Irish food exports thriving through innovation

Irish food exports thriving innovation
Pictured is from left Declan Ennis, Barry Cullen & Greg Devlin from Silverhill Foods. Photo Chris Bellew /Fennell Photography.

Marketing and innovation means Irish food exports are thriving

Ireland’s world-beating food and drink exporters were honoured at Bord Bia’s industry awards in Dublin last week.

More than 300 Irish food and drink industry leaders gathered in Dublin last week for the Bord Bia Awards which honour Ireland’s most progressive and ambitious food and drink businesses.

Irish food exports thriving innovation
Pictured is from left Donna McKenna Leanne Wilson from Monaghan Mushrooms who won the a Sustainability Award the at Bord Bia’s Food & Drink Awards 2017. Photo Chris Bellew /Fennell Photography.

The awards, in nine distinct categories,were hosted by RTE television presenter Miriam O’- Callaghan:

• Branding Award Winner: Diageo for Baileys
Diageo received the ‘Branding’ award for repositioning Bailey’s from niche liqueur to the growing ‘premium treat’ category.

• Consumer Insight Award Winner: Butlers Chocolate
Butlers Chocolate was awarded the ‘Consumer Insight’ award for its super-premium range, Butlers Platinum Collection.

•Digital Marketing Award Winner: The Happy Pear
The Happy Pear won the ‘Digital Marketing Award’. 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. It 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 Cheestrings brand, now available to more than 350 million consumers across ten European markets. Cheestrings now has a brand value of more than €100m per annum.

• Innovation Award Winner: Pip & Pear
The ‘Innovation Award’ went to Pip & Pear for its marketing strategy for chilled fresh baby food.

• Sustainability Award Winner: Dawn Meats
Dawn Meats received the ‘Sustainability Award’. 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’ and for its a vitamin D enriched mushroom

Irish food exports thriving through innovation


Putting the steaks in buttermilk is a wonderful way to quickly tenderise them and make the flesh much more succulent. If you had the time you could leave it in the buttermilk overnight, but 15 minutes at room temperature really does make a difference.

Serves 4
4 x 150g sirloin steaks 300ml buttermilk 2 tsp salt 50g (2oz) butter, plus extra for greasing 100g (4oz) fresh white breadcrumbs 40g freshly grated Parmesan 4 large slices chargrilled sourdough bread, to serve snipped fresh chives, to garnish

1 small celeriac 4 tbsp roughly chopped fresh flatleaf parsley 2 tbsp snipped fresh chives 2 tbsp buttermilk 1 tbsp maple syrup 2 tsp Dijon mustard 1 tsp cider vinegar 120ml mayonnaise sea salt and freshly ground black pepper tomato & chilli relish, to serve

Trim each steak and then place them on a chopping board, put a piece of parchment paper on top of each one and quickly flatten out with a meat tenderiser or rolling pin to about 1.5cm thick.

Place the buttermilk and salt in a bowl and add the steaks. Set aside at room temperature for 15 minutes to allow the buttermilk to tenderise the steaks. Meanwhile, to make the celeriac slaw, peel the celeriac and then cut into julienne on a mandolin. Whisk the parsley, chives, buttermilk, maple syrup, mustard and vinegar into the mayonnaise and then fold in the celeriac.

Season to taste. Put the flour on a plate and put the beaten eggs in a shallow dish. Put the breadcrumbs and Parmesan in a shallow dish and season to taste, then mix well to combine. Remove the steaks from the buttermilk marinade, gently shaking off any excess. Toss lightly to coat in the flour and then dip in the beaten eggs. Finally coat in the breadcrumb mixture.

Heat some of the olive oil in a large frying pan and cook the beef schnitzels over a high heat to sear both sides and then reduce the heat to medium and continue cooking tor anything from 2-4 minutes depending on how well done you like your steak. Arrange the celeriac slaw on a piece of chargrilled sourdough on warmed plates.

Top with the crispy beef schnitzel. Serve at once with small dishes of tomato & chilli relish for dipping.

Irish food exports thriving through innovation

Hassett’s Bakery

A couple of years ago the makers of the famous selection tin of biscuits Afternoon Tea dropped its popular chocolate jelly star biscuit and there was an outcry (of sorts) so Hassett’s Bakery, first established in Donnybrook in 1984, saw a gap in the market and started to produce them. Since then it has produced over 100,000 jelly stars and currently exporting to the US and Canada has just recently received its first order for Berlin.

Irish food exports thriving through innovation

Natasha’s Raw & Living Food

In 2007 Natasha Czopor set up her own Raw and Living food company from her kitchen, making “healthy snack alternatives based on naturally grown wild or organically and sustainably raised fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and sprouted grains. Natasha’s Living Food is now an award winning business with five full and part-time staff in the factory in Dublin.

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