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Joint Launch of Enterprise Ireland Strategy for Prepared Consumer Foods Sector

€30m Funding for R&D, Innovation and Productivity Initiatives

The Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Mary Coughlan TD and the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Brendan Smith TD, today (Monday, 6th October 2008) launched Enterprise Ireland's strategy for the accelerated growth and international development of Ireland's prepared consumer foods industry.

At the launch, Tánaiste Mary Coughlan announced that the Government, through Enterprise Ireland, expects to provide around €30m over the next five years to progressive companies in the prepared consumer food sector through its R&D and Growth funds.

Minister Coughlan said: "Working in partnership with the other state food development agencies including Bord Bia, BIM and Teagasc, Enterprise Ireland has identified the prepared consumer foods sector as a key area of growth. Exports for this sector grew by 6% to €1.8bn last year with further growth anticipated this year. Irish companies such as Green Isle, Rye Valley and Dawn Fresh Foods are already leading the way in the development of healthy, wholesome and tasty convenience foods and the sector offers real opportunity for further success in the future. Through this strategy, Enterprise Ireland will work with companies to realise this sector's full international growth and export potential. The strategy aims to enhance access to Enterprise Ireland's R&D Fund and Growth funds through which Enterprise Ireland expects to allocate around €30m to companies in this sector for R&D, innovation and productivity improvement."

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Brendan Smith TD, added: "I welcome the commitment of Enterprise Ireland to the prepared consumer foods sector and urge Irish food companies to consider partnerships with other food companies and/or third level institutions. Industry led research partnerships will create research with commercial applications, and exploit the world leading food science research that is already taking place in our third level institutions and food research institutes."

Dick Lenehan, Manager of Enterprise Ireland's Food Division added: "The Prepared Consumer Food sector is one of the most demanding sectors within the food and drink industry, driven by trends in health and well-being, convenience and quality. To remain internationally competitive, Irish prepared consumer foods companies continuously must offer new innovative added-value products in line with consumer and market trends.

"Enterprise Ireland is committed to helping progressive prepared consumer foods companies to build management capabilities, improve innovative capabilities, adopt industry best practice thereby enabling Irish food companies to become leading world class suppliers."

Notes to Editor

The Food Sector is Ireland's single largest indigenous sector and plays a critical role in the continued growth and success of the Irish economy. The sector contributes annual output of approximately €18.7bn, exports in excess of €7.5bn and direct employment of 46,000. It comprises over 700 companies, (10% of which are foreign-owned) exporting to 170 countries. It accounts for approximately 10pc of GDP. Prepared Consumer Foods is a significant and growing sub-sector of the overall industry.

Examples of Enterprise Ireland - support Companies in this Sector

Green Isle

Green Isle, which produces a range of branded frozen foods employs over 1,100 people in Ireland with operations in Naas, Co. Kildare, Portumna, Co. Galway, Longford and Gurteen, Co. Sligo. Its Irish made 'Goodfella's' frozen pizza is a brand leader in the sector commanding 30pc of all frozen pizza retail sales in the UK.

In March 2008, Green Isle Foods announced a €5.2m investment, supported by Enterprise Ireland, in new job creation, training, and management development.

Rye Valley Foods

Kerry Group's Rye Valley Foods is a leading supplier of frozen ready meal solutions to both the Irish and UK markets. Supplying private label is a major part of the company's business and Rye Valley is a market leader in the UK private label frozen ready meal sector. Enterprise Ireland has supported a number of significant development projects at the company's facilities in Carrickmacross.

Dawn Fresh Foods

Dawn Fresh Foods is part of the value-added division of the Queally Group, Ireland's largest privately-owned agri-business with 27 multi-disciplined food manufacturing facilities located throughout Ireland, the UK and Europe. The company has supplied the UK and European foodservice and retail markets since 1984. Supported by Enterprise Ireland, innovation in product and process development is paramount and products are tailored to meet customer requirements.

Other examples of companies in your local area may be available on request.

Contact Details

Ciara O'Mahony
Press Officer
Enterprise Ireland

Tel: 01-727808 2284/087-2043435

Roisin McCann
Press Officer
Dept. of Enterprise, Trade and Employment

Tel: 087-2594144

Martina Kearney
Press Officer
Dept. of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food

Tel: 087-2500953

Pic. available on request: Tanaiste, Mary Coughlan TD, Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Brendan Smith TD and Mike Feeney, Enterprise Ireland.

Date Released: 06 October 2008