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Olympics could’ve played with smaller producers

As the countdown to the Olympics begins we’re all set to enjoy a few weeks of sporting competition and endeavour.

For some Northern Ireland firms lucky enough to bag supply contracts with London 2012 the last few months and years have been busy preparing for the Games, whether they’ve been involved in building infrastructure or helping get the Olympic park up and running.

For others the busy period is about to begin as they rush to feed, clothe and water the athletes and the spectators that will be populating the east London site.

We’ve heard of great work from companies on this side of the water who are key suppliers, such as H&J Martin, Lagan Construction and Boyd Bedding but others, particularly those involved in supplying food, have been tightly marshalled by the Olympic brand from disclosing what they’ve been up to.

You can see why they’re keen to protect such a prestigious brand but it’s a shame that the spirit of the Olympics, to give athletes of any nation, no matter how rich, a fair crack of the whip, doesn’t spill over into the supplier arena.

Wouldn’t it be great to have a food village at the Olympic park populated by the best of the UK’s independent food producers to give visitors a good impression of what we’ve got to offer rather than a McDonald’s?

Certainly the money paid by McDonald’s for the privilege to build one of its biggest restaurants is needed by the Games, but surely it wouldn’t have been difficult to use the event as a platform to give the minnows of the food game a leg up?

And if you want to use a card to pay for your lunch you will only be able to pay with a Visa card, which happens to be another sponsor.

‘It wouldn’t have been difficult to give food game minnows a leg up’