The crème de la crème of speciality food companies across Northern Ireland won a record number of accolades at this year’s Irish Great Taste Awards, considered to be the Oscars of the agri-food and drink industry.
Organised annually by the Guild of Fine Food Retailers this year’s local winners, including Mash Direct, Dale Farm Ltd and Good 4U Food & Drink company, were announced at a special gala awards dinner held at the Royal Hospital, Kilmainham in Dublin.
Bob Farrand, founder of the guild described the Northern Ireland entries as “punching well above their weight” in terms of overall quality.
In total 14 local companies won 23 awards (including seven gold, eight silver and a further eight bronze) considered within the industry to be the highest acknowledgement of craftsmanship and dedication in the making of superb food and drink.
Invest Northern Ireland has provided a holistic range of support ranging from innovative R&D assistance and trade development to each company accredited with an award.
This forms a part of its work with the Food Strategy Implementation Partnership, which is delivered in partnership with the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
The award ceremony took place after an International Speciality Food Meet the Buyer event organised by Bord Bia in association with Invest NI, which allowed speciality food and drinks companies to meet with over 150 potential buyers.
As a result ten local companies, who attended the event with support from Invest NI, have managed to secure at least 20 potential product listings with prestigious speciality food retailers outside of Northern Ireland such as Fortnum & Mason, House of Fraser and Waitrose
Commenting on the success of the local companies involved in the Meet the Buyer event and award’s ceremony Maynard Mawhinney, Director of Food at Invest NI said:
“We continue to work with food and drinks companies across the region to help them get in front of the right people and make the right contacts to improve their businesses.
“By attending these types of events and entering high profile awards like the Irish Great Taste awards Northern Ireland food and drinks companies can take advantage of enhanced visibility and recognition which allows them access to the global market,” he continued.
The winning companies included:
•Good 4 U Food & Drink, Gold
•Oliesto Foods, Gold
•The Offbeat Bottling Company, Gold
•Knotts of Newtownards, Gold
•Moyallon Foods, Gold
•Corn Dolly Foods Ltd, Gold
•The Offbeat Bottling Company, Silver
•Company of Irish Bakers, Silver
•Dale Farm Ltd, Silver
•Finnebrogue Venison Company, Silver
•Corn Dolly Foods Ltd, Silver (x2)
•Barefruit Products Ltd, Bronze (x2)
•Mash Direct Ltd, Bronze
•Oliesto Foods, Bronze
•Finnebrogue Venison Company, Bronze
•Drumgooland Smokehouse, Bronze
•Donegal Prime Fish Ltd, Bronze