Measurable impact on sales – “more than just a piece of glass”

Generic - no year - Gold - circleA survey of over 100 past winners showed that 81% had seen an increase in sales after displaying the Blas na hÉireann sticker with 28% of those surveyed saying that they saw an increase in sales of over 20%. In the survey many winners noted the credibility that the awards gave to their products with one saying, “Tourists and overseas visitors recognise the value of a prestigious recognised national award and this has increased sales significantly online and in high profile visitor locations throughout Ireland and abroad.” Another winner surveyed found that a Blas award helped to build relationships with their customers, “I have found that the Blas Award has been great for communicating with my customers in the shop. They really recognise the value of the award and have faith in it and the other products which I stock which have the award logo on their packaging.”

 

“Blas na hÉireann awards have a quantifiable impact on any winner’s bottom line,” says Artie Clifford, Chairperson and founder of Blas na hÉireann, “whether it’s raising the profile of a producer’s product, or getting the attention of chefs, retailers or the general food-loving public. The independent endorsement of a Blas award is a recognised quality guarantee that can help get a product onto the shelves of a particular retailer or onto a restaurant menu. It’s also always a huge boost for an individual producer, an appreciation for all their hard work and a moment to savour their achievements in a busy and often pressurised working life. The Blas na hÉireann awards event in Dingle each year has become an unmissable shop window for the general public, media and trade to meet, discover and appreciate some of the country’s best producers but, even more importantly, it has become an opportunity for the Irish food community to come together and celebrate their successes.”

Winners are always the competition’s best ambassadors, something to which over a decade’s worth of small producers, farmers, growers, bakers and artisan food makers who have won a Blas award and proudly put the winner’s sticker on their product can attest. Research has shown that the Blas accreditation has the highest recognition among Irish consumers and having the award logo on products encourages shoppers to buy – it is a recognised guarantee of a top quality Irish product.

It’s the 12th year of Blas na hÉireann, the Irish Food Awards, the largest blind-tasted food awards on the island of Ireland, designed to recognise and celebrate the very best Irish food and drink. Entry opens to producers across all categories of food and drink on March 17th with the early bird discounted rate for entries running until 30th April. Entries will finally close on June 12th.

These are exceptionally rigorously-judged awards, as Blas na hÉireann use an innovative blind-tasting judging system developed by Blas with the Food Science Dept of UCC and the University of Copenhagen that is now recognised as an industry gold standard worldwide. Products entered are blind-tasted, meaning that all packaging and identifying features are removed from products before being presented for judging, creating a level playing field for products from both large and small producers. Judges come from a range of food backgrounds from chefs to restaurateurs, academics, journalists, authors, food champions, caterers and enthusiastic home cooks.

The founding mission of Blas – establishing quality benchmarks for Irish produce on a level playing field – is strictly adhered to and measurably applied.

“In this our 12th year of the Blas na hÉireann awards, our sector is more innovative and exciting than ever,” says Artie Clifford, Chairperson and founder of Blas na hÉireann. “Our aim is to assist Irish producers to tell their stories by marking them out as special, and worth exploring. Winning a Blas award has been shown to work for our previous winners in bringing them to the attention of food-lovers both at home and abroad and we are looking forward to another exceptional year for Blas na hÉireann 2019.”

Entries for Blas na hÉireann 2019 received online between 17th March and 30th of April are at the discounted early bird fee of €60 per entry (ex VAT). The full entry fee, applicable from 1st May to 12th June is €75 per entry (ex VAT).

Enter online
Book a place for our Buyer Insights Event 

 

New partnership with TU Dublin for Bread Judging

Blas na hEireann are delighted to be working with the experts at TU Dublin for the judging of the bread categories in this year’s competition.

Robert Humphries and Ann Marie Dunne who have been part of the judging panel for a number of years will lead the panel this year in a new venue in Tallaght.

Dr Frank Cullen, Head of School said, “As Head of School, I am delighted that Blas na hEireann have invited the School of Culinary Arts and Food Technology, TU Dublin to participate and support The Irish Food Awards. This connectivity brings together the biggest competition for quality Irish produce on the island of Ireland with the largest culinary school in Ireland making a perfect strategic fit. Over 2500 products were entered into the 2018 competition to win Gold, Silver and Bronze Awards in over 100 food and drink categories and we look forward to our involvement for many years to come”.

