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Success on a plate: Food and drinks awards add a new category to the menu


Taste test : Michael Bell, NIFDA and (right), Niall Martindale, firmus energy. Credit: Brian Morrison

Taste test : Michael Bell, NIFDA and (right), Niall Martindale, firmus energy. Credit: Brian Morrison

Taste test : Michael Bell, NIFDA and (right), Niall Martindale, firmus energy. Credit: Brian Morrison

Food and drink companies have been invited to enter the 2022 Northern Ireland Food and Drink Awards.

The awards, sponsored by firmus energy, are regarded as a key indicator of quality and success for food manufacturers and processors.

There are 12 categories for food and drink firms of all sizes to enter, including best new product for micro, small, medium and large businesses, best international/Great Britain product launch and a new environmental sustainability category.

The entries will be judged by experts, including representatives from major retailers. The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony hosted by BBC Northern Ireland presenter March 11, 2022 in the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Belfast.

Michael Bell, executive director of the Northern Ireland Food and Drink Association (NIFDA) urged 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.”

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He said NIFDA wished to reflect changing consumer trends and customer demands, and had added a new healthier product innovation award to recognise firms offering products lower in calories, sugar, saturated fat and/or salt.

A skills and apprenticeships category is championing firms who’ve shown commitment to nurturing a new generation of talent in the industry.

Niall Martindale, interim managing director of firmus energy, said: “The NIFDA awards are a great opportunity for local food and drink companies to get recognition for producing worl d 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.”

Other category sponsors include Asda, Lidl, Marks and Spencer, Tesco, Food Standards Agency, Invest NI, Safefood and Food and Drink Sector Skills.

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