Borough tastes early success as high flying food and drink producers are shortlisted

Friday 21 April 2017

Products from Mid and East Antrim have been shortlisted in a Belfast City Airport competition offering food and drink producers across Northern Ireland the chance to win £30,000 of marketing support.

Staff at Mauds Ice Cream factory in Carrickfergus

Launched in partnership with Food NI and local councils in January to find the ‘Best’ local food and drink product, the prize includes £20,000 of branding on site at Belfast City Airport and £10,000 of online support through the airport’s digital channels.

Glenarm Castle Estate, Gracehill Fine Foods and Maud’s Ice Cream have secured a place in the next round of the competition for their Himalayan Salt Aged Shorthorn Beef, Black Pudding and Poor Bear’s Delight respectively, having been selected by representatives from Mid and East Antrim Borough Council.

The Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Borough, Councillor Audrey Wales MBE, said: “Mid and East Antrim is home to a fantastic range of talented producers and the standard of applications that we received was incredibly high. 

“Agri-food is a key priority sector within the Integrated Economic Development Strategy for Mid and East Antrim.

“Council is delighted to have such a fantastic representation of the Borough in the next stage of the competition.

“I would like to congratulate them on their progression to the next stage and wish them every success. We hope that the public will show their support for those selected.”

Local councils across Northern Ireland judged the entries and put forward their shortlisted products. These are now featured on the airport’s Facebook page and the product image from each council area which receives the most ‘likes’ on the airport’s Facebook page will progress to the final.

The final will take the form of a tasting session judged by a panel of food and drink experts.     

Katy Best, Commercial and Marketing Director at Belfast City Airport, said: “We would like to congratulate those producers who have been selected to progress to the next stage of the competition. The standard of entries received has been fantastic and we were delighted with the response from producers across Northern Ireland.

“With 2.67 million passengers from all over the world travelling through the airport each year, the winning producer will be exposed to a fantastic level of footfall and visibility.”

Michele Shirlow of Food NI commented: “The calibre of the entries is outstanding and highlights the excellence of producers in Northern Ireland, whose innovation is driving the success of our local hospitality sector.

“We would love the public to show their support by visiting Belfast City Airport Facebook page and ‘liking’ their favourite product to ensure they secure a place in the final.

“It’s so fantastic to see the legacy of NI Year of Food and Drink continuing in 2017, and it is our aim to ensure Northern Ireland grows its reputation as a global food destination where visitors can taste the greatness.”

Photograph: Above: staff at Maud's Ice Cream factory in Carrickfergus; below: Hugh Anderson from Gracehill Fine Foods and Adrian Morrow pictured with some of the livestock at Glenarm Castle Estate.