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firmus energy Launches The 16th Northern Ireland Food and Drink Awards

Michael Bell, NIFDA, Chef De Partie and Niall Martindale MD of firmus energy

Entries open for 16th Northern Ireland Food and Drink Awards

Northern Ireland’s food and drink companies are invited to enter the 2022 Northern Ireland Food and Drink Awards.Michael Bell, NIFDA and Niall Martindale, MD at firmus energy

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 14 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 11 March 2022 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 31 January 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."

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 31 January.

For information and details on how to enter, please visit


Northern Ireland Food and Drink Awards 2022 Categories

Large company product award (sponsored by firmus energy)

Medium company product award (sponsored by firmus energy)

Small company product award (sponsored by firmus energy)

Micro company product award (sponsored by firmus energy)

Service sector award

Outstanding contribution to NI Food & Drink award

DAERA sustainable agri-food supply chain excellence award

Best international/GB product launch award (sponsored by Invest NI)

Food safety champion award (sponsored by Safefood)

Food & Drink sector skills award

Healthier product innovation award (sponsored by Food Standards Agency)

Environmental Sustainability Award


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