Comber-based Mash Direct, an Invest Northern Ireland client company, has won the top award for its range of potato and vegetable products at the CATEX catering show in Dublin. The company, which supplies a range of convenience products from its own farm in Co Down, gained two major awards – the Overall Product of the Show and the top award in the Food and Beverages category.
Another Invest NI client company, P McCann and Sons of Craigavon gained a Highly Commended award in the Food and Beverages category for its range of fruit juices and cider at the event. Invest NI has assisted both companies to market their products at exhibitions and other events throughout the British Isles.
Welcoming the achievements of Mash Direct and McCann’s, Maynard Mawhinney, Invest NI Food Director, said: “The awards, especially Mash Direct’s overall Product of the Show award, demonstrate the quality, innovation and commitment to external sales which are now a feature of the local food industry.”
Both companies were taking part in Ireland’s most important event for the catering industry, held this week in Dublin. Almost 10,000 buyers from the catering industry, restaurants, hotels and canteens visited the three-day exhibition. Invest NI had significant presence at the show.
The CATEX award is third major independent endorsement of Mash Direct’s convenience products in the past six months. In November, the company, a successful farm diversification, gained the prestigious UK Manufacturing Excellence Award in the Small Firms Category. It also gained a Great Taste Award from the UK Guild of Fine Foods and a UK Manufacturing Excellence Award last year.
Tracy Hamilton, Mash Direct’s Marketing Manager, said: “Winning the top award at CATEX is immensely important because it raises our profile as a producer of high quality products within the catering industry. We’ve been keen to build on our strong market position with retailers by increasing sales to the dynamic catering sector particularly in the Republic of Ireland.
“There was tremendous interest in our products from caterers and foodservice organisations attending the show. We’ve made many excellent contacts at the show and will be following these up assiduously over the next few weeks. Attending the exhibition was very worthwhile,” added Mrs Hamilton.
Mash Direct has developed a range of 13 convenience foods such as Mashed Potato; Champ; Mashed Turnip, Carrot and Parsnip; Carrot, Parsnip and Turnip; Cheese and Onion Mash and Colcannon.
It supplies products to major retailers including Asda, Co-Op, Dunnes, Sainsbury’s, Spar UK, Superquinn, Supervalu and Tesco. Mash Direct also supply Pallas Foods, one of Ireland’s leading food service distributors. Mash Direct employs around 45 people.