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The 2024 Northern Ireland Food and Drink Awards winners celebrated in style

Quality, innovation and talent on the menu at biggest ever NI Food and Drink Awards

The creativity and determination of local firms has been praised at the 2024 Northern Ireland Food and Drink Awards. A record turnout of over 500 guests turned out in style on Friday night for the gala awards celebration at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, presented by BBC NI’s Jo Scott.

Hosted by the Northern Ireland Food and Drink Association (NIFDA) and supported by principal sponsor firmus energy, the awards celebrate the products, people and processes that propel the growth of local food and drink firms. Now in their 17th year, the biennial awards are widely recognised as a key indicator of quality and success, offering local companies the opportunity to present innovative, quality products in front of key customers, with major retailers Asda, Lidl NI, Marks and Spencer, and Tesco among the expert judging panel.

This year’s full list of winners includes:

Best New Product, Large Company, sponsored by firmus energy - McColgan’s Gourmet Pork & Pancetta Sausage Rolls
Best New Product, Medium Company sponsored by firmus energy - Wilson’s Country Mashed Potatoes
Best New Product, Small Company sponsored by firmus energy - Milgro OniT! Cripsy Onions
Best New Product, Micro Company sponsored by firmus energy - Moocha Kombucha for Mixed Berry
Best Service Sector Product – Big Pot Co. for Potato & Leek Soup
Food Safety Champion sponsored by safefood – Victor Hazelton, Dunbia
Best International / GB Product Launch Award sponsored by Invest NI – Favourit Cajun Seasoning
Healthier Product Innovation Award sponsored by Food Standards Agency NI – Lakeland Dairies for Comelle Dairy Ice Cream Mix
Sustainable Agri-Food Supply Chain Excellence Award sponsored by DAERA – ABP Group
Advanced Innovation Award sponsored by Sysco Software and Birnie Consultancy – Avondale Foods
Rising Star Award sponsored by Vickerstock – Chloe Moore, Dunbia
Sustainability Award sponsored by KPMG, Coca-Cola HBC
Outstanding Contribution to NI Food and Drink – Brian Irwin, Irwin’s Bakery


Michael Bell, Executive Director at NIFDA, congratulated the winners on the night:

“In Northern Ireland we have some of the most innovative and successful food and drink companies in the world. Our industry supports some 113,000 jobs across the supply chain and generates £4.9bn value added here annually.  We think that is something worth shouting about, and first and foremost the Northern Ireland Food and Drink Awards are about celebrating that success and the people that drive it.

“We added two new categories to the menu this year, a Rising Star award highlighting the next generation of food and drink leaders and an Advanced Innovation award, recognising how our food and drink firms are investing in digital transformation and new technologies.

“Once again, we were impressed with the standard of entries across each of the 13 categories. The competitiveness of these awards, and the quality presented to the judging panel, is a testament to the tenacity and ingenuity of local firms. I am delighted that a record crowd turned out to join us in raising a glass to Northern Ireland food and drink, and I want to thank all the companies that entered and supported this year’s awards.”

Niall Martindale, Chief Executive Officer at firmus energy, principal sponsor for the event, added:

“firmus energy is proud to be supporting the Northern Ireland Food and Drink Awards as principal sponsor once again. The awards night is a fantastic opportunity to showcase and celebrate the passion and dedication of local companies in our food and drink sector, and recognise their contribution to the growth and success of this industry in Northern Ireland.

“As Northern Ireland’s largest supplier of natural gas, our strategic focus is decarbonising the gas in our network, for example, by using biomethane produced from the anaerobic digestion of unavoidable food waste or animal manure. We have an important role to play in Northern Ireland’s future energy requirements, and we look forward to supporting local companies with their ambitions to become more sustainable in a growing, circular economy.

“On behalf of all of us at firmus energy, I would like to congratulate all award winners.”

About the Author

Paul Stanfield, Director of Sales, Marketing & Customer Services

Paul Stanfield is Director of Sales, Marketing and Customer Services at firmus energy. Paul joined firmus energy in 2009 and has over 30 years’ experience in the Northern Ireland energy market. He has extensive knowledge of the industrial/commercial and domestic sectors within the Northern Ireland natural gas industry. Paul is responsible for delivering commercial growth across the company’s business and domestic channels and accountable for customer service and marketing.


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