NI Food and Drink Awards open for entries

Pictured is Nigel Walsh, Director, Commercial Banking at Ulster Bank along with Michael Bell, Executive Director for the Northern Ireland Food and Drink Association (NIFDA).
Pictured is Nigel Walsh, Director, Commercial Banking at Ulster Bank along with Michael Bell, Executive Director for the Northern Ireland Food and Drink Association (NIFDA).

Northern Ireland’s most forward thinking and successful food and drink companies are being called on to step forward and enter the prestigious Northern Ireland Food and Drink Awards.

The NIFDA Awards, principally sponsored by Ulster Bank, are held biannually and are now in their 14th year.

They are recognised in the industry as a crucial measure of commercial success for local food and drink manufacturers and processors.

With a total of 10 categories, ranging from Best New Product and Best Food Safety Innovation, to Supply Chain and Export Excellence; the awards offer companies the chance to showcase their commitment to excellence in front of key industry stakeholders and customers.

Around 500 representatives of the local agri-food sector are expected to attend the awards, which will be held on Friday 24th March at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Shaw’s Bridge, Belfast.

Michael Bell, Executive Director for NIFDA said: “We are delighted to be entering the 14th year of the Northern Ireland Food and Drink Awards, and would encourage companies of all sizes to get involved and get their entries in as soon as possible. These awards recognise the commercial success of newly launched products and reward those companies who have gone the extra mile in ensuring that their business operations are truly world class, and are highly valued and embraced by the industry.

“We have a number of new categories this year including Export Excellence and Best Innovation to Enhance Food Safety, and we have no doubt that the calibre of entrants will be exceptional as always. We would like to extend our thanks to our principal sponsor Ulster Bank for continuing to provide vital support to this event, and look forward to celebrating the very best our industry has to offer.”

Nigel Walsh, Director, Commercial Banking at Ulster Bank, said: “Food and drink is a vital part of the Northern Ireland economy – it covers a diverse and dynamic range of businesses from family farms through to our largest exporters, and directly employs around 21,000 people. As such, the NIFDA awards are an excellent opportunity to celebrate success and showcase best practice to inspire those starting out in the sector.

“This is a great opportunity to take the temperature of the industry and to hear about the opportunities and concerns from the key players. What’s good for the food and drink sector is good for Ulster Bank, and by playing a key role in these awards we can better adapt to meet our customers’ needs.”

The closing date for entries to the NIFDA Awards is Friday, 24th February 2017.

For more information on categories, entry requirements (free to enter) and to download an entry form please visit www.nifdaawards.com .