Sunday 8 December 2019

Bord Bia Food & Drink Award 2019 Winners are announced

The 2019 Bord Bia Food & Drink Award winners have all been outstanding in their fields

Brand Marketing Award Winner - The Shed Distillery

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Pictured: Pat & Denise Rigney of The Shed Distillery. Photo Chris Bellew /Fennell Photography Copyright 2019.

Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish Gin is slow-distilled by hand with oriental botanicals and gunpowder tea at The Shed Distillery of PJ Rigney, Drumshanbo Co. Leitrim. Launched in the summer of 2016 to a competitive global marketplace on the verge of a ‘Ginaissance’, the key challenge for the brand was to successfully break through ‘the clutter’, where every brand claims authenticity & super-premium quality. PJ Rigney worked closely with Bord Bia to develop a brand marketing strategy that combined strategic consumer insight with exceptional branding. In just three years, it has become Ireland’s Number 1 export gin, now exporting to 50 countries worldwide. One of the most tangible results of the success of the brand is the creation of 35 full-time jobs at the Leitrim Distillery, with 25 additional positions to be added in the next 18 months. A speedy route to the global market has been driven by a high-energy sales team and distribution partners driving listings with major international retail groups including Wholefoods and Target in the US. High profile travel retail listings are driving major international brand visibility, supported by an intense global activations calendar. This strategy delivered a rise in market share to 7.7% of all gin sales in 2018.

Judges’ comments

‘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 an extremely targeted 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 Winner - Glenilen Farm

Pictured: John O'Brien, Avril Twomey and Valerie Kingston from Glenilen Farm. Photo Chris Bellew /Fennell Photography Copyright 2019.

Glenilen Farm is a family-run business operated by husband and wife Alan and Valerie Kingston since 1997 on their dairy farm in Drimoleague, West Cork. The company produces yoghurt, cheesecakes and country butter, along with other high-quality dairy products using grass-fed milk from neighbouring cows. Today, Glenilen Farm is a flourishing business, owning one of the leading yoghurt brands in Ireland and is stocked in Tesco, Dunnes Stores and SuperValu. The company also exports 20% of its output to the UK. In 2018, the Bord Bia Brand Health Check revealed key learnings about the brand and its consumer base that led the company to instigate a consumer research project. Together with Spark Research, they carried out consumer focus groups and quantitative research in the form of an online survey. The research identified four actions required from the brand 1) Brave marketing activation 2) Brave design 3) Brave innovation and 4) Brave pricing initiatives Armed with these new insights, the company instigated a number of actions. These included a price increase to bring the brand in line with the market; the launch of a community marketing initiative with Alone and the launch of a new kids’ product ‘Live Yogi’ in March 2019.

Judges’ comments

‘Glenilen 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 that drove through all elements of the customer proposition. Business impact and growth opportunities that were based on the insights were clearly demonstrated in their entry and they provide a clear roadmap to further build turnover and profitability in 2020.’

Domestic Success Award Winner - Keelings Direct

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Pictured: Keelings Select team. Photo Chris Bellew /Fennell Photography Copyright 2019.

Keelings Select delivers fresh produce and dairy to more than 1,000 customers every day. Since its roll-out in January 2017, with a staff of three and one delivery van in Smithfield Market, the company has grown to have 125 employees and 40 delivery vehicles. Keelings Select now operates from a bespoke, newly built facility on Keelings’ farm and supplies a choice of 1,200 quality food products, including fresh & prepared fruit and vegetables, dairy products and eggs, to the hospitality sector. At the heart of the Keelings Select business is quality produce. The company puts a premium on quality, taste and provenance, along with supporting a highly trained sales team. Its new location has a dedicated on-site kitchen for customers, enabling Keelings Select to work directly with chefs on new menus and products, underlining its positioning as a food business rather than a logistics company. With a footprint of 120,000 square feet, of which it currently occupies 70,000, the potential for significant future expansion is another important element of the company’s ongoing strategy to grow market share. Keelings Select experienced a 114% increase in sales in 2018 and expects an annual sales growth of 56% in 2019.

Judges’ comments

‘Keelings demonstrated a well-considered strategy and showcased their dedication to staying at the forefront of the fresh produce sector across multiple channels. Keelings Select have segmented the distribution sector in a highly imaginative way and have penetrated a highly profitable sub-sector. Their effective use of resources with ambitious targets have seen the company achieve impressive growth since its establishment in 2017 and their commitment to expansion signposts great potential for the future.’

