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Bord Bia’s Food and Drink Awards Celebrate the Passion and Drive of Irish Producers

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Bord Bia’s Food and Drink Awards Celebrate the Passion and Drive of Irish Producers

Bord Bia’s Food and Drink Awards Celebrate the Passion and Drive of Irish Producers
December 03
16:47 2019
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At its biennial Food and Drink Awards, held at the RDS Dublin, Bord Bia presented nine awards for excellence to some of Ireland’s foremost organisations and brands. ABP Food Group received the overall Sustainability Award for achieving ambitious sustainability targets ahead of schedule and for creating what judges described as a ‘sustainability culture that permeates every part of the business’. The Shed Distillery was awarded the Brand Marketing award for demonstrating ‘a masterclass in brand development’ and Silver Hill Farm received the Export Growth award for continuing to achieve impressive growth in the ‘very competitive’ Asian market.

Two new awards this year focused on one of Bord Bia’s four strategic priorities, ‘Leading through People’. The Future Leader award, which aims to foster entrepreneurial culture and skill in the food & drink sector, was presented to ‘rising star’ Philp Martin, CEO, Blanco Nino. The first-ever Diversity & Inclusion award was bestowed to two companies – Diageo and Dawn Meats – who were both recognised as ‘exemplars’ in Diversity & Inclusion policies across their respective businesses. West Cork’s Glenilen Farm received the ‘Consumer Insight’ Award; the Domestic Success Award was presented to fresh produce distribution company Keelings Select, and HEINEKEN Ireland received the Sustainability Project Impact Award.

Opening the event Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed T.D. said: “As we work towards the ambitious goals set out by Food Wise 2025, the winners, and indeed the entire shortlist, have proven their commitment and ambition to driving the sector forward. I’m conscious that new business is not easily won and Irish food and drink companies are to be commended for their success in developing strong brand strategies, sustainable practices, and cultures of inclusion. From small artisan producers to major multinationals the rich tapestry of industry is here today and I applaud all nine companies for their vision and determination to succeed.”

Tara McCarthy, CEO of Bord Bia, said, “As Irelands’ largest indigenous industry, it is important to recognise the achievements and ongoing progress of the sector. We are delighted to gather to honour 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. The winning companies have showcased the importance of setting clear business strategies and objectives, informed by consumer and market insights, and adopting a company culture which encourages both innovation and imagination. And all of this is underpinned by strong leadership and, no doubt, a lot of hard work. I would like to congratulate our nine winners and thank them for their ongoing contribution to the positive reputation for Irish food and drink on the global market.”

The full list of awards presented are as follows:

  • Brand Marketing Award: The Shed Distillery of PJ Rigney, Drumshanbo, Co. Leitrim.  The judges said, Only three years old, The Shed Distillery represents a masterclass in brand development. The strong growth achieved by this company is driven by the deep consumer and channel insights at its core and from the development of a targeted brand marketing strategy that allowed the company to succeed with relatively lean budgets. This is carried through to its stand-out packaging design and highly competitive product.  A brilliant success.”
  • Consumer Insight Award: Glenilen Farm, Drimoleague, West Cork. The judges said, “Glenilen Farm showcased how valuable consumer insight can be to a company. Their entry clearly demonstrated a thorough analysis of actionable insights, which informed a tightly executed campaign. Business impact and growth opportunities that were based on these insights were clearly demonstrated and they provide a clear roadmap to further build turnover and profitability in 2020.”
  • Diversity & Inclusion Award: Diageo and Dawn Meats. Two awards were given in this category and the judges said, “The judging panel unanimously agreed that both companies shortlisted should be acknowledged as exemplars in this space and both should be recognised the strides they are making throughout their business units around the globe.
    Diageo implement a long established and well-tuned global D&I policy that permeates the entire business, with commendable leadership from their country manager and senior team. They have set a global benchmark for others to follow and the judges believe that this benchmark is deserving of recognition at the highest levels.
    As an organisation, Dawn Meats has clear D&I aims and objectives. Implementing detailed and comprehensive policies and process, they are proactively responding to the demand of a global customer base, the changing dynamics of the Irish and European employment market and the demand of their own shareholders. Their ongoing commitment to D&I sets clear and commendable precedents for all Irish businesses to follow.”
  • Domestic Success Award: Keelings Select, St. Margarets, County Dublin. The judges said “Keelings Select demonstrated a well-considered strategy and showcased their dedication to staying at the forefront of the fresh produce sector across multiple channels. The company has segmented the distribution sector in a highly imaginative way and penetrated a highly profitable subsector. Their effective use of resources with ambitious targets has seen the company achieve impressive growth since its establishment in 2017 and their commitment to expansion indicates great potential for the future.”
  • Export Growth Award: Silver Hill Farms, Emyvale, Co. Monaghan. The judges said, Silver Hill Farms have shown a consistent record of success thanks to their dedicated application of best practice across the company. They continue to achieve impressive growth in a very competitive market. Their entry demonstrated a deep understanding of business objectives and a strong ambition for further growth. 
  • Future Leader Award: Philip Martin, Blanco Nino, Dublin. The judges said, “The ongoing demand for leadership and management talent is a challenge facing the global food and drink industry, but with rising stars such as Philip coming to the fore, the future looks bright. A CEO at just 31 years old, Philip is not just an outstanding entrepreneur; his ability to inspire and influence others, exhibited through his fundraising and team assembly, sets him apart as an emerging leader. A great story of real passion and commitment.”
  • Sustainability Award: ABP Food Group, Ardee, Co. Louth. The judges said, “This is an impressive entry showcasing how ABP created a sustainability culture that permeates every part of the business. Having achieved their ambitious sustainability commitments ahead of schedule, they continue to forge ahead with impressive and ambitious new targets – an inspiring achievement for others to follow.”
  • Sustainability Project Impact Award:  HEINEKEN Ireland, Cork City. The judges said, Heineken successfully illustrated excellence in both corporate and public sustainability, outlining six areas of focus and detailing significant improvements in all areas. Their entry clearly demonstrated the impact of Heineken’s projects on raw material sourcing, manufacturing processes and social sustainability across the corporation, ultimately benefiting the business, the customer and the environment.”


Irish family business and fresh produce company, Keelings Select, received the Domestic Success Award. Pictured (L-R): Aisling Boggan, National Account Manager; Ger Foley, Leinster Account Manager; Cormac Dunlea, Business Development Manager Cork; Caroline Keeling, Keeling Group Chief Executive; Colm Bury, Managing Director; Joe Bergin, Financial Director; Mariana Suvorova, Sales Executive Dublin; Peter Thompson, Senior Sales Executive Dublin; Alan Fay, Systems & Controls Accountant; and Timmy Moloney, Sales Executive Tipperary.

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