The Irish grocery industry must continue to innovate if it is to survive in an increasingly competitive environment.
This was the message from Michael Duffy, chief executive officer of Bord Bia speaking to The Grocer at the inaugural Food and Drink Industry Awards in Dublin.
European discount retailers were an issue, he said. But the real challenge was for suppliers "because 46% of our exports go to Britain and we've seen an increase in continental suppliers in Britain". However, the industry was ready to meet the challenge, he said, having branched out from meat and dairy into speciality foods where turnover had increased from E150m to E400m in the last few years.
Praising the winners, he said: "The awards are a platform for this industry's achievements."
Winners were: Pre-packed sandwich company Freshways ­ Young Food & Drink entrepreneur; chilled ready meals and pastry company, The Butler's Pantry ­ Small Business; Glanbia Ingredients ­ Food Safety/Environmental Best Practice; Kerry Charleville's Attack a Snack ­ Innovation; cooked bacon producer Dew Valley ­ Trailblazer; and The Irish Chocolate Company ­ Brand Marketing.

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