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Food & Drink Industry Awards 2017

Branding Award

Diageo demonstrated that they have differentiated themselves from competitors by using creative marketing communications, consumer insight and understanding to develop their transformed brand strategy ensuring long term success.


Since a successful launch in 1974, Bailey’s Original Irish Cream experienced rapid growth to become the world’s best-selling cream liquer. Global sales peaked in 2008 driven by geographical expansion and innovation but when global recession hit in 2009 there was an immediate, dramatic decline in sales and by the end of 2015 the brand faced a 6-year rolling decline with revenue at a ten-year low. The brand had become constrained by the niche liqueur category which was stagnant, often relegated to the back of the aisle where it was out of sight and pigeon holed into seasonal selling peaks like Christmas. The problem was compounded by the emergence of new competitors in the liqueurs category outspending Baileys in key markets. Addressing this challenge, the marketing team acting on behavioural research, started out by reframing the category in order to reposition Baileys in the dynamic and growing ‘premium treat’ category. This presented a double market opportunity by presenting Baileys as a ‘Real Adult Treat’ suitable for both the wine/spirit category and the premium dessert category. The marketing campaign which expressed Baileys as ‘your co-conspirator in the pursuit of pleasure’ was underpinned by the end-line ‘Don’t Mind If I Bailey’s”. The activation included advertising; digital communications featuring recipes and inspiration; social campaigns recruiting global influencers in local markets; below the line activity through in-store triggers; and a presence at cultural events in key markets. All of this activity was underpinned by a treating-inspired innovation pipeline of new products. The campaign was hugely successful seeing global revenue turned around in 2016 from a five-year rolling decline to +5% volume growth uplift and +3% sales value growth. Key brand health measures also improved because of the campaign. Baileys has also reasserted itself as a star within the Diageo global drinks portfolio where 2016 final quarter sales performance was singled out as a key contributor to Diageo global performance.


Judges’ Comments - Branding:


“The textbook entry from Diageo showcased excellence in brand transformation and clearly outlined how to layout an impressive topline marketing strategy. The reframing of the Baileys strategy focused on creating millions of triggers to “think pleasure, drink Baileys”. This was founded on a deep insight into the psychology of everyday ‘treats’. Everything was brought to life by a hugely successful integrated campaign that was underpinned by the end line – ‘Don’t mind if I Baileys’.”


Consumer Insight Award: Butlets Chocolate


Butlers Chocolates demonstrated how research and the identification of consumer insight has led to an improved or new understanding of their consumer in a particular market, and led to commercial growth.


Established in 1932, Butlers Chocolates is Ireland’s leading family-owned producer of premium luxury chocolates and confectionery. The brand is exported all over the world and is now available in over 40 countries and 60 airports worldwide as well as online on their newly relaunched website www.butlerschocolates.com. Butlers Chocolates is an international premium brand to be considered alongside eminent international players; typical retailers include premium airport shops and department stores such as Selfridges. Through feedback from both trade and consumers, the brand identified that premium chocolate buyers were looking to dial up their purchases with increased demand for ultra-premium chocolate assortments presented in deluxe packaging. A gap analysis carried out by the brand showed an opportunity to develop new products at this super-premium level and so Butlers began developing the “Platinum Collection”, a magnificent box of chocolates with a new deluxe packaging concept. The brand decided to approach this new product development in a very detailed manner and so embarked on primary research in London and Dubai, key locations for the brand’s new target markets. This research involved a series of focus groups, some of which took place around Ramadan in Dubai which provided further insights into the needs and considerations of Muslim shoppers. The overarching insight that emerged was that of ‘ritual’ relating to the customer journey from receiving the box through to opening it and enjoying the first bite. This concept of ‘ritual’ informed every detail in the packaging design to enhance the experience of the consumer. The finished product is presented in a rigid rose gold box encased in a clutch bag style sleeve in platinum and metallic tones with a high-quality finish inside. The Platinum Collection was launched in November 2016 and has proven to be very successful since. It is performing well in over 15 countries in high profile locations such as Dubai and Changi airports and a new size variant will be launched in time for Christmas 2017. By using a process driven by consumer insight to inform the packaging for the Platinum Collection, the company is happy that its objectives for this range have been achieved.