Artie Clifford, Chairperson of Blas na hEireann is looking forward to this new partnership, “We are delighted to be working with TU Dublin for the judging of our bread categories. We have been honoured to work with the experts from the faculty over the years and know their level of expertise and professionalism”

 

The important details for entrants;

The venue:
In the coming years the bread judging will take place in the new, state of the art TU Dublin Grangegorman campus in their Blenders NPD Kitchen. This exciting move to the TU Dublin site will take place in 2020

This year ahead of the move from TU Dublin campus at Cathal Brugha Street the 2019 judging will take place at Blenders Kitchens on site in Tallaght

The date:
The bread categories (categories 20 – 25) will be judged on the Monday 17h of June 

 

Blas na hEireann & FITU Lecture Series

We are delighted to be working with the team at UCC’s Food Industry Training Unit to deliver a series of industry focused courses and workshops. The topics have been based on key points identified by producers as areas of interest and need.

Upcoming dates and details as follows;

  1. Finance for Non-Financial Managers, currently scheduled for 9th April 2019 (for details on trainers and programme see: https://www.ucc.ie/en/fitu/courses/financefornon-financialmanagers/#d.en.957272).
  2. Digital Marketing & Social Media (Beginners Course), early September 2019 (date to be confirmed), Dr Amy-Jane Troy
  3. Digital Marketing & Social Media (Advanced Course), late September 2019 (date to be confirmed), Dr Amy-Jane Troy
  4. Distribution and Business Strategy, late 2019 (date to be determined).

Registrations open for Blas na hEireann Stand at Gifted 2019

E2AF4BE7-8440-4445-B60F-F8B421679038We are delighted to let you know that Blas na hEireann will be back at Gifted, (The National Crafts & Design Fair at the RDS) We will have a dedicated space for Blas na hEireann finalists and winners.

The show is the largest indoor retail event in the country with over 40,000 unique visitors.

The show runs for 5 days from the Wednesday 4th – Sunday 8th December. http://www.giftedfair.ie/

Blas na hEireann will be creating a dedicated, central space within the show and there are a limited number of spaces for past finalists and winners to book as follows;

Package

  • Stands will be located within a central Blas na hEireann Stand Gifted
  • Producers will have 1m wide counter per exhibitor (individual branding on counter) Central storage area
  • Cost: €900 plus vat per stand
  • How to book: Please contact Fallon in the Blas office to register your interest by email to info@irishfoodawards.com or indeed for any questions that you have and we will be happy to help.
  • Once registered the Blas team will connect you directly with the office at Gifted to arrange details.
  • Getting Ready to Open

    Getting Ready to Open

    Eligibility:
    All Blas winners and finalists who have not exhibited at the Fair on a stand alone exhibit in the past 3 years (ie 2015, 2016 & 2017)
    Alcoholic products can only be sampled but not sold at the Fair.
    Producers are not permitted to sell hot food or drinks, or any single servings of food to be consumed on the premises. 

Applications open for InterTradeIreland Support Vouchers

INterTradeInterTradeIreland have a range of supports available for SMEs to encourage them to plan for Brexit.

Research shows that Agri Food will be most impacted in the event of a hard Brexit, however very few have made any formal plans and we have noticed a low number of applications from that particular sector.

InterTrade supports are detailed on https://intertradeireland.com/brexit/
In particular note, Start to Plan voucher, this voucher is €2250 towards training and/or bespoke consultancy advice in the areas of Customs/Supply Chain/Legal etc…

Eligibility includes :

  • SMEs less than 250 employees,
  • turnover less than €50million
  • have a satisfactory track record in home market
  • applicants should have a Brexit issue 

There is an online application form which only takes a few minutes to complete & applications are assessed within a maximum of 10 working days, but we are trying to get a decision turned around within a few days where possible.  https://intertradeireland.com/brexit/brexit-start-to-plan-vouchers/

For more details you can contact
Denise Marron
Project Manager – Brexit Advisory Service
Intertrade Ireland
denise.marron@intertradeireland.com
www.intertradeireland.com
T: 048 3083 4130 (From ROI) / 028 3083 4130 (From NI)

