Producing some of the world’s finest food and drink, Northern Ireland has recently been voted the World’s Best Food Destination at the International Travel and Tourism Awards 2018 in London.
To highlight why Northern Ireland is a go-to destination for premium quality, pure, and natural food, a selection of Northern Irish food and drink companies visited the UAE and Saudi Arabia on a trade mission, showcasing their produce to local buyers, chefs, and distributors.
Food and drink from Northern Ireland is exported to over 70 countries. This success is down to the pure countryside and farmers and producers who are dedicated to traceability and passionate about quality. Last year, Northern Ireland witnessed a 60% increase in exports to the Middle East, one of its most important trading regions.
The unique geography and climate are some of the prime reasons for good-quality, fresh produce. The crystal-clear loughs and winding Atlantic coastline are home to a variety of fish from wild salmon, oysters, and eels. The lush green countryside and grass is a reason why NI’s creamy milk and dairy products are so sought after. Northern Ireland also has its very own Orchard County, home to the famous crisp Armagh Bramley apples with many artisan bakeries using local ingredients, from organic dairies and farmers.
“People are often surprised to know that the creams used by the region’s chefs, the aged halal beef and lamb and organic salmon on their restaurant menus come from this small and unassuming part of the United Kingdom,” said Dubai-based, Sheethal Rishi, senior business development anager for Invest Northern Ireland, the UK region’s economic development agency.
“This is a very exciting time for us and our NI food and drink companies as we are building momentum around Northern Ireland as a food destination and a key partner for the HORECA sector here in the region. With our most recent accolade and trade mission to the UAE and Saudi Arabia, we believe the sector will only go from strength to strength. We are also working towards bringing our delegation of Northern Irish food and drink companies to Gulfood at the Dubai World Trade Centre in February next year for 13th year running.”