Judges’ Comments - Consumer Insight:

“The entry highlighted excellence in consumer centered marketing and gave a very detailed account on an in-depth study Butlers Chocolates conducted on the ritual of opening a box of chocolates. The study was conducted with high end consumers in London and Dubai, and the outcome was the development of a super-premium range, Butlers Platinum Collection which has seen magnificent impact, both in brand and export sales terms.”


Digital Marketing Award: The Happy Pear


The Happy Pear have shown how the imaginative use of digital platforms, either on their own or in conjunction with traditional media, strengthened their brand performance and enhanced the profitability of their company.


David and Stephen Flynn started The Happy Pear in 2004 and the business now employs around 170 people and comprises three wholefood cafes/shops, a sprout farm, a food manufacturing and distribution business, a coffee roastery and a fermentation kitchen. The Happy Pear’s marketing strategy has been built on the concept of storytelling and the creation of a movement, rooted in family and community using healthy food to bring people together. The business is ‘always on’ when it comes to social media operating across five social media platforms, the most successful of which is YouTube, which recently saw David and Stephen receive The Silver Play Button for surpassing 100,000 subscribers. Others include Snapchat which features an entertaining daily Vlog and high engagement levels as a results of Snaps always being open with shout-outs from David and Stephen similar to radio shows; Instagram featuring regular posts such as a daily sunrise and recipes offering a colourful page espousing happiness; Facebook featuring up to four posts a day, Facebook Live cook-along videos, regular competitions and a commitment that every comment receives a response; and finally, regular posting and engagement on Twitter where hashtags often influence the overall daily social media activity. Other digital activity includes the internal (Pears’ Digest) and external (The Happy Pear Digest) newsletters and The Happy Pear Blog which won the Best Organic Blog at the Irish Beauty Awards 2017 and was a finalist for the 2017 V by Very Blog Awards Ireland, for the 'Best Health and Wellness' blog. The company continues to grow its loyal following on social media which has grown by a third from almost 600,000 followers to over 800,000. The Happy Pear has embraced digital channels as a way to directly connect with consumers allowing them to grow a loyal following which has resulted in successes including the recent launch of 15 new products; experiencing an average revenue growth for its wholesale business of over 113% year to date; recently opening a new 14,000 square foot production facility in Kilcoole and securing €1.5million in funding to expand its café and food store footprint in Ireland.


Judges’ Comments - Digital Marketing:

“The Happy Pear is a resounding success story which was largely created online. Their digital campaigns are consistent and authentic across a variety of channels and they have created a powerful ‘movement’ which is driving the brand. Everything they have done is backed up by a clear consumer understanding and a well thought out brand strategy.”


Entrepreneurial Award - Gallaghers Bakery


This award recognises the Gallaghers Bakery Team who have shown true entrepreneurial flair. Their entry illustrated commitment, leadership and self-belief which radically improved and turned around the performance of an existing business in Donegal.

Gallaghers Bakery was founded in 1968 in Ardara in Co. Donegal. In recent years, the company has created a range of superior gluten-free bakery products based on extensive research and new product development. Consumer insight has been key to identifying and capitalising on this category which has grown hugely in recent times. The company invests a significant portion of time and budget on an ongoing basis to ensure that they fully understand the needs of two target consumer groups which they refer to as ‘The Trapped’ – those who have a medical reason to eat gluten-free and ‘The Choosers’ – those who eat gluten-free as a lifestyle choice. These insights shaped the product development from the outset in order to enhance the taste, texture and nutritional profile of the range. Following a large investment involving two years of continuous trial and error and the development of a unique manufacturing process known only to four employees, Gallaghers Bakery developed an impressive range of gluten-free consumer and food-service products. They found that no other brand was addressing the consumer need as they had done, yet were charging high prices, which made the market very attractive in relation to margins. They also set about aggressively targeting the largest retailers in the world who could not only provide scale and manufacturing efficiencies, but also could import directly. Capturing the gluten-free market has been a huge success for the business which has grown from employing 65 people in 2011 to 305 direct employees in 2017, which is expected to grow by a further 40 in by early 2018. Gallaghers Bakery is the biggest employer in West Donegal and is in the process of completing a new production facility in Ardara. 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.