Diversity & Inclusion Award Winners

This is the first year for Bord Bia to recognise and honour Diversity & Inclusion in the Irish Food & Drink Industry. The judging panel unanimously agreed that both companies shortlisted should be acknowledged as exemplars in this space and both should be recognised for the strides they are making throughout their business units around the globe. Both Diageo and Dawn Meats have been honoured by the judges in the inaugural Diversity & Inclusion award.

Honoured: Dawn Meats

Pictured: Gill Higgins, Niall Browne CEO, Richard Clinton and Philip Tallon from Dawn Meats. Photo Chris Bellew /Fennell Photography Copyright 2019.

Established in Co Waterford in 1980, Dawn Meats is a second-generation family-owned Irish company. Today, it has operations in ten European countries, where it markets quality beef and lamb products to a global customer base in 50 countries. It employs more than 7,300 people at 22 locations in Ireland, the UK, continental Europe and Asia. This global breadth has motivated Dawn Meats to become a thought leader in the practice of diversity & inclusion (D&I). It is a founding member of the Irish Agri-Food D&I Forum (AgDIF), a collaborative initiative led by Bord Bia and Aon. The company is an active member of the Meat Business Women professional networking group, a body working to make the meat industry more attractive to female talent, along with supporting new female entrants. Dawn Meats has put in place D&I initiatives around learning and development, recruitment, and health and wellbeing. The company also engages with programmes that enable the long-term unemployed and those not in education or training to re-enter the work environment, including refugees and asylum seekers. Between 2016 and 2018, female staff at Dawn Meats grew from 18% to 27%, the number of under-30s employed also increased and the mix of nationalities grew to 49.

Judges’ comments

‘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.’

Honoured: Diageo

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Pictured: Tara McCarthy, CEO, Bord Bia, presenting the Diversity and Inclusion Award to Sandra Caffrey and Liam Reid, Diageo. Photo Chris Bellew /Fennell Photography Copyright 2019.

Diageo, the world’s largest premium drinks business, formed in 1997 from the merger of Guinness and Grand Metropolitan. The company boasts an outstanding portfolio of more than 200 alcohol beverage brands, including Guinness, Baileys, Smirnoff, Johnnie Walker and Tanqueray, and employs 28,400 people worldwide. In Ireland, it employs 1,200 people across four sites, including Baileys in Nangor Road, Dublin and its Irish headquarters at the world-famous St James’ Gate breweries. Inclusion and Diversity is at the core of Diageo’s purpose of ‘Celebrating Life Every Day, Everywhere’. It is also at the heart of Diageo’s ambition to become the best performing, most trusted and respected consumer packaged goods company in the world. To drive this strategy, Diageo has set a target for its global senior leadership team to be 40% female by 2025. Diageo is the FTSE Top 100 company with the highest number of females in its most senior positions with 44% of the Board and 40% of the Executive Committee being female. In Ireland, the company’s aim is to achieve 35% female representation in 2020. Diageo’s ‘Global Family Leave’ policy offers parents six months fully paid parental leave, regardless of their gender, sexual orientation or whether employees become parents biologically, via surrogacy or adoption.

Judges’ comments

‘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.’

Export Growth Award Winner - Silver Hill Farm

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Pictured were Barry Cullen, Head of Sales and Greg Devlin, Silver Hill Farm. Photo Chris Bellew /Fennell Photography.

Silver Hill Farm was founded in 1962 in Emyvale, Co Monaghan where it produces a number of premium duck products. The business is 70% export led, supplying premium ducks and duck products to 24 countries worldwide. Silver Hill Farm has already achieved market success among Asian customers, supplying ‘head-on’ whole duck to the very best Chinese and Asian restaurants in Ireland and the UK for almost 40 years.

Last year, the company focused on growing its highest margin export business in the Asian retail and Chinese markets. As a premium niche product, when targeting newly affluent markets, such as Singapore, it aimed to reach the top 10-20% segment which is a direct fit with the business’s brand and price point. A dedicated marketing manager was responsible for communicating with Asian customers, supported by a recently-developed multilingual Asian website featuring different country microsites. As a result of this strategy, the company has increased its export sales by more than €4 million, and currently exports 20,000 ducks per week to more than 150 high-end restaurants in Asia. This success has led it to establish a base in Singapore to serve the Asian market from which it plans to enter a number of new countries.

