Blas na hÉireann 2020 entries are now open

Judging at Dingle
Blas na hÉireann 2020 entries are now open

 the all-island food awards that recognise
the very best Irish food and drink products, and the passionate people making them

It’s the 13th 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 to producers across all categories of food and drink are now open with the early bird discounted rate for entries running until 8th April, before entries finally close on 25th May.

“In these unprecedented times, the emphasis on shopping local to support small, independent producers has never been so important,” says Artie Clifford, Chairperson and founder of Blas na hÉireann. “For some, their business has increased and for others, they are working hard to adapt to these challenging and testing times to bring their products to a new audience. I have no doubt that the Irish food family will pull together to get through this crisis and continue to fly the flag for the best the country has to offer. We understand this is a difficult situation for all and encourage producers to use this time to prepare for the awards in October.”

“We know first-hand that the Blas na hÉireann awards have a significant impact on any winner’s bottom line, whether it’s raising the profile of a producer’s product, or getting the attention of chefs, retailers or general food lovers. 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. The Blas na hÉireann awards event in Dingle each year has become an unmissable event allowing the general public, media and trade to meet, discover and appreciate some of the country’s best producers but, more importantly, it has become an opportunity for the Irish food community to come together and celebrate their successes – and this year, we hope it will be one hell of a celebration!”

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.

A 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, “Since being awarded at Blas, we have seen our sales increase 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.”

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 13th year of the Blas na hÉireann awards, our sector continues to become more innovative and exciting than ever,” says Artie Clifford, Chairperson and founder of Blas na hÉireann. “We aim 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 doing it all again for Blas na hÉireann 2020.”

Entries for Blas na hÉireann 2020 received online between 17th March and 8th of April are at the discounted early bird fee of €60 per entry (ex VAT). The full entry fee, applicable from 9th April to 25thMay is €75 per entry (ex VAT).

Blas na hEireann 2020 Categories
1.    Bacon products a) Rasher b) Other bacon products 
2.    Beef (Value added) a) Fillet b) Sirloin/Striploin c) Ribeye d) Burger Style e) Roast f) Bone in g) Other
3.    Cold Meats, Cured Meat, Charcuterie a) Beef b) Ham c) Poultry d)Other
4.    Lamb (Value added) a) Lamb Prepared b) Lamb
5.    Other Meats (Value Added)
6.    Pork (Value added)                                                     
7.    Poultry (Value added) a) Chicken b) Chicken (Prepared) c) Duck & Other Poultry d) Turkey
8.    Puddings a) Black pudding b) White pudding
9.    Sausages a) Breakfast sausages b) Flavoured sausages c) Other Meat sausages
10. Dairy a) Butter b) Butter (Flavoured) c) Cream d) Cream(Fermented) e) Milk f) Milk (Other) g) Yoghurt (Flavoured) h)Yoghurt (Plain) 
11. Ice Cream & Sorbets a) IceCream b) Sorbets c) Frozen Yoghurts                     
12. Cheese a) Blue b) Goats c) Hard d) Hard (Added Flavour) e) Soft & Semi Soft
13. Seafood Products a) Cold Smoked b) Hot Smoked c) Prepared Fish d) Prepared Shellfish
14. Terrines/ Pates   a) Meat b) Seafood c) Vegetarian
15.  Savoury Pies/ Quiche
16.  Soups & Chowders a) Soups (Meat) & Chowders b) Soups – Vegetable
17.  Ready Meals & Prepared Foods (Hot) a) Fish b) Meat c) Sausage Rolls d) Stuffing e) Dough Based f) Vegetarian g) Potato
18. Ready Meals & Prepared Foods (Cold) a) Fish b) Meat c) Vegetarian    
19. Baby Food & Childrens Foods 
20. Bread a) Craft Bakers Soda Bread b) Craft Bakers Yeast Bread c) Sourdough
21. d) Packaged White Bread e) Packaged Bread (Not White)  
22. Traditional Irish Barm (Yeast) Brack
23. Sweet Dough Goods (Including Teabrack & Sweet Buns)
24. Morning Baked Goods (Including Baps, Teacakes & Scones)
25. Continental Style Breads (Including Brioche, Ciabatta, Focaccia, Bagels)
26. Pastries & Tarts a) Pastries (Inc Danish, Croissant, Pain Au Chocolate) b) Tarts
27. Dietary Specific Foods a) Dietary Specific Bread b) Dietary Specific Gluten Free Products & Ingredients c) Dietary Specific Gluten Free Baked Goods d) Dietary Specific - Other (Certification to verify product claim required)
28. Ready Mix Cakes & Breads a) Breads & Other Savoury Ready Mix b) Cakes & Other Sweet Ready Mix
29. Puddings & Desserts          
30. Cakes a) Chocolate b) Other c) Chocolate Biscuit                                            
31. Christmas Cakes & Puddings a) Christmas Cakes, Pies, Crumbles, Other b) Christmas Puddings
32. Biscuits/ Snacks Sweet a) Biscuits b) Other sweet snacks c) Popcorn Sweet
33. Chocolate a) Bars b) Collections c) Individual Chocolates
34. Confectionery
35. Breakfast Cereal  a) Granola b) Muesli c) Porridge & Cereals       
36. Savoury Sauces, Condiments & Pantry a) Chutney b) Dressings c) Hummus d) Jellies e) Mustard f) Oils g) Oils Flavoured h) Pesto i) Pickle j) Relish k) Salt l) Salt Flavoured m) Savoury Sauces & Dips (Egg Based) n) Savoury Sauces (Tomato Based) o) Savoury Sauces (Other) p) Seasonings q) Vinegars
37. Sweet Sauces, Preserves & Pantry a) Conserve b) Honey c) Marmalade d) Preserve e) Sweet Spreads f) Sweet sauces & Dips  
38. Savoury Snacks a) Crisps b) Popcorn c) Other
39. Hot Beverages a) Coffee b) Tea c) Other Hot Drinks                                                  
40. Non alcoholic Drinks a) Carbonated b) Cordials c) Fruit based d) Vegetable based
41. Spirits & Liqueurs a) Dark Spirits & Liqueurs b) White Spirits & Liqueurs                       
42. Beers a) Ale b) Beer & Lager c) Stout                                                                
43. Ciders a) Medium/Dry b) Sweet c) Special (such as sparkling)
44. Chef's Larder (Includes subcategory for Eggs) This should be an ingredients, specialist product or recipe staple which a chef would find to be a valuable part of their larder. This can include, but is not exclusive to catering/food service products

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