New food strategy aims to create 86 new jobs

 A NEW food strategy being developed by Limerick City and County Council and the Local Enterprise Office is projected to create 86 new jobs in the local food industry over a three-year period.

A report presented to councillors this week focused on the development of ‘food tourism’ in the city and county, as well as creating a food brand and logo for Limerick products.

The plans also include the establishment of a centre of food excellence at Limerick Institute of Technology, as well as an annual Limerick food ‘super festival’ to showcase local producers and restaurants.

A food strategy facilitator is expected to be appointed to oversee the implementation of the plan.

The strategy aims to develop a united food community, improve business skill sets, tell the ‘Limerick food story’, develop a food zone and put “enablers in place to support its rollout”.

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It is hoped that it will result in increased food exports, the establishment of more new food businesses and stronger credentials for Limerick as a food processing, retail and tourism destination as well as increasing employment opportunities.

Cllr Joe Leddin (Lab) said it was one of the best reports he ever read and there was huge potential to capitalise on Limerick’s reputation as a food producing region.

Cllr James Collins (FF) commented: “There is a very healthy appetite in Limerick for this; Limerick foodies will be willing to get behind it.”

Cllr Ciara McMahon (SF) warned against having a “city-centred” strategy and called for the plan to include the whole county.