Judges’ Comments - Entrepreneurial:

“Big vision, great ethos and killer consumer insight. The success of Gallaghers Bakery is no doubt driven by their entrepreneurial spirit, their ability to think big and smartly leverage retailer’s consumer insights and data. It is an incredible story of drive, ambition and the teams tenacity to succeed.”


Export Awards

These awards recognises the outstanding achievement of Irish food and drink companies who continue to grow their business based on strategic planning, consumer insight and effective use of resources in overseas markets. This year there were two companies recognised, Silver Hill Farm in the Smaller Business category and Kerry Foods in the Bigger Business category.


Smaller Business- Silverhill Farm


Silver Hill Farm is a premium producer of duck and duck products, currently supplying 24 countries all over the world. Silver Hill Foods has been the preferred supplier of duck to Chinese markets across Europe and Asia for the past 30 years, most notably London's Chinatown which is famous for its roast duck and is a huge attraction for visiting Asian tourists. Over the last two years, the company targeted strategic growth in its highest margin export business, the retail and Chinese markets to great effect. The company understands that local knowledge and an understanding of the cultural nuances are key to success and in each new market conducts extensive market surveys which allows for the targeting of retailers with a range of products and packaging suitable for their market e.g. in Asian culture, the colour red and the number 8 are considered lucky and so the Silver Hill Farm packaging is usually red in colour for this market, and the export number of 801 EC is displayed prominently. The company also works closely with local partners to distribute the product in each region, employs a dedicated marketing manager in Ireland to communicate with Asian customers and has developed a multilingual Asian website. As part of the strategy, the Silver Hill Foods CEO visit the Asian markets twice a year to demonstrate a commitment to the market. The strategy has resulted in the company shipping approximately 1 container per week to Singapore alone; supplying over 40 high end hotels and restaurants in the region and establishing a base out of Singapore for the Far East markets. Silver Hill Foods export strategy aims for 70% of the total sales to ensure the company is not over exposed in any particular market. The company has increased its export sales by over €4m over the past two years and plans to enter a number of new markets in 2018 resulting in a total turnover of approximately €31m. The company also has ambitious targets to access Mainland China and with sales to Hong Kong and Macau being well received, they are confident that this can be achieved.


Judges’ Comments - Export, Smaller Business

Silver Hill detailed a well thought out strategy, how it was developed and subsequently executed. Their entry included amazingly detailed understanding of their various markets, consumers and categories – while also showcasing great potential for the future with strong, consistent growth in the export arms of the business.


Bigger Business- Kerry Foods


Kerry Foods is one of the leading suppliers of added-value branded and customer branded chilled food products. Included in the Kerry Foods portfolio of consumer branded products are over 20 high profile brands, many of which are category leaders in the chilled cabinet. Cheestrings was initially launched in Ireland and Great Britain in 1996 and today the brand is available to more than 350 million consumers across ten European markets. At the heart of the marketing strategy for Cheesstrings are what the company calls ‘actionable consumer insights’ which have helped to deliver the international success story. Kerry Foods currently invests over €5 million annually to grow its export business and Cheestrings is the first brand in Kerry Foods’ portfolio that has been successfully launched into several European markets, most recently Spain, Portugal and Italy (2016). Building export sales has been part of the Cheestrings story from the beginning, starting with a dual market launch in Ireland and Great Britain in 1996 which enabled a speed growth into 2,500T business within 5 years. Once the brand was well established in these markets, further export opportunities were considered and the first European launch took place in 2004 in France. The learnings from the French launch built the foundations for a three-step market analytics process which was then successfully employed to evaluate and select seven further markets for launch: Germany, Holland, Belgium, Austria and more recently Spain, Portugal and Italy. The three-step process includes a thorough study of any new market, supported by the local Bord Bia office and/or a Bord Bia Marketing Fellowship assignment to define the “readiness” of market for launch; dedicated resources on qualitative and quantitative research to understand the local consumer needs, including any cultural differences; and investigation to find a distribution partner that will give quick market access while helping the brand to overcome any of the market barriers identified. The success of this strategy is widely recognised as Cheestrings now has a brand value of more than €100m per annum.


