Last month a large number of food producers such as restaurant owners, supermarket groups, and chefs gathered at the Limerick Institute of Technology to participate in the Meet the Buyer Event. This event, which hosted more than 75 up and coming businesses, allows participants to pitch their ideas to the top trade buyers from Ireland, Northern Ireland, and the UK. Participation in this event helps smaller companies build their brand and establish a name for themselves. Multiple organisations represented Dublin at the event including Katerina’s Pantry, Kelfir King, and The Chia Collective.
Luke Kiffey, cofounder of The Chia Collective, a chia based production company that focuses on organic and natural food, hoped to use the event to further expand their network and exchange ideas with other companies about the future of the food market. This event brings food sellers from all over to swap innovative ideas, sample unique products, and pitch their businesses to interested buyers.
The event was led by Eamon Ryan, Head of Enterprise, Local Enterprise Office Limerick and The Irish Quality Food Awards, and backed by Audrey Coyne, Business Advisor of Dublin City Local Enterprise Office. Speaking at the event, Ms Coyne stated “Food producers in the city are producing a range of quality food products and with the support of the Local Enterprise Office through financial assistance, training and development and networking opportunities are achieving fantastic success in developing their markets. The Meet the Buyer event will assist these producers to develop new markets and outlets for their produce and will enable them to benchmark their products against the best from all over Ireland. I expect this event to grow in the coming years and to become a key annual event for not only producers but also for buyers.”
Helen Lyons of the Irish Quality Food Awards (IQFAs) adds “We are delighted to partner with LEOs around the country for this event. It is particularly exciting to showcase the brightest talent and newest produce coming out of the country. In the seven years that we have been conducting the IQFAs, we have been hugely impressed by the increasing quality of Irish produce, which is now amongst the best in the world. We all want to know where our food is coming from and to be reassured that it is made with integrity, clean, local ingredients and with care. Irish producers really understand this.”
Patrick O’Donovan, Minister of State, opened the event, discussing how important the Irish food and drink industry is to the economy, particularly in rural towns.