Judges’ comments

‘Silver Hill 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.’ The judging panel concurred that ‘Silver Hill has written the rule book on how to succeed in South East Asia. For any firm that is looking at that market, Silver Hill has shown us how to do it.’


Future Leader Award Winner - Philip Martin

Pictured: Philip Martin, Founder and CEO of Blanco Nino

Philip Martin is CEO of premium Mexican food brand Blanco Niño. At the age of just 31, this is Philip’s second successful business. Upon leaving school, he worked in the restaurant industry before opening a casual dining restaurant called Little Ass Burrito Bar, in Dublin. The business quickly gained recognition, winning the 2015 Taste of Mexico competition. Unsatisfied with the quality of corn tortillas on the market, Philip travelled to Mexico to learn how to make authentic versions in the ancient Aztec way. Back in Ireland, he decided to set up a tortilla factory. To fund this, he executed what was then Ireland’s most successful ever crowdfunding campaign. He brought together a highly experienced management team, including former CEO of Dawn Fresh Foods Gerry Raftery as operations director and former CFO of Valeo Food Aidan O’Byrne. Together they launched their tortilla factory in Clonmel, Co Tipperary, at the beginning of 2016. Philip has since established relationships and routes to market across 14 European countries via 25 distribution partners. The raising of sufficient funding has been key to Philip’s success, including investment from the Tipperary Local Enterprise Office, Enterprise Ireland HPSU program, Bord Bia, AIB and numerous prominent Irish and international investors.

Judges’ comments

‘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 very 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 Winner - ABP Food Group

Pictured: Fiona Geraghty, Eoin Ryan and Aideen Burke from ABP. Photo Chris Bellew /Fennell Photography Copyright 2019.

ABP Food Group employs 11,000 people in nine countries. The company operates across four inter-dependent divisions: Beef, Renewables, Proteins and Pet Food. ABP is a founding member of Origin Green and supplys high quality meat to the retail, food service and manufacturing sectors throughout Europe, USA, Africa and Asia. The company’s products are served in over 200 Michelin starred restaurants. ABP has aligned its sustainability strategy “Doing more with Less” to the UN Sustainability Goals. This covers the entire supply chain from farms, to ABP’s processing sites and on to the end consumer. ABP this year achieved its 2020 sustainability targets ahead of schedule and is now in the process of introducing science-based targets. These will closely align ABP’s work with global commitments made under the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. The company’s renewables division, Olleco, was recognised at the World Economic Forum in Davos earlier this year for the circular economy solutions it provides to the food service industry. Olleco converts used cooking oil and waste food into energy and bio-fuels. All ABP processing sites in Ireland are powered by energy from renewable sources.

Judges’ comments

‘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 Winner - Heineken Ireland

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Pictured were Tara McCarthy, CEO, Bord Bia, presenting Kathryn D’Arcy, Corporate Affairs Manager and Mark Noble from Heineken. Photo Chris Bellew /Fennell Photography Copyright 2019.

Heineken Ireland is built on a brewing heritage that started in Cork more than 160 years ago. It is a member of Origin Green and last year received the Business Working Responsibly Mark for its sustainability efforts. In 2018, Heineken Ireland used 3.1 litres of water to brew one litre of beer, representing a reduction of 6% since 2008. For the same period, it achieved a 58% reduction in C02 emissions per hectolitre from its production process. It also gained a 22% decrease in C02 emissions per hectolitre from distribution. The replacement of its entire forklift fleet with new electrically powered forklifts resulted in a reduction in its carbon footprint of 112 tonnes per year. The brewery site is zero waste to landfill, and the company monitors the packaging it uses to ‘reduce, reuse and recycle.’ Work with our facilities provider and employees has enabled an 85% reduction in plastic usage in its canteen and facilities. All Heineken suppliers have signed the company’s Supplier Code, ensuring they adhere to the highest standards on human rights, the environment and integrity.

Judges’ comments

‘Heineken successfully illustrated excellence in both corporate and public sustainability, outlining six areas of focus and detailing significant improvements in all areas at its Cork brewery site. 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. Most remarkable was the reduction in CO2 emissions.’


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