Marvellous boost from Tesco will strengthen economy

micheleYear of Food and Drink was given a marvellous boost last week by Tesco Northern Ireland in the shape of a £500,000 promotional campaign to showcase our fantastic food and drink.

Tesco already spends upwards of £500 million annually on purchasing local food and drink and has helped many smaller companies, including artisan enterprises, to develop sales here and also to win their first business with the leading retailer in Great Britain. Tesco’s purchases of local food and drink was just £50 million in 1997.

I was delighted to be present at the announcement by Cliff Kells and his team at Tesco and to support the retailer’s tremendous commitment to our £5 billion food and drink industry, our biggest manufacturer and an employer of around 100,000 people across the ‘farm to fork’ supply chain.

It’s an immensely encouraging initiative that will present excellent opportunities for smaller companies in particular to develop sales and to impress the Tesco top team with the quality of their products and the strength of their commitment to business. I hope they will seize the opportunities being provided by Tesco.

What Tesco brings to our year-long campaign is unrivalled reach for our companies, both large and small and across all industry sectors.

The retailer has 57 stores here and deals with 800,000 customers every week. They will be highlighting our superb food and drink to shoppers by means of a series of initiatives and promotions in store.
Tesco plans to spotlight on local producers and products, giving the public here an unprecedented opportunity to get to know producers and to give shoppers more opportunities than ever before to sample the quality and innovation of local products. This will increase awareness of local products and provide producers the opportunity to increase sales.
Tesco’s carefully structured campaign includes promotional branding support for Year of Food and Drink, more than 200 supplier sampling days in stores, 12 “sampling fairs” for artisan businesses in particular and 12 Food NI cookery demonstrations. Smaller artisan companies will be invited to run ‘pop-up’ shops in Tesco store foyers. This is a unique opportunity so far only offered by Tesco.
There will also be an extended advertising campaign involving producers on U105fm radio, 12 live on-air product tastings, 24 ‘meet the producer’ videos and 24 competitions posted on Tesco’s local facebook page, TasteNorthernIreland. In addition, digi-social flyers will be circulated to 300,000 shoppers every month and there will be a new promotional mural at Belfast City Airport showcasing local food