Over the course of three days, 297,000 attendees had the opportunity to see and enjoy some of the finest aspects of life in Ireland at the annual National Ploughing Championships.
Food experiences at the event were dominated by the bigger retailers with Aldi and Lidl going head-to-head to create the most immersive food experience. Lidl’s Country Barn approach focused on live music and cookery demos supported by a range of suppliers providing free samples of their products. For Aldi, their in-door focused experience showcased their Irish food partners with a particular focus on the longevity of some of their partnerships with some dating back to 1999. While Aldi also focused on live music, their partnership with the National Junior Baking Competition helped to create an additional draw for their brand experience. Both Dunnes Stores and Tesco had a limited presence at the Ploughing Championships while Super Valu were notable in their absence.
Food companies were spread right across the event site with clusters in the Local Enterprise Office tents, the large domes and an additional outdoor experience where brands like O'Donnell's Crisps, Glenillen Farm and the Man of Aran fudge showcased their products. While the majority of food companies used the event as an opportunity to raise brand awareness and to drive some trial through food samples, other more established brands also saw the event as an opportunity to drive sales. Some of the most successful brands that doing this included Keogh’s crisps with their distinctive crisp bag carriers common around the event.
Food innovations are always welcomed at the National Ploughing Championships and some of the more interesting companies that caught the eye included Yomega (a refreshing alternative to Omega 3 and Vitamin D supplements - www.yomega3.com), Gaelic Escargot (Irish grown snails - www.gaelicescargot.com), Wild Irish Seaweed Pesto (www.wasi.ie) and Joe’s Crisps (Vegetable Crisps that taste delicious).
While the unseasonably good weather may have helped to deliver record-breaking attendance numbers this year, the variety and quality of food producers on display at the National Ploughing Championships this year will certainly whet the appetite for next year’s event!
by Lorcan Bannon,
Food Business Specialist