Innovative local companies celebrated at NI food and drink awards

Innovative local companies celebrated at NI food and drink awards
Alison and Malcolm Seaney, Big Pot Co are pictured with Niall Martindale, Interim Managing Director, firmus energy. Big Pot Co picked up the Micro Company Best New Product award for its Vegan Sweet Potato Soup, and also was highly commended in the same category for its Vegan Butternut Squash and Chipotle Bean Soup.

Four hundred guests turned out in style to celebrate Northern Ireland’s top food and drink companies at the 2022 Northern Ireland Food and Drink Awards over the weekend.

A total of 13 awards were presented at the gala ceremony, hosted by the BBC’s Mark Simpson in the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Belfast.

Hosted by the Northern Ireland Food and Drink Association (NIFDA) and supported by principal sponsor firmus energy, the awards are widely recognised 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.

This year’s awards were bigger than ever, with categories including new additions, the Environmental Sustainability Award and Healthier Product Innovation Award.

The four firmus energy Best New product awards were picked up by Dale Farm in the large company category with Dromona Lactose Free Sliced cheese, Genesis Bakery in the medium company category for its Meringue A Tang Biscake; while Hinch Distillery collected the small company category award for Hinch Whiskey, with Karri Kitchen Ltd named highly commended for Mango Chicken Curry.

Cookstown-based Big Pot Co won the micro company award with Vegan Sweet Potato Soup, and received highly commended for its Vegan Butternut Squash and Chipotle Bean Soup in the same category.

Congratulating the winners on the night, Michael Bell, Executive Director, Northern Ireland Food and Drink Association (NIFDA) said: “Food and drink is one of Northern Ireland’s key strategic sectors, supporting some 113,000 jobs across the supply chain and generating £4.9billion value added here annually. That commercial success is built on the passion, ingenuity and hard work of food and drink companies of all sizes right across Northern Ireland. The awards are a celebration of those companies, and the people within them.

“On behalf of all of us at NIFDA I would like to thank everyone who entered, our event sponsors and our expert judges – this event would not be possible without their hard work and support. Our congratulations go to all of tonight’s winners, they should be proud of their achievements, and we look forward to their continued growth and further success in the future.”

Niall Martindale, Interim Managing Director at firmus energy, principal sponsor for the event said: “It has been a privilege to support NIFDA as the 2022 principal Awards sponsor.

“Northern Ireland’s food and drink sector continues to go from strength to strength and firmus energy has an important role to play to support it. By connecting companies to the gas network, and introducing sustainable gases such as Biomethane and Hydrogen into the gas network in the future, we can help the industry operate more sustainably and deliver the government’s net zero carbon goals.”

“On behalf of all at firmus energy I would like to offer our congratulations to all winners, and all entrants across the 13 awards categories.”

The Winners

Category Winners
firmus energy Large Company Product Award Dale Farm with Dromona Lactose Free Sliced Cheese
firmus energy Medium Company Product Award Genesis Bakery with Meringue A Tang Biscake
firmus energy Small Company Product Award Winner – Hinch Distillery with Hinch Whiskey


Highly Commended – Karri Kitchen Ltd with Mango Chicken Curry

firmus energy Micro Company Product Award Winner – Big Pot Company with Vegan Sweet Potato Soup


Highly Commended – Big Pot Co with Vegan Butternut Squash and Chipotle Bean Soup

NIFDA Service Sector Award The Brunch Box Sandwich Company Ltd with Mango & Cranberry Overnight Oats
NIFDA Outstanding Contribution to NI Food & Drink Award Denis Lynn, Lynn’s Country Foods Ltd t/a Finnebrogue Artisan
DAERA Sustainable Agri-Food Supply Chain Excellence Award Winner – Linden Foods for NI Wagyu Supply Chain
Food Standards Agency NI Healthier Product Innovation Award Karri Kitchen Ltd
Food & Drink Sector Skills Award Winner – Moy Park’s Culinary Academy


Highly Commended – Johnsons Coffee

Outstanding Food & Drink Industry Leadership Award Ursula Lavery, Tachnical and R&D Director Europe, Moy Park and NIFDA board member
Invest NI Best International / GB Product Launch Award Finnebrogue Bacon without the Oink
Re-Gen Waste Environmental Sustainability Award Joint Winner – Dunbia

Joint Winner – Green Fingers Family

Safefood Food Safety Champion Award Dr Gary McMahon, Moy Park