Lyrath Estate Hotel hosts food producers forum

Over 20 food producers from the South East recently attended a “Meet the Buyer” event that was held at the Lyrath Estate Hotel in Kilkenny. The local food producers attended the networking event at the end of April with a view to meeting buyers from major national and international companies and presenting their products to them. The event at the Kilkenny hotel was an initiative run by the Southeast Regional Inter-agency, which aimed to develop the agri-food sector in the region in line with the Irish Government’s Food Harvest 20/20strategy. Invest Kilkenny as well as other Enterprise Boards from counties Carlow, Kilkenny, South Tipperary, Waterford City, Waterford County and Wexford were involved in the event.

During the event the producers were able to showcase their products directly to the buyers, who could personally review their product ranges and offer advice on packaging and presentation as well as discussing potential deals. Some of the Kilkenny firms taking part included Highbank Orchards, Kells Wholemeal and Oldtown Hill Bakehouse.

Attending the event, Helen Finnegan from Knockdrinna Cheeses said: “There has been some interest and hopefully there will be some follow up. There are big names present who supply into hotels and catering. In the current climate it is good to see events like this as it is an opportunity to put you yourself forward.”

Some of the buyers present with international links were Sodexo Ireland, Compass Group PLC & Breaks Ireland who between them have a combined annual spend of some €100m. Labour Deputy Ann Phelan also welcomed the initiative: “I believe that by giving a shop window to artisan and small food producers, the creators are building on the successful Savior Kilkenny Food Festival multi-annual project of providing a much-needed boost to indigenous and local food companies who have experienced a fall in sales during the recession.”

The Lyrath Estate Hotel is located just over 1.2 kilometres from Kilkenny City. Set in 170 acres of mature parkland, the hotel fuses contemporary design with the elegance of the original 17th century house. The Lyrath Estate Hotel contains 137 bedrooms finished to exacting standards with TV, mini-bar and independently controlled heating/air conditioning systems as well as views over the estate or gardens. The hotel also has extensive conferencing facilities which can accommodate anything from two to 1,500 people, as well as a spa and several restaurants and bars.