Sloan’s Bacon of Kilrea, a participant of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council’s Alchemy business support programme have been awarded with a much coveted blind-taste food award from ‘Great Taste’.
‘Great Taste’, having just released the Great Taste stars of 2015, has included two products of Sloan’s Bacon amongst those they selected to carry the gold and black ‘Great Taste’ logo. Sloan’s Bacon secured a gold ‘1 Star’ for its dry cured back bacon and a highly coveted gold ‘2 Star’ for its smoked dry cured back bacon.
Judged by over four hundred food critics, chefs, cooks, restaurateurs, producers and a host of food writers and journalists, ‘Great Taste’ is widely acknowledged as the most respected food accreditation scheme for artisan and speciality food producers. The Great Taste logo is awarded to what those judging value as a wonderful tasting product from over 10,000 entries.
In March 2014 Sloan’s Bacon registered for Coleraine Borough Council’s, (the legacy Council of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council) Alchemy Mentoring for Business Growth programme, which is part funded by Invest Northern Ireland and the European Regional Development Fund under the Sustainable Competitiveness Programme for Northern Ireland.
Tracy Hegarty, Alchemy Manager at Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council commented; ‘I’d like to congratulate Sloan’s Bacon on this achievement. The business is a fantastic example to other businesses throughout the Borough in what can be achieved with good quality produce and service.
‘Sloan’s Bacon signed up to Council’s Alchemy business support programme in 2014 and were given five days mentoring support to assist with their branding and selling with the aim to create a unique image for the business and help develop their products. Jilly Dougan of Infinite People Solutions was chosen to work with Sloan’s because of her experience in the food industry.
‘Sloan’s used this support to get a producer profile listing with Invest Northern Ireland. Following dedicated work on delivering new marketing messages to consumers, the business achieved an increase in sales. Within a relatively short period, the business secured a major contract with a well-known distributor to supply its bacon to food service customers and is now working towards supplying retail outlets with its produce.’
Joe Sloan is understandably delighted with the awards and said: ‘We are thrilled that the quality of our products has been recognised. Winning a Great Taste Award acknowledges the hard work and dedication that goes into making our bacon.
‘The loyalty of our existing customers is important and will allow us to continue to develop, and I now hope that the recognition of the awards will enable us to attract new customers from far and near. We have really benefitted from the advice and support provided through Council’s Alchemy business support programme over the last two years and I would like to thank Council for that help. In fact it was our mentor, Jilly who encouraged us to apply for the awards. Her advice and support were tremendously helpful.’
There were 10,000 entries for the 2015 Great Taste Awards, of those entries, 130 have been awarded a 3-star, 597 received a 2-star and 2,382 were awarded a 1-star accolade. The panel of judges included Masterchef judge and restaurant critic Charles Campion, TV presenter and cook Aggie Mackenzie, Great British Bake Off winner Frances Quinn, Masterchef the Professionals finalist Adam Handling, food buyers from Harrods, Selfridges, Waitrose and Marks & Spencer, and chefs including James Golding, Chef Director of The Pig hotel group, who have together tasted and re-judged the 3-star winners to finally agree on the 2015 Top 50 Foods, the Golden Fork Trophy winners and the new 2015 Supreme Champion.
On Monday 7th September, at an Awards’ Dinner at the Royal Garden Hotel in London, the winner of the Golden Fork Awards and the Great Taste Supreme Champion 2015 will be announced.
For further information on the Alchemy business support programme telephone Tracy Hegarty on 028 7034 7039 or visit www.causewaycoastandglens.gov.