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Under ‘starters’ orders for the Northern Ireland Food and Drink Awards 2015

Under ‘starters’ orders for the Northern Ireland Food and Drink Awards 2015

2nd February 2015

The Northern Ireland Food & Drink Association (NIFDA) is calling on the great and good in food to enter the 13th NI Food and Drink Awards, sponsored by Ulster Bank.

The awards, held biannually, are one of the highlights of Northern Ireland’s food and drink calendar, attracting entries across 10 categories including Best New Product, Training Excellence and Best Local Food and Drink Event.

“It is a pivotal time for Northern Ireland food and drink”, explained Michael Bell, Executive Director of NIFDA.

“The challenge for us as Northern Ireland’s biggest industry is to continue to produce new products which offer freshness, taste, local provenance and integrity at a competitive cost. As an industry we have successfully delivered on this brief for many years now – with over a decade of unbroken growth testament to this. The Northern Ireland Food & Drink awards provide the perfect platform to recognise and celebrate the hard work, dedication and success of local companies, which has led to the continued expansion of the sector.

“Many thanks to our principal sponsor Ulster Bank which has been supporting the awards since 2007 and also plays an invaluable role on the judging panel, selecting winners from an always exceptionally high calibre of entries,” Michael Bell concluded. 

Commenting on Ulster Bank’s contribution to the awards, Kenton Hilman, Head of Corporate & Institutional Banking NI at Ulster Bank said, 

“Food and drink companies here in Northern Ireland make an important contribution to our local economy.  We are fortunate to have such a range of successful food and drink companies, from major international exporters to innovative small firms, producing high quality produce and generating significant business returns. 

“We recognise the opportunities for sustainable growth for food and drink companies in Northern Ireland.  We’ve worked to understand their specific needs and through our sector specific proposition we can offer them the people and products to help them grow. We see our continued support for the NIFDA and Balmoral Show as a further demonstration of our commitment to the sector.”

The closing date for entries to the Northern Ireland Food & Drink Awards is Wednesday 25th February 2015.  The Awards ceremony will be held at the Ramada Plaza Hotel, Shawsbridge on 20th March 2015. For more information on categories, entry requirements (free to enter) and to download an entry form please visit


For further information please contact Nicola Adamson at Morrow Communications on 02890 393837 or email

Notes to Editors:

• NIFDA Food and Drink Awards 2015 – Award Categories:

Service Sector Award – Sponsored by Invest Northern Ireland

Ulster Bank Best New Product – Large company award (251 employees or more)

Ulster Bank Best New Product – Medium company award (51 – 250 employees)

Ulster Bank Best New Product – Small company award (0 – 50 employees)

Agri-Food Supply Chain Excellence Award – Sponsored by the Agri-Food Strategy Board

Ulster Bank Outstanding Contribution to NI Food and Drink Award

Northern Ireland Good Food is In Our Nature Award – The People’s Choice – Sponsored by Food Northern Ireland

Best Event/Initiative for Promoting Quality Local Food and Drink – Sponsored by the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development

Future Leaders Award – Sponsored by Department for Employment and Learning

Training Excellence Award – Sponsored by Food and Drink Sector Skill 

• The NIFDA Food and Drink Awards have been running since 1997

• NIFDA is committed to uniting its members to work together towards a sustainable and growing internationally competitive food and drink industry in Northern Ireland