Amplify Mid and East Antrim

Mid and East Antrim Food and Drink Network

Food & Drink Network header image

Mid and East Antrim is home to a superb array of excellent food producers, chefs, artisans, food retail businesses and hospitality providers.

 As part of the Agri-food sector strategy for the Borough, Mid and East Antrim Borough Council launched our Food and Drink Network on 19 January 2022.

This is just the start of working together as a sector to showcase the wonderful quality produce from the area whilst looking to harness innovation, skills, opportunities for growth and tackling challenges ahead.

Council have procured the expert support of Birnie Consultancy who have been appointed to facilitate the network initiative. 

They will be able to share their industry experience to effectively engage with our local food and drink businesses/producers.

Their role is to help to produce a business/sector led action plan post June 2022.

We envisage that this targeted support will enable businesses to share information and support each other through a vibrant network, apply for funding to avail of training or to deliver collaborative events.

By working together they can work to make Mid and East Antrim a food destination.

We have the advantage of having rich mountains and also a fantastic coastline that yields a superb array of high quality, sustainable food.

The aim of the network is to bring ambitious and enthusiastic food and drink businesses together to:

  • learn new skills
  • meet with others and discuss common themes affecting business
  • collaborate with other growers and local producers of food and drink to make the most of what’s already being produced in the area.

Read more our about Agri-food Sector Strategy.


Still time to get involved!

Next meet up is 23 February 2022 and will focus on Existing and Emerging Markets & Consumer Trends.

Get involved by dropping an email to Mary O'Boyle: Mary.OBoyle@midandeastantrim.gov.uk


What to expect from the Food and Drink Network

We aim to support the growth and strength of the agri-food businesses as a collective, inspiring collaboration, helping to guide and navigate through business challenges and opportunities. Ultimately, providing agri-food growers and producers with a voice to shape the future direction of a network beyond June 2022.

To initially re-engage with you, network facilitation is planned up until June 2022, kicking off with an introduction meeting- taking place on Wednesday 19 January 2022 at 10.30am via Zoom.

This will be an interactive ‘get to know you’, where we hope to learn about your businesses and exactly what hopes you have from an Food and Drink Network.

This will follow with one session per month, covering specific topics relevant to your business and will consider new and emerging impacts upon the sector.

Topics will include:

  • skills identification
  • data collection & handling
  • existing and emerging market drivers
  • communications & marketing
  • business growth and green growth.

These sessions will be tailored from information gleaned from the questionnaire, we would ask you to complete as part of prior registration to the introductory event.

How we will facilitate the network

We have appointed Birnie Consultancy to facilitate the network.

Birnie Consultancy are a solutions-driven consultancy who bring expertise to organisations across the whole food chain to drive business performance and operational improvements.

Expertise include:

• helping clients build on their capabilities, productivity, profitability, enabling them to access different markets,

• boosting businesses competitiveness

• adding customer value while building on delivering sustainability.

To date they have helped develop food networks in Wicklow, Kildare amongst others and have just finished writing both the Independent Strategic Review of the Northern Ireland Agri-Food Sector alongside Sir. Peter Kendall and Julie Robinson and an Agriculture Strategy for Armagh, Banbridge & Craigavon Borough Council.

You can find out more information about them on the Birnie Consultancy website.

How do I get involved?

Simply complete our online questionnaire

Please note completion of the questionnaire is mandatory in order to engage in the network.

For further information, you can also contact us via: amplify@midandeastantrim.gov.uk