Comber firm Mash Direct has underlined its position as a national player after it was named Best Food Company in the UK at the Food Manufacture Excellence Awards in London.
The familiy run firm saw off the challenge from international names such as Coca-Cola, Weetabix and Kelloggs as well as local rival Moy Park, to win the overall title.
The firm went on the overall award after it was named chilled fresh and dairy manufacturing company of the year.
Judges said the business “stood out as the best of the best in food and drink manufacturing”.
The panel applauded the firm for excellence in innovation as well as their family ethos and values that set the company apart.
The company is now the biggest brand in the chilled side dish category of the supermarket in the UK and Ireland and increased sales in GB by over 38% last year.
“Every year the firm has new production and marketing ideas coming through. Mash Direct always delivers,” the judges added.
Director Jack Hamilton received the two awards at the Hilton Park Lane hotel in Mayfair.
“Even to be named among big companies such as Coca Cola means a huge amount to the team but to take the big prize back to the farm in Comber is unbelievable,” he said.
“Having only started out twelve years ago as a small farm diversification supplying to local stores in Killyleagh and Killinchy we are astonished to have won Company of the Year.
“It means so much more to win this top prize during the Northern Ireland Year of Food and Drink to highlight the ground-breaking innovation that makes the food from these parts so special”