Local food and drink producers in running for £30,000 prize

ood and drink producers based in the mid and east Antrim area are invited to take part in the search for NI's 'Best' local food and drink product, a Belfast City Airport competition in partnership with Food NI. Michele Shirlow, CEO of Food NI, is pictured with Eva Keenan, Economic Development Assistant at Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, and Katy Best, Commercial and Marketing Director at Belfast City Airport. 
 Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye.
ood and drink producers based in the mid and east Antrim area are invited to take part in the search for NI's 'Best' local food and drink product, a Belfast City Airport competition in partnership with Food NI. Michele Shirlow, CEO of Food NI, is pictured with Eva Keenan, Economic Development Assistant at Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, and Katy Best, Commercial and Marketing Director at Belfast City Airport. Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye.

Mid & East Antrim Council has partnered with George Best Belfast City Airport and Food NI for a competition to celebrate the legacy of the NI Year of Food and Drink.

The search is now on for Northern Ireland’s Best local food and drink product – offering a staggering prize of £30,000 free marketing support and brand visibility at the airport for the winner.

The competition is open to food and drink producers based in the Mid & East Antrim area 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, producers should submit their entries via email to cortney@lighthouseni.com by March 3, with Mid and East Antrim Borough Council and each of the other 10 local councils then selecting 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 which will take the form of a tasting session judged by a panel of food and drink experts.

Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Cllr. Audrey Wales, said: “The Council recognises what a fantastic opportunity this is for local producers - our region boasts some incredible produce and the airport’s marketing support would make a huge impact on businesses in our area. With Agri-Food a key priority sector within the Integrated Economic Development Strategy for Mid and East Antrim, Council is delighted to partner with Belfast City Airport and Food NI to deliver this initiative. We look forward to receiving entries from producers across our council area and would like to thank Belfast City Airport and Food NI for providing this great opportunity.”

Katy Best, Commercial and Marketing Director at Belfast City Airport, said: “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: “In 2017, we are reflecting on the tremendous impact the NI Year of Food and Drink has made. The initiative is expected to have generated around £40 million of advertising globally – and around four times what we set out to achieve. This competition is a way of building on the legacy of 2016 as we aim to make Northern Ireland a ‘go to’ food destination over the next three to four years.” To download an entry form, visit www.belfastcityairport.com

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