 

 

 

Preparing for Food Safety and Quality Audits – a practical approach

An interactive Food Safety Management Workshop
DATES: 6th and 7th March 2019, at University College Cork

Introduction
Food safety and quality audits are a fact of life for all food business operators.  Multiple audits are a frequent occurrence in a single production year, as companies need to demonstrate compliance with requirements from different customers, regulatory inspectors, and standards bodies.FITU

Planning and preparing for a food safety audit takes time, resources and know-how. Several members of staff are often involved, especially if the food business is supplying to retailers, exporting, or preparing for accreditation to standards such as the BRC Global Standard in Food Safety, ISO 22000, or Bord Bia Quality Assurance Standards.

Objective:
The aim of this two-day workshop is to help personnel to plan and prepare for food safety and quality audits and to engage effectively with auditors. A practical approach will be taken during the workshop, counting down from when the audit preparations start, right up to the day of the food safety audit, and afterwards to ensure close-out.

The workshop speakers will include a food business owner, a food safety manager, and third party food safety auditors who have a combined wealth of expertise in food safety management across different types of food production, as well as in food safety auditing, food production, and retail. The speakers are knowledgeable on the challenging requirements of different types of customers, regulations and standards. 

The workshop will increase confidence in facing important food safety audits and will help food companies to positively influence the outcome of the audit.

Who should attend?
Those in a food business operation who are responsible for preparing for food safety and quality audits and interacting with auditors. The workshop will be of interest to newcomers, as well as experienced personnel, in the following roles:
- T
echnical managers
-
Food safety and quality managers
-
Quality assurance personnel
-
HACCP team members
-
Production personnel involved in audit planning and preparation
-
Product developers and R&D personnel
-
Senior personnel who need to engage with experts in food safety management

The workshop will focus on
-
Requirements of food safety and quality audits
-
Expectations of the external food safety auditor
-
Audit preparation and priorities in the months before the audit
-
Critical food safety documentation
-
Critical food safety practices
-
Internal audits and system reviews
-
What to do in the weeks leading up to the audit
-
What to do on the day of the audit
-
How to follow up on the audit and manage the outcome

Digital Badge Award
Upon successful completion, you will be awarded a digital badge which can be used to support your CV and e-portfolio. A digital badge is an award which recognises your accomplishment in completing an unaccredited course and is referred to as a micro-credential. By taking part in the in-course activities and successfully completing the in-course questions you will qualify for a digital badge in Preparing for Food Safety and Quality Audits. The badge can be downloaded and included on CVs, shared via email or included on your e-portfolio (for example on LinkedIn). When a person or employer clicks on your digital badge they will see the specific details of the course, the process by which the course was given and if the course was successfully completed. Digital badges can be used to illustrate continued professional development and can supplement existing qualifications. Further information on UCC digital badges can be accessed here.

Lead Trainer: Dr. Catherine Halbert
Dr. Catherine Halbert is highly knowledgeable on food quality and safety, in particular auditing of food safety management systems. Catherine takes a practical approach to food safety; she has trained hundreds of people in the food industry over the past 20 years. She has helped clients to win accreditation to external food safety standards, including the BRC Global Food Safety Standard and the Bord Bia Quality Assurance Schemes. She was a lead partner in two EU-funded projects focusing on the food sector; STARTEC and TRADEIT. She is also a part-time lecturer for the Food Industry Training Unit in University College Cork on the Diploma in Speciality Food Production and Diploma in Food Science and Technology.

Invited speakers will include a food business owner, a food safety manager, and third party food safety auditors. Further information on the invited speakers will be provided in due course.

Course Fee
The cost of the course is €825 which includes tuition, course notes and templates, lunches, refreshment breaks, a class photograph and a UCC Digital Badge. This course will be part-funded for eligible applicants by Taste4Success Skillnet.

Registration:
The workshop is limited to 20 people, as there will be a strong focus on interaction with the speakers and between participants, to share issues and successful approaches.

