Mid and East Antrim has strong traditions and capabilities, both in terms of agriculture, food production and processing.

The 30% share of the total business base in MEA is above the NI average of 25% and significantly more than the UK average of 6%. Key companies specialise in food production, food processing, agri-engineering, agri-tech and farm technology

The local economy is mainly reliant on the sustainability and prosperity of this industry, with nearly one third of local businesses based in the wider agricultural sector.

Key Players

With nearly 1,800 farms and over 190 food and drink production companies, our businesses contributed to £168m of sales in 2018 and £117m of GVA within the local area.

Agri-food contributes to the overall total of 10,000 manufacturing jobs in the Borough, including key employers such as Moy Park, Dale Farm and Cranswick.

Moy Park is the seventh largest company in Northern Ireland and one of Europe’s leading poultry producers. Mid and East Antrim is also home to a wide range of high quality, local artisan food and drink produce; grown, produced or processed within the Borough.

Local producers include Linda’s Original, The Bank House and Granny Shaw’s Fudge Factory.

Port of Larne

The Port of Larne plays a key role in the movement of agri-food goods to Great Britain and from Ireland. With the EU Exit now underway, there are both challenges and opportunities linked to streamlining and regulatory compliance.  These include higher global demand driven by population rises, adoption of western protein rich diets, changes in market demand for non-meat proteins and increased yield requirements on food production.

Support for Agri-food Businesses

The future of the Agri-Food industry is evolving towards food security and the reduction of carbon output.  This reflects changing weather patterns, economic demand, government regulation drivers, consumer opportunity and environmental concerns.  The Agri-food Study and Action Plan, completed in September 2020, identified the most important areas where support is required for local companies and stakeholders.  More information on the Mid and East Antrim Agri-food Action Plan can be found here.

The Council has historically invested in a range of agri-food specific support mechanisms and has developed initiatives such as the MEA Food and Drink Network to support the sector.  The network, first established in February 2017, boasts huge success through new working relationships established within the sector.  This helped to raise the profile of the Borough’s excellent award winning companies including Glenarm Shorthorn Beef, Clearer Water, Hillstown Brewery and Ann’s Pantry.

Business Growth support is also available for agri-food companies through a range of specialised programmes. More details can be found here.

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Mid and East Antrim Borough Council Now is the time - Embrace the opportunity