Final call for food and drink producers

December 2016 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye.

December 2016 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye.

Producers have until March 3 to submit entries for the Belfast City Airport competition in partnership with Food NI and Mid Ulster District Council.

Food and drink producers in Dungannon have less than three weeks to enter a competition which is offering a staggering prize of £30,000 free marketing support and brand visibility at George Best Belfast City Airport to the winner.

The airport, in partnership with Food NI and Mid Ulster District Council, is urging local food and drink producers to submit their entries to be in with a chance of being crowned Northern Ireland’s Best food or drink product. The closing date for entries is Friday, 3rd March.

The competition is open to food and drink producers based in Dungannon and across Northern Ireland, with the £30,000 prize including £20,000 of branding on site at Belfast City Airport and £10,000 of online support through the airport’s digital channels.

To take part in the competition, producers can download an entry form from www.belfastcityairport.com/foodni and should submit their entries via email to cortney@lighthouseni.com. Mid Ulster District Council and each of the other 10 local councils will then select three products from each area to progress through to the next stage of the competition.

The chosen products will then feature on the airport’s Facebook page, with the most popular from each council progressing to the final. This will take the form of a tasting session judged by a panel of food and drink experts.

Katy Best, Commercial and Marketing Director at Belfast City Airport, commented: “The continued growth of our local food and drink trade is hugely important to the Northern Irish tourism industry and the airport is a committed champion of our local producers. We are very pleased to partner with Food NI on this exciting initiative to continue the success of the NI Year of Food and Drink.

“With 2.67 million passengers from all over the world travelling through the airport each year, the winning producer will have full exposure to a fantastic level of footfall and visibility. With less than three weeks remaining to enter, we would urge all producers to submit their application.

“The competition will help to significantly raise the profile of all the shortlisted products, not just the winner, and we are working closely with all local councils to ensure the geographical reach of the competition extends right across Northern Ireland.”

Michele Shirlow, CEO of Food NI, said: “This competition is a fantastic opportunity to shine a spotlight on some of our most talented and exciting food and drink producers, who are vital to Northern Ireland’s hospitality sector. Our local products are world class and last year they really began to receive the recognition they deserve, both nationally and internationally, through the NI Year of Food and Drink.

“The prize of £30,000 in marketing offered by Belfast City Airport is huge and will make a real impact on the business of the winning company. We are extremely grateful to the airport for its support and would encourage all producers to apply - and help secure high levels of visibility for their products.”

Councillor Sharon McAleer, Vice Chair of Mid Ulster District Council, said: “Mid Ulster is home to some of the finest food producers in the country and this is an exceptional opportunity to compete to put their produce in front of close to 3million people travelling through the airport - and that’s aside from the prestige which would come from being chosen as the winner of a competition of this calibre.

“Belfast City Airport and Food NI are to be congratulated for their vision and commitment to our food-based economy and I look forward to seeing the entries from Mid Ulster”.

For more information on how to enter and to download an entry form, please visit www.belfastcityairport.com/foodni

The George Best Belfast City Airport can also be found on Facebook (George Best Belfast City Airport) and Twitter (@BelfastCity_Air).