National Organic Awards 2014 winners announced
Donegal based kombucha brewery SynerChi wins two awards for Innovation and Best Processed Product
14 October 2014
The achievements and contributions of five Irish organic food and drink companies were recognised today (14 October) at the National Organic Awards held in Bord Bia’s Dublin headquarters. Over 80 industry representatives gathered for the event which rewards quality and excellence within the Irish organic sector across categories including direct selling, innovation and export. Tom Hayes, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine was on hand to announce the category winners and also the inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award recipient.
The big winner was brewmaster Laura Murphy, founder of Ireland’s first kombucha brewery SynerChi in Gweedore, Co Donegal, who won both the Innovation and the Best Processed Product awards for her SynerChi Live Kombucha Original Sencha Tea. The judges were extremely impressed with Laura’s “superb tasting product” which features very distinctive branding and gives the public a chance to purchase a “healthy alternative soft drink”.
Other deserving award winners announced today were Monaghan based Mulberry Meadow Farm which won the Best Fresh Product award for their organic living micro broccoli; Galway’s Beechlawn Organic Farm which won the Best New Product Award for their organic sun gold orange cherry tomatoes; Waterford based The Little Milk Company won the Export Award for their organic mature cheddar and Galway based Green Earth Organics won the Direct Selling Award for their large vegetable box.
The inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award* was presented to Josef Finke in recognition of his longstanding work and commitment to the development of the Irish organic sector. A pioneer in the industry, Finke established one of the very first commercial organic farms in Ireland when he converted the farm at Ballybrado to organic farming in 1983. Ballybrado Ltd subsequently become one of the first exporters of organic produce from Ireland and continues to thrive today. Finke also founded Good Herdsmen in 1989 to co-ordinate the organic meat supply in Ireland and to offer the very first formal routes to market for organic producers. He was also instrumental in the establishment of the organic control bodies in Ireland, initially with IOFGA and subsequently was one of the founding members of the Organic Trust.
Speaking at the awards, Minister Tom Hayes, said: “The organic food and drink industry is vital to our economy. The value of annual retail sales of organic food in Ireland is at €99.1 million, up from €97 million last year. There are currently 1,721 registered organic operators in Ireland and over 52,000 hectares of land is being used to produce organic food. The National Organic Awards provide a great opportunity to salute those who excel in their respective industries and we hope to see this continued growth in the Irish organic food and drink sector in the years to come.”
Also commenting on the awards, Aidan Cotter, chief executive, Bord Bia said: “With almost nine out of ten Irish consumers purchasing organic in the last year, we look forward to continued success for this sector and to working with our shortlisted companies in particular as we embark on projects together in the areas of product and brand innovation.”
Established by the National Organic Plan under the auspices of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine in collaboration with Bord Bia, the objective of the National Organic Awards is to recognise the achievements and raise the profile of Irish organic food and drink manufacturers and growers. Now in their seventh year, the awards are recognised as an important fixture for the organic food and drink industry.