2021 NIFDA Appetite for Growth Business Conference

The ‘Appetite for Growth’ conference returned at a pivotal time for Northern Ireland food and drink. Organised by the Northern Ireland Food and Drink Association (NIFDA) and supported by InvestNI and HSBC, the 2021 NIFDA Business Conference took place virtually on Friday 3rd September to an online audience of over 100 agri food and drink businesses. 

The Conference theme was “Fresh Thinking for Future Growth” and this was explored by leading industry experts through identifying the key market megatrends of the coming decades, and discussed how the industry can grow for the future through improved productivity and innovation.

Industry Speakers included: 

  • Gillian Morris, HSBC Head of Corporate Banking
  • Clive Black (Shore Capital)
  • Allan Wilkinson (HSBC, Head of Food & Agriculture)
  • Michelle Charrington (Invest NI)
  • Ian Wright, Food & Drink Federation
  • Oriel Petry, Department of International Trade NI
  • Focus on Finnebrogue – Experience of the Invest NI Consumer Insights service
  • Dominic Darby, Formerly Head of Innovation, Marks & Spencer
  • In Conversation with Sir Peter Kendall ahead of the launch of the Kendall Review into the future of agri-food in Northern Ireland.

2020 Annual Dinner Virtual Business Event Replay

NIFDA Annual Dinner 2020 – Virtual Event – Replay

The NIFDA 24th Annual Dinner Virtual event took place on 15th October 2020 held in partnership with HSBC UK and broadcast remotely from Belfast’s Hilton Hotel as a hybrid event studio.  The event was attended virtually by over 100 industry leaders and political representatives from across the agriculture, food and drink sector.
Keynote speaker at this year’s event was ASDA CEO Roger Burnley, who was joined in an Industry Insights panel discussion by NIFDA chairman Nick Whelan, and Allan Wilkinson, Head of Agrifoods at HSBC UK.

To request the passcode to watch the video replay from the event, please email jill@nifda.co.uk

A copy of the 24th Annual Dinner Brochure is available to view as a digital copy. Click here –

NIFDA 24th Annual Dinner Brochure 2020.


NIFDA Annual Dinner 2019 – Highlights 

Jo Whitfield, Chief Executive for Food at the Co-Op was the keynote speaker at the 23rd Northern Ireland Food and Drink Association’s (NIFDA) Annual Dinner – the largest annual gathering of the Northern Ireland food processing industry. The event, run in partnership with Danske Bank, was held on Thursday 17th October in the Hilton Hotel, Belfast.

Over 250 people attended the event, which is recognised as an opportunity for food and drink industry leaders to discuss how the industry and its customers can address challenges and achieve successful growth.




NIFDA Dinner

The 22nd Annual NIFDA Dinner, in partnership with Danske Bank took place on Thursday 15 November 2018 in the Hilton Hotel Belfast.  The Guest Speaker was John Paul Scally, Managing Director, Lidl Ireland.

Catch up on the some of the highlights from the event in the video below:





2016 marks 20 years of NIFDA. Our 20th AGM was held at Loughry College on 16th March 2016. All NIFDA Members are welcome to attend general meetings.


The biennial Northern Ireland Food and Drink Awards are the most important awards in Northern Ireland’s entire business calendar. That is because some 100,000 private sector jobs depend on the agri-food supply chain with an industry turnover of £5bn.
The 15th NIFDA Awards took place on Friday 22nd March 2019 at the Crowne Plaza, Belfast.

Award winners:

Ulster Bank Best New Product, Large Company

  • Linden Foods Ltd, 4 Lamb Loin with Honey Roasted Parsnips – Joint Winner
  • Finnebrogue Artisan, Naked Unsmoked Back Bacon – Joint Winner
  • Dale Farm, Milk Plus – Highly Commended

Ulster Bank Best New Product, Medium Company

  • Mash Direct, Beer Battered Onion Rings – Winner

Ulster Bank Best New Product, Small Company

  • Cloughbane Farm Foods, Spicy Lentil & Root Vegetable Casserole – Winner
  • The Echlinville Distillery, Echlinville Irish Pot Still Gin – Highly Commended
  • Big Pot Co Ltd, Classic Chicken and Vegetable Handmade Soup – Highly Commended

Deloitte Service Sector Award

  • Gilfresh Produce, Sliced Leeks – Winner
  • Linden Foods, Turf and Clover Chuck and Cheek Burger – Highly Commended
  • Rademon Estate Distillery, Shortcross Gin Bar Tenders Series #1 – Highly Commended

DAERA Agri-Food Supply Chain Excellence Award

  • ABP, Blade Farming Project – Winner
  • Foyle Food Group, Aberdeen Angus Quality Beef Superior Genetics Programme – Highly Commended

Invest NI Best International or GB Product Launch

  • Kestrel Foods, Forest Feast Fruit Ball Range – Winner
  • Dale Farm, WPC80 Lactosyn, low lactose high protein whey – Highly Commended
  • Linden Foods, Beef Teriyaki Stir Fry – Highly Commended
  • safefood Food Safety Champion Award
    Hilary Faith, Pritchitts – Winner
  • Ulster Bank Outstanding Contribution Award
    Trevor Lockhart, Chief Executive, Fane Valley Foods – Winner