Big News for Mayo Food and Drink Producers

Wednesday 19th May 2021 will be a red letter day for every food and drink producer in the county of Mayo. It’s the launch date for the much anticipated Mayo Food and Drink Networking and Training Programme which will totally change the food and drink landscape within the county. This is a really important event for owners or managers of food and drink businesses in Mayo to attend. It’s relevant for both established businesses and those at an earlier stage of development. Getting involved at the beginning will increase the value your business gets from the new network. 

Celebrity chef Brian McDermott is keynote speaker at the virtual event, and will talk about the importance and value of Irish food producers to hospitality and food tourism. Brian McDermott is an award winning chef, author, presenter and proud Donegal man who has just been named Ireland’s Producers Champion for 2021 by Blas na hEireann. He has built a national reputation on one simple belief – that tasty, healthy food based around traditional recipes and local produce is something everyone should enjoy. He’s a familiar face on TV, has his own weekly BBC radio slot and is a regular on the Irish food festival circuit.

The Programme is a result of the Mayo Food and Drink Strategy 2025, and between now and July 2022 will give free and easy access to training, mentoring, and information supports, exclusively to Mayo food and drink businesses. Having a network of producers will develop and improve the profile of Mayo food nationally. The producer register already includes 115 businesses and any who have not yet signed up are encouraged to get involved. There is no cost to producers.  

Sue O’Toole, Senior Enterprise Officer, South West Mayo Development Company has been a stalwart champion for developing the food and drink sector in Mayo. She commented, “Last year I was privileged to work with local producers to develop the Mayo Food & Drink Strategy 2025. Now, South West Mayo Development Company, on behalf of Mayo Local Action Group, is delighted to announce the Mayo Food Programme, a LEADER funded response to the challenges and opportunities identified in the Mayo Food & Drink Strategy 2025. The Programme will action the priorities identified by producers.  It is totally food focused offering networking supports and a range of training and skills development supports. LEADER continues to work with the producers in Mayo’s vibrant and growing food and drink sector”.

Programme manager Oonagh Monahan has secured the services of four expert trainers, all steeped in the food and drink sector. They are: Aisling Roche (business supports); Louise McDonnell (e-commerce and e-marketing); Suzanne O’Brien (food tourism/integrating the food and drink sectors with tourism); Derek and Joanna Hannick (adapting your food and drink business for future opportunities and challenges).

Launch attendees will get the benefit of the trainers’ top tips for saving time, making money and ensuring success. It’s a great chance to ask burning questions and get the benefit of their shared experience and knowledge. Everyone at the launch will also be included in a free draw. 

Elaine Moyles, A/Head of Enterprise Local Enterprise Office Mayo, explained the support her organisation can offer, saying, “LEO Mayo is delighted to support the Mayo Food & Drinks Network. We work with local producers across the food and drinks sector offering training, mentoring and financial supports to help grow and scale their business and can see at first-hand the high quality produce created in the county and sold worldwide. We encourage local businesses to take part in this important opportunity to collectively promote their products, reach wider markets and advertise Mayo as the food destination of choice”. 

Join in the launch of the Mayo Food and Drink Networking and Training Programme at 12 noon on Wednesday 19th May. It will be streamed live on Facebook (www.facebook.com/mayofoodanddrink). The link will be shared on social media.

The Mayo Food and Drink Networking and Training Programme is supported by South West Mayo Development Company and Local Enterprise Office Mayo.

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