Invest Northern Ireland has congratulated Northern Ireland’s food and drink sector, following significant successes at this year’s Blas Na hÉireann Irish Food and Drink Awards and The Guild of Fine Foods Great Taste Awards.

Northern Ireland’s food and drink producers won 70 awards at the Blas Na hÉireann virtual award ceremony at the weekend which includes 30 gold award winners, and follows last week’s Great Taste Awards success where NI producers won 215 awards.

John Hood, Invest NI’s Director of Food & Drink said: “Our success across this year’s awards demonstrates the outstanding commitment of local companies to innovate and produce delicious food and drink, especially during what has been a difficult 18 months for the industry.

“Northern Ireland produce is much sought after in highly competitive markets from Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland to China, Australia and the UAE. Invest NI continues to support Northern Ireland companies to build on this as they seek to grow business around the world through our global network of offices, inmarket support and suite of Research & Development support. This strategic approach is helping drive the local food and drink industry, maximise commercial opportunities and is helping ambitious food & drink producers to achieve further growth in international markets.

“I would like to congratulate all of those who have been recognised by the Guild of Fine Food and Blas Na hÉireann, both immensely important stamps of excellence.”

Amongst this year’s Great Taste Awards three star winners were Craigavon-based Hannan Meats for its Sugar Pit Bacon Rack; Caramelized Hazelnut Ice Cream from Portstewart-based Morelli’s Ice Cream; Lisburn’s Pure Roast Coffee Valentia coffee beans from Brazil and Kilkeel-based Crawford Rock Seaweed Co for their Seaweed Salt.

At Blas na h’Éireann, Northern Ireland food and drink producers took 30 Golds, with Holmes Bakery in Portadown taking the prestigious ‘Best in Ulster & Shane McArdle Shield’ award for its Holmes Butter Shortbread. Whilst En Place Foods in Cookstown picked up one of the coveted Chef’s Larder awards for its Melilot Sweet Clover Vinegar.

Source: Invest Northern Ireland