Visitors to Northern Ireland want to try locally produced food and drink as part of an authentic experience. Producers can take advantage of this market by highlighting to customers where their food comes from.
Artisan food producers
The artisan food market includes niche products that are produced on a small scale, using traditional methods. This could include traditional cheese-making, hand-baked breads or homemade chutneys and jams.
Artisan food producers have an opportunity to contribute to tourists’ food experiences by offering products that showcase local ingredients and craftsmanship.
Artisan producers of food and other crafts can get guidance in offering a tourism experience by becoming an official ÉCONOMUSÉE. This involves opening your workshop to the public and meeting certain criteria. There are currently six in Northern Ireland.
Brewers and distillers
Northern Ireland is home to the producers of many craft beers and speciality spirits. The number of breweries in the region has more than doubled since 2013. [Source: British Beer and Pub Association]
Breweries and distilleries can offer experiences like tasting events and tours to visitors. By working with other businesses, their beverages can enhance and complement other food experiences.
Opportunities for food and drink producers
Some ways producers can focus on the food tourism market include:
- create food tourism experiences by offering tours and tastings
- use your online channels to tell the story of how and where your product is made
- use your packaging to highlight where the product comes from and who is involved in making it
- develop relationships with local food and tourism providers
- work with restaurants and hospitality businesses to showcase local products and ingredients you supply on their menus
- work with retail distributors to promote your product as a gift opportunity for tourists or a chance to try local produce
- get involved in food initiatives and events such as farmers markets, food trails and festivals