Invest Northern Ireland has congratulated the Northern Ireland companies which racked up 172 awards for products in this year’s annual Great Taste Awards, which were announced today by the Guild of Fine Food.
Invest NI’s Director of Food & Drink, John Hood said “The Great Taste awards demonstrate the outstanding commitment of local companies to innovative and delicious food and drink, especially at this very challenging time for everyone in Northern Ireland.
“This is a terrific achievement by our companies, especially smaller enterprises, and showcases their tremendous resilience and determination to continue to do business especially in highly competitive markets in Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland.
“We continue to stand with these companies as they seek to grow business both here and abroad. I am confident that our businesses have what it takes to continue to grow against the background of the pandemic.
“They have already – and continue to make a significant contribution to efforts to ‘feed the nation’ and offer shoppers original, richly flavoured and nutritious food and drink with provenance and traceability,” he added.
Of the almost 13,000 entries from around the world, 816 Northern Ireland companies were awarded one gold star, 1,294 two starts and just 205 three stars.
“The breadth of the excellence of our food and drink is showcased in particular by the companies achieving the highest accolade of three gold stars. The two and one star winners also deserve praise for their enterprise.
“Overall, we continue to punch above our weight in an acclaimed global competition. I look forward confidently to the final judging for the overall Supreme Champion title, which our companies have won on three occasions in the past,” he added.,
Among the Great Taste 3-star winners from Northern Ireland are a number of products that deliver big, bold flavours, including; Black Garlic & Porcini Sea Salt from Craic Foods in Craigavon, County Armagh, described as “an umami flavour bomb” by the judges, who loved its “bold mushroom flavour, sweetness from the black garlic and a slight acidic lift toward the end”; the “smooth and silky” Abernethy Lemon Curd from The Little Bakehouse in Dromore, County Down, delivering “plenty of lovely rich butteryness and a massive burst of fresh, bright, fruity lemon”; and the Japanese-inspired Koji Pork Ribs from Hannan Meats in Moira, County Armagh, which bowled the judges over with its “intense umami from the koji, which really enhances the flavour of the pork”, leading one judge to say “this is the most delicious piece of pork I can remember trying.”
The final honours, including the Great Taste 2020 Supreme Champion, will be announced at the virtual Great Taste Golden Fork awards event, set to take place in October.
The Great Taste Awards are recognised as an immensely important stamp of excellence among retailers and consumers.