Irish food companies honoured at Bord Bia Awards

Business | Fri 13 Nov | Author – Business & Finance
Brian and Rachel Nolan, founders, Nobó

The Bord Bia Food and Drink Awards in Dublin’s Mansion House last night honoured the achievements of eight Irish food companies.

Innovative food company’s, big and small, were recognised for excellence in the Irish food and drink industry at the Bord Bia Food Awards across categories including: branding, consumer insight, digital marketing, entrepreneurship, exporting, innovation, success at home and sustainability.

Over 300 industry representatives from Ireland’s leading food and drink companies gathered for the ceremony, where they also heard from guest speaker, Joe Schmidt, the Irish Rugby Team’s Head Coach who provided his insight into leadership and teamwork.

Opening the event, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney said, “Last year’s record €10.5bn in exports follows five years of sustained growth by the sector, which is now well positioned as it seeks to expand towards its €19bn export goal set in Food Wise 2025. As the industry continues to develop premium positions in established markets, significant progress is also being made in opening up new markets that can help sustain its growth. I am deeply conscious that business is not easily won and Irish food and drink companies are to be commended for their success and determination in developing Ireland’s largest indigenous industry.”

The winners included:

Gallagher’s Bakery was honoured in both the Export and Entrepreneurial categories, for what the judges described as: “a stunning success story and turnaround demonstrating great credibility and huge ambition”. Gallagher’s Bakery, established in 1968 as a family run business in Ardara, Co. Donegal, traditionally serviced the North West region with conventional bakery products, until 2012 when they entered the gluten free market having identified the scale of opportunity. The company now employs 260 people, up from 95 in 2012, with employment expected to continue to grow further.

Nobó, founded by Brian and Rachel Nolan, won the Innovation Award. Nobó is the world’s first dairy free alternative to ice cream made from avocado and coconut milk. The brand name ’Nobó’, meaning no cow, has played a clever role in communicating the Irishness and dairy free approach. The judges highlighted the “strong vision for future development” noting that the product has already successfully grown with retail and foodservice listings nationwide, and they are exporting to Dubai and about to expand into the UK market.

The Success at Home Award went to Celtic Pure, a family owned company established in 2000 by the McEneaneys, which has grown to sell over 40 million bottles of Irish spring water. Last year, the company invested over €3m in a new bottling line that increased the production capacity to 100 million bottles per annum. The company, which the judges deemed a “great Irish success story”, has also built a strong management team which the judges stated was crucial to the company’s success.

The Branding Award went to Glanbia’s Avonmore SuperMilk, Ireland’s leading milk brand, which outperformed overall milk sales by as much as 6.3% in volume terms in a sector with declining sales, and consumer brand awareness and loyalty increased across the board.

The Digital Marketing Award went to Britvic Ireland’s Club Orange #thebestbits campaign which was created to tap into themes of Irishness, nostalgia and colloquial humour. The campaign reached over 5.3 million influencers through online and PR mentions, while over 350,000 consumers viewed the video content on Facebook and YouTube. Club Orange sales increased by close to 10% compared to the previous year.

The Consumer Insight Award went to Glenisk for its insight to develop a new range of high protein, authentically strained Greek Yogurt. The judges acknowledged the “huge lengths” Glenisk went to in developing the product, their understanding of their consumer, and in commissioning intensive research over a 12 month period and in engaging with consumers to innovatively ‘co-create’ the new range.

In congratulating the winners, Aidan Cotter, chief executive, Bord Bia said “As the industry seeks to grow output and expand its export reach, it is important to recognise the achievements and ongoing progress of the sector, which are underpinning growth and competitiveness and elevating the industry’s reputation at home and abroad. The awards highlight the talent, imagination and sheer professionalism that is at the heart of the industry’s current success and that will secure its continued growth and expansion.”

In the sustainability category the judges he judges recognised Glanbia Ingredients Ireland for their achievements in this area. Island Seafoods, a family owned and run business, which was established in 1986 in the popular fishing village of Killybegs was also recognised for its sustainability undertakings.