Foster congratulates Northern Ireland winners at Great Taste event

Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster has congratulated three Northern Ireland food companies on their achievements in the finals of the annual Great Taste Awards.

The Minister was speaking following the announcement of the achievements of the local companies announced at the finals in London of the awards that are often referred to as the ‘Oscars’ of the food and drink industry in the UK and Ireland. The event is organised annually by the influential UK Guild of Fine Food.

Northern Ireland companies won two of the main categories in the awards –

• En Place Foods (UK) in Cookstown gained the Ambient Product Award for a highly innovative sauce.

• Yellow Door Deli in Portadown won the first-ever Deli Signature Dish that the Guild introduced this year to encourage delis to begin developing their own dishes. The Yellow Door dish used beef from Hannan Meats in Moira, Co Down

The Northern Ireland Product of the Year, sponsored by Invest Northern Ireland, was won by Hannan Meats in Moira for its salt-aged Glenarm Shorthorn Beef.

Arlene Foster said: “Winning two major awards in this highly competitive event represents a marvellous achievement for the companies and Northern Ireland.

“The achievements of these companies, and Hannan Meats in the Northern Ireland Regional Award, are another marvellous endorsement of the outstanding quality, taste and innovation now underpinning the food sector, now our biggest manufacturing industry and a rapidly developing exporter of quality products outside Northern Ireland.

“Recognition of the quality of our food by high profile organisations such as the UK Guild of Fine Food in the annual Great Taste Awards is helping to establish Northern Ireland as a source of innovative food and meals among major international retailers and foodservice organisations. In addition, the international profile that the awards generate contributes to our tourism industry. Food tourism is becoming an immensely important element in the package of attractions that we offer visitors.

“The Northern Ireland Executive is currently working with the industry to implement the far reaching recommendations made in Going for Growth – Investing in Success, the action plan tabled by the Agri Food Strategy Board. We see immense opportunities to build on the achievements of our companies to grow exports and employment."