Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster has praised the innovation of five Northern Ireland companies which gained six top category awards in the first Irish Quality Food and Drink Awards (IQFA) at an event in Dublin.
The Northern Ireland category winners were: Avondale Foods, Lurgan; Armagh Cider Company, Armagh, which gained two awards; Whitewater Brewing Company, Kilkeel and White’s Speedicook, Tandragee. Most of the awards focused on collaboration between the companies and leading retailers.
Arlene Foster said: “The awards are another tremendous endorsement of the high quality food and drink now being developed by our companies, both large and small, for major supermarkets. It is also further proof that Northern Ireland produce is becoming increasingly popular with shoppers both at home and in the Republic of Ireland.
“Retailers across the UK and Ireland are now working alongside many of our companies to create innovative food for their customers. Northern Ireland companies are coming up with meal solutions that meet retailers’ exacting requirements in terms of quality, outstanding taste and the provenance that consumers demand.
“Such collaboration is proactively promoted by Invest Northern Ireland through an extensive programme of meet the buyer events, and is contributing to the continuing growth of our £4 billion agri-food industry.”
The six NI products were among 37 products named by expert judges as IQFA 2013 winners. Overall 350 products were assessed by 70 judges.
The awards were presented by leading chef, Neven Maguire, and were organised by Food and Hospitality Ireland with backing from the UK Quality Food and Drink Awards.