Judges’ Comments - Export, Bigger Business

“A great Irish success story abroad and one which has followed a clear strategy to grow Cheestrings exports in an ever-expanding market base. The entry demonstrated excellence in distribution and promotional strategies. Future-plans also showcased strong ambition and were clearly insight driven - a superb example of best in class export marketing.”


Innovation- Pip and Pear


Pip & Pear have demonstrated that they are thinking ahead and proactively tracking the changing consumer landscape to develop original products and deliver solutions to meet their ever-evolving consumer needs.

Pip & Pear

Pip and Pear founded by mother of two and restaurateur, Irene Queally produces a range of chilled baby foods which are designed to be just like homemade - nutritious, tasty and filled with vibrant flavours and textures. The range won gold, silver and bronze at the 2015 Blas na hEireann National Irish Food Awards which led to strong interest from supermarket buyers. Pip & Pear can now be found in select SuperValu and Dunnes stores, Aldi stores nationwide and on trial with Lidl in the Republic and Northern Ireland. Creating a new category within the baby food sector was a big challenge and so the company has relied heavily on research to understand the demographics, market trends and analyse competitors in order to identify the consumer’s underlying needs and attitudes towards baby food. This showed that, due to busy lifestyles, parents tended to rely on long shelf life ambient jars and pouches as there was no short shelf life alternative which were of similar quality and taste to their own home cooked meals. The initial product range launched by the company catered for babies from 5 - 10 months but, having listened to parents and recognising a demand for a natural range of meals beyond 10 months and into the toddler years, Pip & Pear further innovated to develop a Toddler Range. This was an innovative step and one which greatly increased the length of time a consumer would purchase and enjoy Pip & Pear. This in turn has led to a greater loyalty to the brand, likely to follow through for second and third children. The company’s marketing strategy has been largely focused on building relationships with mothers, the main target market for the brand. They have done this through initiatives such as the Pip & Pear Little Ambassador Club of Mums; online communications including newsletters, social media, blogs and recipes; the sponsorship of the Alison Curtis Weekend Breakfast Show on Today FM which is targeted at young families; and in-store tastings; and parent targeted events such as the Parenting and Baby Fair and Bloom.


Judges Comments - Innovation

“Pip & Pear is an excellent example of a new product based on a core insight that parents want to feed their baby the best. The team have managed to create a new category within the baby food sector for chilled fresh baby food; and have demonstrated a very impressive and well thought out marketing strategy. Their focus on the consumer is very apparent, delivering a solution which meets the evolving needs of parents and their little ones.”


Sustainability Award - Dawn Meats


The 2017 Sustainability category was awarded to Dawn Meats in recognition of a company that have planned and executed significant sustainability commitments in relation to sourcing, resource efficiency, health & nutrition and contributions to their local community.

