ABP Group and Lakeland Dairies were among the winners at the 2024 Northern Ireland Food and Drink Awards.

Hosted by the Northern Ireland Food and Drink Association (NIFDA), the event, now in its 17th year, offers companies the opportunity to present innovative products in front of key customers.

The judging panel for the awards includes retailers Asda, Lidl NI, Marks and Spencer, and Tesco.

Two new categories added this year; a “Rising Star Award” highlighting the next generation of food and drink leaders, and an “Advanced Innovation Award” recognising how food and drink firms are investing in digital transformation and new technologies.

Food and drink awards

ABP won the Agri-food Sustainable Supply Chain Excellence Award for its beef sustainability programme, PRISM2030.

The award which is sponsored by the Department for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) recognises the creation or improvement of supply chain linkages that have delivered clear benefit to producers.

The PRISM2030 programme works with 350 beef and sheep farmers, including 50 from Northern Ireland, to calculate, monitor and reduce their carbon emissions, while also improving production efficiency, biodiversity, soil quality, water, animal health and welfare.

Prof. Jude Capper ABP chair of Sustainable Beef and Sheep Production at Harper Adams leads the research arm of the programme.

Lakeland Dairies won the Healthier Product Innovation Award for its Comelle Dairy Ice Cream Mix.

That award was sponsored by Food Standards Agency (FSA) in Northern Ireland.

The winners of the 2024 Northern Ireland Food and Drink Awards. Image Source: NIFDA

The full list of winners at the 2024 Northern Ireland Food and Drink Awards which were presented recently in the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Belfast is as follows:

  • Best New Product, Large Company: McColgan’s gourmet pork and pancetta sausage rolls;
  • Best New Product, Medium Company: Wilson’s Country mashed potatoes;
  • Best New Product, Small Company: Milgro OniT! Cripsy Onions;
  • Best New Product, Micro Company: Moocha Kombucha for mixed berry;
  • Best Service Sector Product: Big Pot Co. for potato and leek soup;
  • Food Safety Champion: Victor Hazelton, Dunbia;
  • Best International/GB Product Launch Award: Favourit cajun seasoning;
  • Healthier Product Innovation Award: Lakeland Dairies for Comelle dairy ice cream mix;
  • Sustainable Agri-Food Supply Chain Excellence Award: ABP Group;
  • Advanced Innovation Award: Avondale Foods;
  • Rising Star Award: Chloe Moore, Dunbia;
  • Sustainability Award: Coca-Cola HBC;
  • Outstanding Contribution to NI Food and Drink: Brian Irwin, Irwin’s Bakery.

Michael Bell, executive director at NIFDA, congratulated the winners, adding that there was a high standard of entries across each of the 13 categories.

“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 £4.9 billion value added here annually,” he said.

“The competitiveness of these awards, and the quality presented to the judging panel, is a testament to the tenacity and ingenuity of local firms,” Bell added.