Northern Irish seafood industry set to reel in business from Middle East
- Two Northern Irish seafood processors achieve Halal accreditation
- Northern Ireland’s expanding food product set to drive overseas inbound tourism
Dubai, UAE, 03 December 2013: Northern Ireland’s growing food industry is keen to attract more business from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and neighbouring regions following recent Halal accreditation for two of its leading seafood processors. The state recognises the importance of the UAE market for both exporting sales and attracting tourism from the GCC.
The two companies, Ewing Seafood, Belfast’s oldest fishmonger, and Glenarm Organic Salmon, Northern Ireland’s only fish farming business, are aiming to develop sales of smoked salmon in the buoyant Gulf market. With salmon being widely distributed across Northern Ireland, visitors from the GCC will now be able to enjoy world-class Irish halal food when visiting Ireland.
Both companies have been developing business contacts, particularly in the UAE, for the salmon products. Ewing Seafood slowly smokes organic salmon sourced from Glenarm in its own kiln over a fragrant mix of beech and oak wood chips.
While the salmon has already been ordered by five-star leading hotels in Dubai, both companies recognise the importance of Halal accreditation to building greater business across the Middle East:
“Interest in our smoked salmon, particularly in the Emirates, is immensely encouraging. Existing customers were impressed by the taste and texture of the salmon that are influenced by the fish farm location in the cold and invigorating waters of the Irish Sea,” says Crawford Ewing, a director of the family-run Ewing Seafood.
“What we bring to the salmon is a heritage in curing smoking fresh fish that stretches back a century and in our traditional kiln using handcrafting techniques,” he adds.
John Russell, managing director of Glenarm Organic Salmon in county Antrim, says: “Halal accreditation is an essential requirement for sustainable business in the Middle East. We see immense opportunities there for our unique organic salmon and are determined to grasp the business.
“Achieving Halal accreditation is a rigorous and exacting process that involved an examination of the feed we use, through the entire farming operation to the smoking and final preparation at Ewings. We now know that our products now meet the requirements for further and greater business throughout the Middle East.”
Northern Ireland’s expanding food product is a key avenue to driving food business and food tourism from overseas markets, as well as helping to stimulate the local economy. Initiatives such as the recent Belfast Restaurant Week have helped to drive overseas visitors from the European market in particular, with plans to grow further into international markets including the lucrative Middle East consumer market.
“Food tourism in Northern Ireland is a growing area of focus for the Middle East,” comments Thomas Redmond, Marketing Manager for Tourism Ireland – GCC. “Restaurants throughout Ireland are quickly gearing up to become more Middle East-friendly, adapting to cultural tastes including working with Halal-accredited suppliers, in recognition of growing visiting and interest.
“Events such as Belfast Restaurant Week, which attracted hundreds of visitors this year, help cast a light on the exciting and diverse food scene in the capital and further afield in Northern Ireland, with locally-based artisan producers now looking to Middle East consumers who appreciate the finer things. With many restaurants popping-up all over the city, some to international acclaim, now is an exciting time for food tourism in Ireland which we are placing greater importance on for the Middle East market.”
About Tourism Ireland:
Tourism Ireland's role is to market the island of Ireland overseas, growing overseas tourism revenue and visitor numbers to the island of Ireland, and to help Northern Ireland to realise its tourism potential.
Tourism Ireland devises and delivers world-class marketing programmes in over 20 markets across the world and works in close co-operation with industry partners on the island of Ireland as well as with the travel trade, online operators, media, air and sea carriers.
Tourism Ireland is the organisation responsible for promoting the island of Ireland overseas as a leading holiday destination.
Tourism Ireland’s website is http://www.ireland.com
About Ewing Seafood
Established in 1911, Ewing Seafood currently supplies smoked salmon and other seafood to UK retailers, including Selfridges in London, and leading restaurants in Northern Ireland. The company, which is family-owned and managed, was successful in having one of its products included in the Top 50 Foods listed by the UK Guild of Fine Food in the recent Great Taste Awards.
About Glenarm Organic Salmon
Glenarm Organic Salmon in Northern Ireland doubled sales of fresh salmon in markets including the US, Europe, Singapore and Dubai. The company has been in business since 2008 and is the only organic salmon producer in the north east of Ireland. The small company is located near the historic village of Glenarm in the picturesque Glens of Antrim. It farms around 500 tonnes of premium organic salmon annually and sells every fish it produces, the overwhelming majority to customers in international markets.