Food Sector

The Boyne Valley region, which covers counties Louth & Meath, has long been synonymous with food production and trade dating as far back as 10,000 years ago. The development of the Boyne Valley Food Series in 2013 helped cement the region as a leading player on the national food stage and the creation of a success food community within the region. As part of the development of a wider local economic plan, Meath County Council in partnership with Louth County Council and their respective LEOs, identified the need for a Food Strategy for the region. While the strategy sits under the Boyne Valley banner, it has been written with all parts of both counties in mind, on the basis that the tourist or consumer does not necessarily recognise geographic boundaries.

Boyne Valley Food Strategy 2016-2021 

This strategy has been designed to help support all existing initiatives and introduce new innovative aspects, which have been structured, as part of a road map and will help guide all stakeholders in a focussed direction. A regional food brand was created in 2018, Discover Boyne Valley Flavours, and is now a National & International recognised Food Destination brand.

Objectives:

  • To develop and deepen Boyne Valley’s food identity and reputation.
  • To provide a resource to facilitate collaboration among food stakeholders working locally.
  • To help improve visitor experiences through local food and drink.
  • To increase visitor spend and new tourism opportunities.
  • To support Boyne Valley’s Micro food economy and business diversity.
  • To increase local employment in the food sector and training opportunities.
  • To improve community opportunities to access local food.
  • To link local food with other cultural, environmental and educational activities.

To date the strategy has been a huge success with stakeholders (producers, foodservice operators, tourism operators and state agencies) working together on this shared common vision. The strategy has enabled the region to continue to excel within the food sphere (winning Foodie Destination in Ireland in 2016 and runner-up in 2017 & 2018, winner at the World Food Travel Association’s - Food Trekking Awards 2019 and named by the National Geographic Traveller UK in 2019 as one of the World’s Best Food Destinations) and in addition, many local food & drink businesses have been recognised nationally & international for individual achievements.

 

Supporting your Food Business

As part of the delivery of the Boyne Valley Food Strategy, Louth and Meath Local Enterprise Offices offer specific Food & Drink industry training & supports, alongside their regular services, to new and existing businesses through the Boyne Valley Food Network.  New Food Businesses - If you are considering setting up a new food business, please have a look at our “Starting a New Food Business in Louth” brochure here: 

LEO supports include funding for eligible businesses, mentoring, networking, management development training and promotional opportunities. In addition, there are three programmes that are specifically designed to support businesses in the food sector, as set out below:

Digital School of Food

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Digital School of Food is an e-learning hub that has been designed to support food producers in developing their food manufacturing businesses from start-ups to the growth phase. It is designed to allow producers to upskill in their own time and, at a pace which suits them. To find out more, and get started, head over to the Digital School of Food Website.

Food Starter

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The Food Starter Programme is a two day programme designed to help those with a food idea, or those at a very early stage of starting up a food business. It will cover everything from an overview of the Irish food sector to the specifics of starting a food production business. To Find out more, contact your Local Enterprise Office for details of the next programme. Click here to view the Food Starter Brochure.

Food Academy

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The Food Academy Start Programme is designed for people who are looking to develop and grow small-scale food and drink manufacturing businesses. The programme is supported by Bord Bia and Supervalu and involves a live product trial on shelves in Supervalu stores. It is aimed at those in the early stages of development and it is delivered through a mix of workshops and one-to-one mentoring. Click here to view brochure.