The Food Coast Network

The Food Coast – Donegal’s Good Food Initiative has the overall aim of acting as the central platform for establishing Donegal as a “food county” – a place with a vibrant food culture and food economy. The initiative is open to anyone with an interest in the County’s food sector – from start-up businesses to part-time food producers, from on-farm added value producers to established primary producers, manufacturers, distributors, retailers and restaurant

The outline is not a list of definitive actions – they can be changed and adapted as the needs of the initiative and the food enterprises in the County dictate. Critical to the overall initiative, both its delivery and success will be the active engagement of food enterprises and food enthusiasts in the delivery of the identified actions.

The actions under the Food Coast Initiative are grouped under four broad themes. It must however be acknowledged and remembered that each of these themes are inter-related and in many ways mutually dependent.

1. New Food Businesses

Aim – To encourage and facilitate the establishment of new food opportunities in County Donegal, in particular the production of distinctive quality food produce and products and added-value food manufacturing businesses, which will add to the food culture with the County.


Create Awareness:

  • To create awareness within the County of the opportunities in the food sector through positive promotion of the food sector within the County with a particular focus on existing businesses e.g. use of existing food manufacturing businesses as case studies featured in local press.
  • To raise awareness of the opportunities for businesses within the food sector through market information workshops and information provision and sharing.

Facilitate New Start-ups:

  • To deliver at least two dedicated Start Your Own Food Business programmes during the 1st three years.
  • To establish a peer mentoring scheme involving established food business promoters mentoring new food start-up promoters.
  • To assist through advice, mentoring and where eligible, through grant aid, the establishment of new food businesses in the County.

2. Existing Food Businesses

Aim – To increase the capability of existing food enterprises and food promoters within Donegal so that they can become more competitive and sustainable and develop new market opportunities.


Develop Capability and Competitiveness:

  • To organise a series of workshops during the initial three years on packaging, branding, food marketing, food safety, etc.
  • To organise at least two best practice visits during the three year period.
  • To provide specialist mentoring to assist businesses address specific business needs and opportunities.
  • To establish a dedicated food network within the County based on the Profitnet model (monthly meetings, formal structure focused on peer learning and agreed actions recorded).

Increase Marketing Activities:

  • To raise awareness of existing new opportunities through distribution of market information, the organisation of market update workshops and enhance information provision and sharing.
  • Organisation of group attendance at a number of food promotion / trade events during the three years – a minimum of one event per annum.
  • Through workshops and food branding, food marketing and attendance at food promotion events to raise the market profile of Donegal food products and producers.
  • To work toward applying The Food Coast logo as a branded logo for quality food products and food providers from within County Donegal. Agreement on what standard / standards should be applied, guidelines on how the logo is used, the range of food enterprise that can use it and how this is monitored will need to be decided on at an early stage.

3. Local Sourcing

Aim – to maximise the amount of quality local produce and products used within the food sector within Donegal by added-value food manufacturers, food service businesses and food providers.


Establish and Share Database:

  • To establish a database of quality primary food product providers and added-value food product manufacturers in the County.
  • To share this database with food manufacturing and food service businesses in the County.
  • To seek agreement between a minimum of five business

4. Food Awareness

Aim – to create awareness within Donegal and nationally of the range of quality food providers in the County and of the county as a location/destination for a food experience.


  • The organisation of a minimum of two high profile food events within the county per annum.
  • To implement a local awareness campaign through the publication of local case studies, positive news stories on food businesses and of the Food Coast project.
  • Dedicated web presence with regular blogs, etc and relevant links to other web sites.
  • To create stakeholder awareness through direct contact with stakeholders and through having them involved in the delivery of the programme.
  • Group attendance at national (and international) food promotion and trade events.
  • Featured articles in trade magazines and journals.
  • To encourage and facilitate the development of local food trails and local food festivals within the county.
  • Foster links with other complementary initiatives and organisations for mutual benefit and publicity eg. Fáilte Ireland and Bord Bía.

For further information on the Food Coast contact Eve - Anne McCarron on +35374 9160735 or