Irish Food & Drink Industry Champion Award Presented to ‘Mr Cheestrings’
At its Food and Drink Industry Awards in the RDS, Dublin, Bord Bia recently presented the inaugural ‘Industry Champion’ Award to Denis O’Riordan (pictured above) of Kerry Foods in recognition of his outstanding contribution to delivering global success for the Cheestrings brand. More than 300 Irish food and drink industry leaders gathered for the awards ceremony which honoured the most progressive and ambitious businesses in Ireland’s thriving food and drink industry. The award winners, encompassing some of Ireland’s best known brands, family businesses and export successes, included Diageo; Butlers Chocolates; The Happy Pear; Gallagher’s Bakery; Silver Hill Farm; Dawn Meats; Kerry Foods; Monaghan Mushrooms and Pip & Pear.
Bord Bia this year introduced the new ‘Industry Champion’ Award in order to recognise the contribution of a committed individual, who has worked to develop the food and drink industry in Ireland at an international level.
Announcing the award winners, Tara McCarthy, CEO, Bord Bia said: “Denis O’Riordan, known as ‘Mr Cheestrings’ among his colleagues in Kerry Foods, is one of the pioneers of best practice marketing in Ireland. He is recognised as being the leading force behind the international success of Cheestrings, which is now available to some 350 million people across Europe. Denis has served as a mentor and a role model for how to take a food brand from concept to global presence by embedding consumer and market insight in the business. This has led to him receiving accolades across Europe and of course here at home. His passion and belief in the marketing discipline is something every one of us in the industry can learn from. We at Bord Bia want to recognise this expertise, so it can permeate and inspire the whole industry.”
The awards also included winners in nine distinct categories as follows:
Branding Award Winner: Diageo for Baileys
Diageo received the ‘Branding’ award for showcasing excellence in repositioning the Bailey’s brand from the niche liqueur category considered a seasonal offering to the growing ‘premium treat’ category. The strategy, founded on a deep insight into the psychology of everyday ‘treats’, resulted in global revenue turning around in 2016 from a five-year rolling decline to +5% volume growth uplift.
Consumer Insight Award Winner: Butlers Chocolate
Butlers Chocolate was awarded the ‘Consumer Insight’ award for excellence in consumer centered marketing which led to the development of a super-premium range, Butlers Platinum Collection. Informed by an in-depth study, the product offers a unique experience centered around the ritual of opening a box of chocolates resulting in sales in over 15 countries.
Digital Marketing Award Winner: The Happy Pear
The Happy Pear received the ‘Digital Marketing Award’ for demonstrating how the company has embraced authentic digital campaigns to create a powerful ‘movement’ which is driving the business. The company continues to increase its loyal following on social media which has grown by a third from almost 600,000 followers to over 800,000.
Entrepreneurial Award Winner: Gallaghers Bakery
Gallaghers Bakery, based in Donegal, received the ‘Entrepreneurial Award’ for the company’s foresight in identifying, researching and developing a successful offering for the gluten-free market. This vision has driven huge success for the business which has grown from employing 65 people in 2011 to 305 direct employees in 2017, with a further 40 expected by early 2018. By the end of the decade, it expects to have products available in every one of the top 20 retailers in the USA and Europe.
Export Award (Smaller Business – under €100m) Winner: Silver Hill Foods
Silver Hill Foods, a premium producer of duck and duck products in Monaghan, was awarded this Export Award’ for demonstrating a well thought out and executed strategy for capturing the export market. This has driven strategic growth in its highest margin export business, the retail and Chinese markets. The company currently supplies 24 countries all over the world.
Export Award (Bigger Business – over €100m) Winner: Kerry Foods for Cheestrings
Kerry Foods won an ‘Export Award’ for its distribution and promotional strategies to support the export and growth of the Cheestrings brand which is now available to more than 350 million consumers across ten European markets. The success of this strategy is widely recognised and Cheestrings now has a brand value of more than €100m per annum.
Innovation Award Winner: Pip & Pear
The ‘Innovation Award’ went to Pip & Pear who demonstrated an impressive and well thought out marketing strategy to create a new category within the baby food sector for chilled fresh baby food. The company demonstrated a consumer-focused approach to developing a new product based on a core insight that parents want to feed their baby the best.
Sustainability Award Winner: Dawn Meats
Dawn Meats received the ‘Sustainability Award’ for the development of a sustainability strategy in conjunction with key stakeholders including farmers and customers. A member of Origin Green, the food and drink industry’s sustainability programme, the company has illustrated progress in operations and a commitment to the future through Sustainable Sourcing; Animal Welfare; Resource Management; People and Community; Innovation and Nutrition. Dawn Meats is a second-generation family owned Irish company with operations in nine European countries marketing quality beef and lamb products to over 40 countries.
Sustainability, Project Impact Award: Monaghan Mushrooms
Monaghan Mushrooms received the ‘Sustainability, Project Impact Award’ for successfully demonstrating that the business is at the technical and environmental forefront of the mushroom business. The results of their sustainability efforts has led them to develop a vitamin D enriched mushroom which benefits both the customer and environment simultaneously.
The overall winners were chosen from an original shortlist of 24 companies which were selected by a team of seven independent judges with extensive experience in business, global markets, media, marketing, and sustainability.