Entries open for 16th Northern Ireland Food and Drink Awards

Local food and drink companies are being invited to enter the 2022 Northern Ireland Food and Drink Awards.

Michael Bell, executive director, Northern Ireland Food and Drink Association with Niall Martindale, interim managing director, firmu
Michael Bell, executive director, Northern Ireland Food and Drink Association with Niall Martindale, interim managing director, firmu

Sponsored by firmus energy, the awards are recognised by the industry as a key indicator of quality and success for food manufacturers and processors, offering local companies an invaluable opportunity to showcase innovative, quality products in front of key customers and stakeholders.

There are a range of opportunities for food and drink companies of all sizes to participate in the awards, free of charge, with 12 categories including Best New Product for micro, small, medium and large businesses, Best International/GB Product Launch and a new Environmental Sustainability category.

The entries will be judged by a panel of industry experts, including representatives from major retailers. The winners will be announced at a gala awards ceremony hosted by BBC Northern Ireland presenter Jo Scott on Friday, March 11 in the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Shaw’s Bridge, Belfast.

Michael Bell, executive director, Northern Ireland Food and Drink Association (NIFDA) encouraged local food and drink businesses to enter before the January 31 deadline: “The NIFDA awards are back, and they are bigger than ever with a host of categories that will highlight the very best food and drink products Northern Ireland has to offer. Not only are the awards a celebration of our world-class food and drink, they are an important opportunity for firms of all sizes to showcase their products to an audience of industry leaders and key customers.

“This year we have included some new categories to reflect evolving consumer trends and customer demands on sustainability and diet. Our new Healthier Product Innovation Award recognises the commitment of local companies offering healthier products lower in calories, sugar, saturated fat and/or salt. Another new category this year is Skills and Apprenticeships, championing firms that have shown commitment to developing a new generation of talent within the industry.

“This is an excellent opportunity for our innovative food and drink companies to display their credentials to major retailers and key industry players, and I would urge firms to visit our dedicated awards website and get their entries in ahead of the 31 January deadline.”

Niall Martindale, interim managing director, firmus energy, said: “The NIFDA awards are a great opportunity for local food and drink companies to get recognition for producing world class products. We welcome the addition of the Environmental Sustainability category for the 2022 awards. We look forward to working closely with the sector in the future to progress opportunities to recycle unavoidable food waste which can be converted into renewable gas which could be used to decarbonise our local gas network and support Northern Ireland’s journey to net zero.

“As Northern Ireland’s largest supplier of natural gas, we continue to play an important role supporting many NIFDA members to compete on a world stage by connecting them to the gas network and offering energy efficiency solutions helping them operate more sustainably. We look forward to working closely with the sector in the future to progress opportunities to recycle unavoidable food waste and convert into renewable gas which could be used to decarbonise our local gas network and support Northern Ireland’s journey to net zero.”

Other sponsors include Asda, Lidl, Marks and Spencer, Tesco, Food Standards Agency, DAERA, Invest Northern Ireland, Safefood and Food and Drink Sector Skills.

The closing date for entries to the 2022 Northern Ireland Food and Drink Awards is Monday, January 31. For information on categories, and details on how to enter, please visit https://nifdaawards.com/

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.

In order for us to continue to provide high quality and trusted local news on this free-to-read site, I am asking you to also please purchase a copy of our newspaper whenever you are able to do so.

Our journalists are highly trained and our content is independently regulated by IPSO to some of the most rigorous standards in the world. But being your eyes and ears comes at a price. So we need your support more than ever to buy our newspapers during this crisis.

With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our local valued advertisers - and consequently the advertising that we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you helping us to provide you with news and information by buying a copy of our newspaper when you can safely.

You can also enjoy unlimited access to the best news from across Northern Ireland and the UK by subscribing to newsletter.co.uk

With a digital subscription, you can read more than five articles, see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Visit https://www.newsletter.co.uk/subscriptions now to sign up.

Thank you