UCC's Continuing Collaboration with Blas na hEireann

4 Jul 2019
Irish Examiner article published 21 June 2019

University College Cork is celebrating its 12th anniversary working alongside Blas na hÉireann, Ireland’s largest blind-tasting food awards, designed to recognise and celebrate the very best Irish food and drink.

UCC’s status as Ireland’s Food University is well known due to its world class credentials in the areas of food education and research, but UCC also has a long and successful history in driving food innovation and excellence by partnering with the Irish food industry.

Supporting Great Irish Food and Drink Producers

Blas na hÉireann was founded so that quality benchmarks could be established for Irish produce.

The criteria on which each product is judged, in addition to the judging system itself, was developed by the School of Food and Nutritional Sciences UCC, in conjunction with Blas na hÉireann. Developed and led by Professor Joe Kerry, the judging process is now recognised as an international industry standard.

“We are very proud that the scientific support developed and provided by UCC over the last twelve years has helped to shape the Blas na hÉireann awards into a global brand.

Winning at Blas makes a significant business difference to award winners. The Blas accreditation has very high recognition amongst Irish consumers and using the award logo on packs encourages shoppers to buy these quality products.

Products 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 both large and small producers. Winning an award can have a very positive impact on a producer’s sales, both in Ireland and internationally, and can also have a significant impact on the creation of additional jobs in the Irish food and drinks industry”. Professor Joe Kerry, UCC.

2019 - Another Busy Summer in UCC

UCC is now looking forward to another summer of food excellence as its Food Packaging Group manage, coordinate and implement the scientific element of the awards onsite in the University. This includes the logistics of food intake and logging, food handling, sampling, preparation and conducting sensory evaluations using the sheets and scoring system developed in UCC.

Commencing on 4th July, the very best Irish food and drink – meat, dairy, confectionary, condiments, drinks, seafood and ready meals – will all pass through a stringent judging process.

In 2018, over 2,500 products were entered across over 100 food and drink categories as producers hoped to win Gold, Silver and Bronze Awards as well as key awards such as Supreme Champion and Best Artisan Producer.

2019 will be just as busy and UCC is looking forward to sampling the best food and drink that Irish producers have to offer.

School of Food and Nutritional Sciences

School of Food and Nutritional Sciences, Room 240 Food Science Building, University College, Cork