Now in its 13th year, Blas na hÉireann has announced that nominations for the 2020 awards will open on March 17th.
Also known as the Irish Food Awards, Blas na hÉireann is the largest blind-tasted food awards in Ireland. Judges come from a variety of food backgrounds, including chefs, academics, food writers and more. Packaging and identifying features are removed for blin-testing, which creates a level playing field for producers and products of all sizes.
The innovative blind-tasting system used by Blas na hÉireann was developed in collaboration with the food science departments at University College Cork and the University of Copenhagen. The testing system is now regarded as an industry gold standard worldwide, so receiving an accolade from the judges is the mark of a truly sensational product.
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What does Blas na hÉireann mean?
For producers, winning a Blas na hÉireann award can have a significant impact on their bottom line. 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. A survey of 100 past winners revealed that 81 per cent saw an increase in sales after displaying the Blas na hÉireann sticker, with 28 per cent noting that their sales jumped by over 20 per cent.
Speaking on theses statistics, founder of Blas na hÉireann and current chairperson Artie Clifford noted that it's important to have an independent awards system in place in Ireland.
"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," he said. "It’s also always a huge boost for an individual producer, an appreciation for all their hard work and allows them to savour their achievements which they don’t often have time to do."
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“We aim to assist Irish producers to tell their stories by marking them out as special, and worth exploring," Artie continued. "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 March 17th and April 8th are at the discounted early bird fee of €60 per entry. The full entry fee, applicable from April 9th until May 25th is €75 per entry.
If you're a producer that would like to take part in this year's Blas na hÉireann Awards, click here for more info and instructions on how to apply.