Companies flock to food expo in Dublin
Northern Ireland is set to have its biggest ever presence at Ireland's top foodservice expo today, as companies here look to the Republic for expansion.
CATEX 2017 will see 22 Northern Irish companies join more than 250 other exhibitors from the foodservice and hospitality industries at the Dublin exhibition.
It's expected more than 10,000 industry professionals will go to the event at the RDS, which continues until Friday, to seek out new products, technology and services.
Northern Ireland firms will take up almost a quarter of the space and include two of CATEX's biggest exhibitors this year. Between them, Lynas Foodservice and Henderson Foodservice will occupy more than 400sq metres of exhibitor space.
Organisers claim that space at CATEX is of huge importance to many of Ireland and Northern Ireland's largest companies and artisan producers - and that three days at the show can lead to many new contacts.
Lynas Foodservice managing director Andrew Lynas said the exhibition had been "instrumental" in his company's growth. "Since our first show in 2009, we've increased our stand space yearly, as we can clearly see the return on our investment, both at the show and in the months following CATEX," he said.
"With our new branding and location at the event, we're looking forward to availing of the wealth of opportunities that the show delivers for our business."
Damien Barrett, managing director at Henderson Foodservice, said: "We're delighted to be exhibiting again at CATEX 2017.
"This year, we're celebrating our 50th year in business and have brought all of our experience and expertise to this one place, to show visitors how we can have a positive impact on their business. With experts in coffee through to fresh meat, we have everything covered.
"This is our largest investment in a show to date, which mirrors our commitment to the Republic of Ireland market.
"We are growing strongly and are stepping up our commitment to our customers across Ireland with increased resources on the ground and also in our marketing and IT teams."
The show will host a range of events over the three days from chef masterclasses to industry insight discussions.
CATEX is also home to the Irish Barista Championships, the Irish Cocktail Championships and the highly sought-after Chef of the Year competition.
The event, run by the Irish Foodservice Suppliers Alliance, is free to attend.