Dawn Meats

Dawn Meats, established in Co Waterford in 1980, is a second-generation family owned Irish company with operations in nine European countries marketing quality beef and lamb products to a global customer base in over 40 countries. Dawn Meats sells approximately 90% of its products in overseas markets and employs more than 3,400 people at 24 locations in Ireland, the UK, Continental Europe and Asia. Dawn Meats has been a verified member of Origin Green since 2012 and its updated sustainability strategy was developed with stakeholder engagement during 2015/2016. This strategy is built across five key pillars including Sustainable Sourcing; Animal Welfare; Resource Management; People and Community; and Innovation and Nutrition. Dawn Meats launched its first formal CSR report “Together” in 2017 which outlined the company’s significant achievements and leadership in this area. Dawn Meats believes that its sustainability programme, and association with Origin Green, offers a distinct commercial advantage in engagement with customers, stakeholders and thought leaders across the world. To date Dawn Meats has achieved a 57% reduction in CO2 intensity, 45% reduction in water intensity, and a 41% reduction in energy intensity. Through the installation of heat exchange pumps, air source heat pumps, operational efficiencies, solar powered street lighting, an integrated constructed wetland and 100% renewable energy, one Dawn Meats site is now operating with a 95% reduction in CO2 equating to a saving of approximately 4,200 tonnes of CO2 annually. In November 2015 through new waste management contracts, the company set a target of zero waste to landfill by 2020, which was achieved at the end of 2016. In 2015 Dawn Meats established a specific department called “Innovation@Dawn” to accelerate progress in process technology and improve carcase utilization which has led to a number of innovations driving sustainability. Dawn Meats is now part of a consortium headed by Waterford Institute of Technology looking to establish an innovation centre to increase the deployment of ICT technology in agriculture (Precision Agriculture Centre of Excellence). Dawn Meats is the only Irish food manufacturing business to achieve BITC’s Business Working Responsibly Mark for its flagship plant in Waterford.


Judges’ Comments - Sustainability

“Dawn Meats illustrated excellence, innovation and impact in corporate sustainability in their entry. There was a clear link with all stakeholders including farmers and customers – their progress in operations and their commitment to the future.”


Sustainability, Project Impact Award – Monaghan Mushrooms


An additional sustainability award was awarded to Monaghan Mushrooms who demonstrated outstanding impact from a specific project.


Monaghan Mushrooms

Monaghan Mushrooms is one of the world’s largest fresh mushroom companies, supplying a full range of top quality fresh mushrooms to leading national and international retailers. The Monaghan Mushrooms group currently employs almost 3,500 people across its facilities in Ireland, the UK, The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and Canada. Over 800 staff are employed in the Republic of Ireland, where they produce mainly for the export market. As a group, each week, they produce more than 14,000 tonnes of mushroom substrate and 1.6 million kg of mushrooms. Monaghan Mushrooms continuously strive to incorporate sustainability into all avenues of the business and many projects have been undertaken over the last 10 years. These include significant investment into state of the art odour abatement infrastructure and technology within the company’s mushroom substrate production facilities and adopting the most energy efficient heating, cooling, lighting and environmental control systems to maintain optimum growing conditions across all of their mushroom growing farms. Since becoming a verified Origin Green member, Monaghan Mushrooms have achieved a 12.5% reduction in the volume of plastic used in a typical mushroom punnet and are working with customers to introduce fully recyclable paper punnets as a packaging material; conducted feasibility research and trials to recycle used peat in the growing process in a bid to reduce the demand for new peat; achieved between 33-55% reduction in the volume of waste sent to landfill across all Irish sites; conducted biodiversity surveys and developed biodiversity action plans; invested in 6 new energy efficient lorries; signed up with FareShare and FoodCloud Hub to alleviate hunger by capturing surplus food and redistributing it; and developed a new Monaghan Mushrooms product, that is enriched with Vitamin D, often deficient in the European population and linked to rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults. Monaghan Mushrooms supply many of the well-known supermarket chains such as Tesco, Sainsbury’s, M&S, Asda, Morrisons, Aldi, Lidl, Waitrose and Supervalu. The company believes that sustainability plays a focal part in maintaining good business and the Origin Green programme aligns itself perfectly with customer and consumer sustainability expectations.


Judges’ Comments - Sustainability, Project Impact

“Monaghan Mushrooms successfully showcased that they’re clearly intent on staying at the technical and environmental forefront of the mushroom business. The results of their sustainability efforts have led them to develop a vitamin D enriched mushroom and add another health angle to their business – benefiting the customer and environment simultaneously.”