The 2020 National Organic Awards reveal Irish companies’ commitment to
developing and maintaining a secure and sustainable food and drink sector
Article appeared in issue 1, 2021
The National Organic Awards, held every two years, celebrate the quality and excellence across the Irish organic sector, and in 2020, Bord Bia (the Irish Food Board), together with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM), recognised the achievements of six Irish organic food and drink companies.
Congratulating the winners, Minister of State, Land Use and Biodiversity, Pippa Hackett T.D. said: “Seeing their innovation and creativity, I know we can be confident the organic sector will continue to thrive. It is a vital sector of the Irish food and drink industry, and one for which this Government is committed to developing domestic and international markets.’’
Commenting on the high standard of entries Tara McCarthy, CEO of Bord Bia, said: “The range of organic products coming out of Ireland right now is exceptional, and the dedication to producing world-class organic produce was evident amongst the entire shortlist for the awards.
Significant shifts in consumer preference to healthy, sustainable food choices endorses our confidence for the sector. Specifically, there are growing opportunities for Irish producers and exporters in the German and French organic markets where Ireland enjoys a strong image as a food producer and we look forward to working with companies and growers, including many of those shortlisted, to explore these in the future.”
The winners of the National Organic Awards each won a Digital Marketing package to the value of €5,000.
Retail Award Winner – Waterford Distillery
Waterford Distillery makes whiskey from Irish barley, with each farmer’s crop harvested, stored, malted and distilled separately, capturing each characteristic shaped by the micro-climate and soil. Launched in October 2020, Organic: Gaia 1.1 is the first organic Irish whiskey made from Irish organic malting barley. Neil Conway, production manager and head brewer at Waterford Distillery said: “We are all very proud at Waterford Distillery to have received the 2020 Organic Retail award from Bord Bia. The Organic Gaia release is Ireland’s first certified organic whisky and to be part of the team that has put this splendid whisky together is a great milestone for us here at Waterford. Organic Gaia has been received very well in the global markets and to date, we have launched into 19 countries with a vision to reach many more in 2021. The production of Waterford’s Organic: Gaia 1.1 Single Malt Irish Whiskey has been a collaborative project and we would like to thank all our partners who have made this happen, so a special thanks to our organic barley
growers, Minch Malt and the Organic Trust.”
New and Innovative Award Winner – Pipin Pear
Pipin Pear is a range of baby food that uses all organic ingredients and contains no added salt, sugar or additives. The Baby Beef Ragu product contains one portion of a child’s five-a-day fruit and vegetables, and Irish beef. The convenient bowl is made using 100% recyclable packaging.
Private Label Award Winner –Begley’s Supervalu Organic Leeks
In 2000, the family-owned Begley's Fresh Produce Group began growing organic fruit and vegetables in order to supply Certified Organic Produce to the retail sector. Begley’s Irish Organic Leeks are part of a range of Irish-grown produce in partnership with Musgraves and, through a joint venture, have introduced 100% compostable packaging for their organic leeks. Commenting on the win, James O’Regan of Begleys said: “We are delighted to win this award. It is testament to our hard working, dedicated staff, who have worked tirelessly through Covid-19 to ensure that Irish families have the very best fresh, Irish-grown organic produce every day.”
E-Commerce Award Winner and Business in the
Community Award Winner – Burren Smokehouse
The Burren Smokehouse is a family-run business supplying smoked salmon, trout and mackerel. The company carefully sources quality raw materials for their organic smoked salmon and guarantees quality standards with regular testing from independent laboratories and checks from the Irish Organic Farmers and Growers Association. The company used digital marketing to drive sales of their organic Smoked Salmon and their monthly newsletter is sent in English, German and French to customers in Ireland and overseas, and shares recipes, news and offers leading to online sales. ‘Taste the Atlantic - the Salmon Experience’ is an interactive visitor experience that tells the story of Irish salmon, from its place in Irish mythology right up to the role salmon aquaculture plays in coastal communities. Owner Birgitta Hedin-Curtin commented: “We are honoured to receive two National Irish Awards for E-commerce and Business in Community recognising our Innovation of e-commerce sales for organic food and our contribution to education on sustainability and organic food in our community. The award lifted our team spirit, especially during 2020!”
Export Award Winner – The Nest Box Egg Company
Based in Monaghan, family business The Nest Box Egg Company produce over three million Bord Bia Quality Assured eggs each week. With a supplier base of 26 family-run farms, they deliver private label and branded solutions within the domestic and export markets. Their Golden Irish 10 Organic egg box was specifically designed for the export market. The company discovered that eggs are bought in larger quantities by consumers within the Gulf Cooperative Council (GCC) and their eggs are now available in over 100 stores across the GCC.
Marketing Campaign Award Winner – Glenisk
As Ireland’s largest manufacturer of branded yogurt, Glenisk uses 90% of all organic milk produced on the island of Ireland. All products are made with organic, locally sourced ingredients and no artificial ingredients. Their BIO Organic Yogurt range is also gluten free and suitable for vegetarians. Glenisk partnered with Self Help Africa to plant over One Million Trees, which will see over 1,000,000 native trees planted in Africa and 100,000 in Ireland. The multi-touch point campaign included an exclusive retail partnership with SuperValu, on-pack promotion, in-store activations and a national radio campaign.