The NI/UK partnership concentrated primarily on food industry stakeholders from the private sector, ranging from micro and SME businesses to large, even multinational businesses. To ensure cross sector collaboration representatives from other enterprise agencies, local authority and VET schools where invited to take part in the Craigavon Council Area, Northern Ireland/UK partnership.

  • Meeting 1
  • Meeting 2
  • Meeting 3
  • Meeting 4

Potential partners were identified and invited to the first plenary meeting of the Partnership. Discussions commenced on working towards a broad agreement among partners as to the purpose of the partnership and the expectations that each stakeholder had. Further meetings focused on a ‘local assessment’ and the sharing of ‘best practice’ to learn about effective solutions to improving innovation and creativity in food SME’s.


Key areas for debate and views of the stake-holders included:

IMPACT CONSUMERS – raising healthy choices at affordable prices

IMPACT CONSUMERS – raising healthy choices at affordable prices

IMPACT SMES – It’s a priority to assist SMEs to understand market forces better, understand the impact of future regulation; (ahead of the pack in terms of risk) ; better understanding of role of packaging and communication

CHANGE IN PUBLIC OPINION– Also a priority to prepare SMEs for change in groundswell of public opinion – obesity is never off the news – and in the media portrayal the food sector is often at fault.

GAME CHANGER – niche market become mainstream in relatively short period of time

A NEW PARADIGM – need to start gearing up for in terms of reducing calorie/portion size / labelling: with regard to niche products and also mainstream products

PRODUCT DESIGN – SMEs need assistance with product design – packaging design – marketing design

LOOKING AHEAD – SMEs are short term, not aware of what’s round the corner, haven’t seen major shift in public opinion

Stakeholder Insight:

” Clearly many parties need to take some responsibility for responding in a coordinated manner to the problem of obesity and to support individuals to overcome barriers and constraints and make healthier choices. These include central and local Government, institutions such as schools and employers, charities and community/voluntary organisations”


Agreed actions set by our partnership:

• Mapping of local resources available to food SME’s

• Commitment to take part in industry learning workplaces

• Food poverty is an issue in our local area but a lot of food from local food SME’s goes to waste, there is a need to explore potential for greater cooperation and innovation between local food companies and food banks

• Commitment by the food SME’s to take part in the delivery of ‘Creative Ways to Produce, Market and Distribute Healthy Foods’

Stakeholder Insight:

“Because of the many factors and influences involved in the ‘obesogenic environment’, there is no single ‘magic bullet’ to reduce obesity, and effective strategies are likely to incorporate many small changes implemented over a long time period by many stakeholders. “


Launch of nourish eu Healthy Food Partnership Toolkit in NORTHEN IRELAND

In January 2016, CIDO coordinated a Scaling your Food Business, Healthy Food as a Driver of Innovation Event which brought together a good mix of food companies, stakeholders and media. The focal point for the event was the launch of the nourish eu NI/UK Healthy Food Partnership Toolkit. The Toolkit is a very useful document which will guide other regions across Northern Ireland/ UK in the setting up of their own Healthy Food Partnerships. To mark the event and launch of the Toolkit, guest speakers were invited to discuss the potential of Healthy Food.

  • Simon Dougan, one of the guest speakers discussed the current trends for healthy food in retail and catering sectors and advised small producers on maximising their appeal to buyers and finding a niche in the market. Simon, chef and proprietor of the Yellow Door champions food and drink producers from across Ireland and is known for his use of locally produced healthy food as demonstrated in the inventive and interesting breakfast he provided at the event.
  • Distribution is a key element for any small food producer and Clifford Webb, director of La Rousse Foods talked about the artisan food sector and discussed the increase in the number of medium/ high end food products they were able to offer catering establishments throughout Ireland.
  • Producers were encouraged to respond to trends in the market place & to showcase the quality and potential of their food products. Dawn McLoughlin from ALS Global gave an overview of the testing required when bringing a product to market. She discussed shelf life and nutritional analysis and strongly advised small producers to liaise with Environmental Health to ensure compliance with all food standards. 38 Local 20 Foreign attended.  


Find out more about the Nourish Eu Partnership in the Craigavon Council Region

Lead Partner in Northern Ireland: CIDO – Craigavon Industrial Development Organisation