Northern Ireland’s food and drink companies invited to enter awards

Entries are now open for the 16th Northern Ireland Food and Drink Awards.

Friday, 14th January 2022, 11:03 am

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.

Food and drink companies of all sizes are encouraged to enter the awards, free of charge, before the 31 January closing date.

With 12 categories, including Best New Product for micro, small, medium and large businesses, Best International/GB Product Launch and a new Environmental Sustainability category, there is something for everyone.

Sign up to our daily Farming Life Today newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Michael Bell, Executive Director, Northern Ireland Food and Drink Association (NIFDA), and Niall Martindale, Interim Managing Director, firmus energy

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), commented: “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.

Michael Bell, Executive Director, Northern Ireland Food and Drink Association, and Niall Martindale, Interim Managing Director, firmus energy

“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 and 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 on categories, and details on how to enter, please visit