Northern Ireland firm scoops top processor award

Northern Irish-based processor Linden Foods was celebrating after taking home the title of Processing Business of the Year at the prestigious Meat & Poultry Processing Awards.

Linden took the title at a gala evening of celebration at the Hilton Manchester Deansgate hotel, beating off strong competition from fellow finalists Moy Park and the Underwood Meat Company.

Other winners on the night included: Copas Traditional Turkeys, which took the title of Small Processing Business of the Year; Dunbia, which took home an award for Supply Chain Initiative of the Year; and Cranswick, which was recognised for Export Initiative of the Year and also took the title for Environmental Initiative of the Year.

Speaking at the event, managing director for Copas Turkeys Sarah Copas said: “It was a big surprise to be honest. It is great to see our traditional sector recognised in such a competitive market. We do everything very traditionally, so to see that recognised by the awards is fantastic.

“It has been really good fun. It’s our first time at the awards, so we’ve seen a lot of new faces. We are a family business and I’m the second generation. We are really growing in new directions. We’ve got lots going on at the moment and it feels like we’ve got momentum and have a bit of a snowball effect starting.”

Nick Holmes, of Kezie Foods, was delighted to be announced Plant Manager of the Year, and said: “I’m really pleased. I’ve had an enjoyable evening and I’m very surprised by the award. It’s nice to be rewarded for our work. It will be good to put on the website, so the customers see all the hard work I’ve been putting in.

“It will feed back to the customers and fill them with confidence, so they see potential to work with us. I think it will be a good thing for the company all round. It has been a really nice, relaxed evening.”

Also celebrating success was Dunbia’s Neil Swann, who took the title of Young Processor of the Year. He said: “I’m very happy and pleased to have won the award. It has been a very good evening and it’s great to meet colleagues from your own company and to network with people from other companies.

“It feels good to win the award and get some acknowledgment. Hopefully it will be a springboard to continue my career in the meat industry. I’m doing what I’m doing and I’ll see where it takes me.”

Ed Bedington, editor of MTJ, which organises the awards, said: “We are delighted to announce our winners at these important awards, and it’s great to see how well they are received.

“Every one of our winners and finalists here tonight was well-deserved and should be very proud of their successes. These awards show there are some great things going on in our industry and it’s only right that we celebrate that.”

The awards are sponsored by Linkfresh, Eblex, Multivac, the Meat Training Council and Reiser. Entertainment on the night was sponsored by Integreater.

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