Belfast Telegraph

Inaugural Food Heartland Awards launched

By Rachel Martin

Some of Northern Ireland’s top food producers are being encouraged to get their entries in for the first Food Heartland Awards.

The event will be led by Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council in May.

The area is trying to establish itself as a ‘food heartland’ in Northern Ireland, due to the sheer volume of food production and the outstanding quality of local products.

The awards aim to showcase the best local produce and the people behind the thriving agri-food sector as well as highlight the sector’s potential for growth and positive impact on the economy.

The council established its Food Heartland Forum with the aim of encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship within the agri-food industry, throughout the borough, as well as enhancing the tourism experience and expanding agri-food exports from the area.

There will 12 categories, including awards for best new start-up, best export business, best licensed eating establishment and best independent retail food business.

Roger Wilson, chief executive of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Council, said: “The council’s number one priority is to grow the local economy and the agri-food sector is a priority growth area. This was very much demonstrated at the start of the year when we launched the Food Heartland brand in Carn Industrial Estate, Craigavon, to champion the quality and volume of food production in the borough.

“Against the backdrop of the Northern Ireland Year of Food 2016, this provides us with the perfect opportunity to shine a spotlight as well as celebrate our local produce and people behind this thriving sector.”

The deadline for entries is 5pm on Friday, April 15. Entry is free and details are available at

A gala awards night will be hosted at Craigavon Civic and Conference Centre on Wednesday, May 25.

Belfast Telegraph Digital

Weekly Business Digest Newsletter

This week's business news headlines, directly to your inbox every Tuesday.