ireland in their hands-on approach to helping a burgeoning food industry.
‘Having a Cork presence at major international food show events like IFE 2015 is vital,’ Cllr Coleman said.
Sean O’Sullivan, head of enterprise at the Local Enterprise Office South Cork outlined that as a country with a small domestic marketplace we need initiatives like this to provide economic growth and grow jobs at home. ‘The project plays a vital role in the on-going development of Cork’s reputation as a centre of excellence for food,’ he said.
‘We need to ensure that food producers learn to develop products with global appeal and start marketing them internationally very early on,’ he added.

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