 

For further information please contact:
Dr Angela Sheehan
Food Industry Training Unit
School of Food and Nutritional Sciences
College of Science, Engineering and Food Science
University College Cork
Ireland
Telephone: 353 21 4901423
E-mail: a.sheehan@ucc.ie
Web Site: www.ucc.ie/en/fitu

Speciality/Artisan Food Marketing Workshop (Focus on Digital Marketing)

UCC Course
Blas na hÉireann, in partnership with the Food Industry Training Unit in UCC, are running this 1-day FREE WORKSHOP
Cost: Free – Limited to 20 places
Registration Deadline: 21st November, 2018
Award: All participants will receive a Digital Badge
Find out more details

Register
Dr Angela Sheehan / Dr Amy-Jane Troy
a.sheehan@ucc.ie / amyjane.troy@ucc.ie

021 490 1423 / 021 490 2799

Cork Deliveries? Another kind offer!

Martin Higgins of Martin’s Homemade Jams has very kindly offered to assist any other finalist producers with deliveries.
He will be travelling from Cork on Tuesday 2nd of October (based in Mallow) and can assist with ambient product (entries would need to be dropped to him on Monday 1st)
You can reach him on 0863578609 or martinsjams2013@gmail.com

 

 

A kind offer for shared delivery….

We received a very kind offer from David at Maud’s Icecream, based in Carrickfergus, Co. Antrim to assist in any producers making deliveries fto Dingle for judging as follows;Contact: David Wilson david@mauds.com
“I can make any necessary arrangements directly with them regarding receipt of their samples and transport to Dingle. Not a problem.  In some cases, we may even be able to arrange collection as our vans cover pretty much all of Northern Ireland.
Naturally, producers are very protective of their samples and don’t want to risk temperature problems during transport or rough handling so the following might help allay any fears.
Temperature Control:
Be assured, we have no issue with temperature control – our own ice cream is more difficult to transport than most other products simply because you can’t refreeze it if it melts. Our vans are all under 2 years old with refrigeration equipment capable of maintaining -24′c even during multi-drop deliveries on the hottest summer days. Same goes for the ambient/chilled compartments. All vans have trackers and temperature monitors that constantly report back to base.
Experience:
We have acted as a collection point and transporter of the Irish (both north & south) ice cream samples for the Ice Cream Alliance’s annual competitions held in England for over 25 years. These entries included pots of ice cream but also elaborate and fragile artistic entries needing especially delicate handling and no rally driving.
How it works:
When the producer drops off their entries we will provide them with a receipt showing the number of entries they drop off, the date & time, signed by the person leaving the samples and signed by ourselves. We also show the producer exactly where in our freezer/chiller/ambient stores their entries will be stored and discuss any special requirements.
We scan the paperwork and email it straight to yourselves at the Irish Food Awards so you know in real-time what is being received here in Carrickfergus. We place a control sample of ice cream in the freezer and transport that along with any frozen entries to Dingle. The control sample of ice cream can then be inspected during delivery in Dingle and is a clear indicator of transport conditions during the journey. Like I said, our ice cream doesn’t refreeze well so the quality of this sample verifies the journey conditions. Van’s are of course logging temperature too.”

Blas at Gifted, Christmas Fair

We are delighted to let you know that Blas na hEireann will be back at Gifted, (The National Crafts & Design Fair at the RDS)

We will have a dedicated space for Blas na hEireann finalists and winners. The show is the largest indoor retail event in the country with over 40,000 unique visitors. The show runs for 5 days from the 5th – 9th December. http://www.giftedfair.ie/

Blas na hEireann will be creating a dedicated, central space within the show and there are a limited number of spaces for past finalists and winners to book as follows;

Package
Stands will be located within a central Blas na hEireann Stand Gifted
Producers will have 1m wide counter per exhibitor (individual branding on counter)
Central storage area

Cost: €900 plus vat per stand

How to book:
Please contact Fallon in the Blas office to register your interest by email to info@irishfoodawards.com or indeed for any questions that you have and we will be happy to help.

Once registered the Blas team will connect you directly with the office at Gifted to arrange payment.

 

Eligibility:
-All Blas winners and finalists who have not exhibited at the Fair in the past 3 years (ie 2015, 2016 & 2017)
-Alcoholic products can only be sampled but not sold at the Fair.
-Producers are not permitted to sell hot food or drinks, or any single servings of food to be consumed on the premises.