FOOD businesses on the North Coast are to be offered support to build successful brands to allow them to grow their business.
The North Coast Food Branding Programme, which has just been launched by the four councils in Ballymoney, Coleraine, Limavady and Moyle, offers local food companies opportunities to grow, develop and sustain their business by receiving specialised branding support.
The programme is part financed by Ballymoney Borough Council, Coleraine Borough Council, Limavady Borough Council and Moyle District Council, the European Regional Development Fund under the European Sustainable Competitiveness Fund for Northern Ireland, and Invest Northern Ireland.
Martin Clark, Economic Development Officer with Coleraine Borough Council, urged local food and drink companies to avail of this unique opportunity, which will support them to focus resources on brand development and to be innovative.
He explained: “Research shows that well known brands, particularly in the fast moving consumer goods industry, achieve consistently higher margins.
“Whilst we have some great businesses on the North Coast selling food and drinks products globally, we have few readily identifiable brands.
“Yet, The North Coast is highly renowned for its rich environment and great local foods that are natural and full of flavour.
“The programme therefore recognises the need for local food producers to embrace and develop strong branding and marketing capabilities, and uses a combination of practical workshops, specialist branding and design support, and expert mentor support towards positioning and presenting their products/brands in line with what food consumers expect.”
The programme is being delivered by i2 Total Marketing, which has extensive experience in working with food businesses to grow their business through targeted branding campaigns.
Seamus Mc Adams of i2 said: “Now is a great time for small food businesses to embrace branding. Local and regional food marketing has gone mainstream, where local food brands are booming in popularity the world over, from high street supermarkets to farmers’ markets.
“Looking ’small’ has now become BIG business, so why shouldn’t our small, artisan food producers here on the North Coast make the most of the opportunity.
“This is what the programme aims to do, to encourage local producers to tell the ‘story’ behind their food and its provenance and to express themselves via the quality of the product, its presentation, packaging and ultimately, its branding.”
Recruitment for the programme is now open and places are limited to fifteen firms. Anyone wishing to sign up should telephone Janice at i2 on 7188 6131 or email Janice@i2totalmarketing.com.