Additional funding secured to support sustainability in the food and drink sector

Additional funding secured to support sustainability in the food and drink sector

AHFES, the EU-funded food and drink programme for SMEs, has secured additional funding to support sustainability within the food and drink sector, with Northern Ireland food SMEs set to benefit.

Represented locally by the Northern Ireland Food & Drink Association (NIFDA), the innovative AHFES programme has to date provided extensive training and mentoring to food and drink SMEs across the Atlantic Area regions of Ireland, Northern Ireland, Wales, France, Spain, and Portugal.

The additional funding of over €235,000 is aimed at the sustainability component of food manufacturing, and to help provide further training and support services for SMEs, helping them to analyse their current status and formulating recommendations for action towards incorporating sustainability practices.

Michael Bell, NIFDA Executive Director says the AHFES project has delivered considerable benefits to the participating companies.

“We hope that this additional funding will encourage other SMEs to consider implications and possible opportunities from sustainability for their companies,” Michael said.

“The project adopts a practical approach and highlights both the benefits and challenges that need to be considered. We hope that it will be the first point of reference for SMEs who are looking at building their business to reflect the new eco-friendly and sustainable approach.”

The AHFES project is primarily aimed at food and drink stakeholders including researchers and manufacturers from across eight regions. Currently they are benefiting from a pioneering €1.2million EU INTERREG funded programme which has been helping boost the sector by creating an ecosystem for growth in this crucial area.

The eight partners from across the Atlantic area region are cooperating to develop a quadruple helix Atlantic Area Healthy Food Ecosystem for growth of small and medium enterprises.

Healthy food stakeholders including researchers and manufactures from across the regions have benefitted from this pioneering €1.2million EU INTERREG funded programme. AHFES works collaboratively with stakeholders to stimulate innovation and competitiveness; provides market research and facilitation of cluster business networks, with the primary aim of benefiting SMEs through advanced support, including management, marketing, and design services; builds intelligence for design and the provision of training for SMEs, and maps out an ecosystem for healthy food and lifestyles and helping them become more competitive and extending their reach into the healthy food market.

Further information on the project can be found at