29/09/2003

Tesco urged to extend NI product promotion to UK

Representatives of supermarket giant Tesco have been asked to explore ways of further promoting Northern Ireland sourced produce on the UK mainland.

UUP leader David Trimble and his Upper Bann colleague George Savage met Tesco’s Northern Ireland communications manager Cliff Kells at Stormont on Friday when they discussed a wide range of issues.

Mr Trimble said: “While welcoming the company’s huge investment here in the Province, we wanted to point out that they have a vital role to play in helping promote products on the mainland that are unique to Northern Ireland.

“We pointed out that we felt the publication of a new recipe book for the whole of the UK which contains a section promoting the ‘taste of Northern Ireland', was an excellent idea, but we were somewhat concerned at the inclusion of some products not wholly made or manufactured in Northern Ireland.”

During the meeting, Tesco said they were endeavouring to promote products linked with Northern Ireland and that they were also attempting to persuade people on the mainland to visit the Province through special features and competitions.

Former UUP Assembly agriculture spokesman Mr Savage added: “We want to ensure that any projection of Ulster produce includes products specifically sourced from the Province such as the champ as featured in the magazine.

“We also took the opportunity to raise the whole issue of farmgate prices and the differential between what companies pay farmers for their produce and the much higher prices paid in supermarkets.

“There is a good relationship between Tesco and its local suppliers and we acknowledge the hard work and commitment the company have made in developing these links since they established business here. What we are anxious to see is a fair deal for local producers who are offering high quality products with an excellent reputation."

(MB)

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