Good food always on the table in the Food Heartland

The borough of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon is the Food Heartland of Northern Ireland. An area characterised by a rich environment of good agricultural land, making it the natural home to an abundance of specialist artisan food & drink producers as well as household names including: Tayto, Avondale Foods, Moy Park, Irwin’s Bakery, Cottage Catering, Linwoods, White’s, Fane Valley and Wilson’s Country. The borough is also home to 2 of the 3 world renowned, PGI (protected geographical indication) products in Northern Ireland, namely Lough Neagh Eels and Armagh Bramley Apples.

Northern Ireland’s Year of Food & Drink 2016, in partnership with Tourism NI and Food NI, has provided the unique opportunity to shine a spotlight on the Food Heartland. Led by Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council yearlong initiatives, aiming to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship within the agri-food sector as well as to enhance the tourism experience and expand local agri-food exports, have included; The first Food Heartland Awards, The Food Heartland Export Support Programme which supports food and drink producers to link to new customers outside of Northern Ireland, the set-up of a Food Heartland Forum consisting of partnerships with key influencers, experts and opinion leaders to help drive the Food Heartland brand forward as well as champion the passionate producers and quality creators from across the borough.

Roger Wilson, Chief Executive for Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council said;
“Throughout 2016 we have worked hard to promote our borough as the Food Heartland of Northern Ireland. Working with key partners such as Food NI we have utilised the NI Year of Food and Drink to shine a spotlight on the high quality, great taste of our products alongside the innovative people who work within our agri-food sector. We are delighted that the Food Heartland brand is now widely recognised across the borough, and further afield, as a brand of excellence and to see our agri-food sector, an important sector in our economic development strategy, looking to the future, to new customers and markets.”

Lord Mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough, Cllr Garath Keating, added:
“The Food Heartland initiative has been a fantastic platform to showcase our thriving agri-food sector, not just locally, but on a global scale. The NI Year of Food has been an excellent catalyst to help out passionate and innovative food and drink producers to build confidence in their business and to encourage them to utilise all the support provided by council to take their businesses to the next level. 2016 has been a magnificent year and I am delighted to say that this is only the beginning for the Food Heartland.”

For further information on the Food Heartland visit or follow the conversation on Facebook: Food Heartland and Twitter @FoodHeartlandNI