SHANNON-based company ABC Nutrition was a winner at the Bord Bia Food & Drink Industry Awards recently.
The company came out on top in the Thinking Big category, which is for small businesses that have demonstrated exceptional entrepreneurial spirit, matched by strong sales and marketing.
Seán McNamara is a director of the company and he said he is thrilled with the success.
“We couldn’t believe it. The other winners included the likes of Glanbia and Kerry Group, huge companies, whereas we’re very small and virtually unknown.”
The company employs eight people and has been running for the last three years. It produces sports nutrition products, such as nutritional powders, vitamin capsules and spray vitamins, and is now exporting to 13 countries.
ABC Nutrition is still doing relatively well, despite the global recession, according to Seán.
“Myself and Willie Wixted, who was a friend of mine from school, had experience of similar American companies and we saw an opening here. It’s going well, although it’s a tough time for small businesses. There are huge costs and you have to compete with companies around Europe who are in a low-cost environment.”
The company has trebled its level of business since its first year of operation, according to Seán.
Chairman of An Bord Bia, Dan Browne said that the quality of entries for the awards had been very high.
“The creativity, innovation and entrepreneurial spirit shown by this year’s winners reflects the capacity and determination of the Irish food industry to address the hugely challenging environment that is today’s marketplace. It also demonstrates, as we emerge from this downturn, how the industry can position itself for growth and, notwithstanding current difficulties, play a key role in the country’s economic recovery.”
Chair of the judging panel, John Fanning also paid tribute to the winners.
“The seven winners today represent success stories in an industry that has faced unprecedented challenges in the last year. Through innovative product development and inventive branding and marketing, these companies have achieved success both at home and abroad. Some of the winners are small, family-owned industries, while others are large, global operations, but all display the determination and dynamism that is at the core of the Irish food and drink sector, which is one of the cornerstones of the economy,” he said.