Finnebrogue Wins Grocer Gold Award Twice

Finnebrogue is only food producer to win the NI Food Producer gold award twice

Finnebrogue based in Downpatrick has been named the inaugural ‘Employer of the Year (Supplier)’ at the 2024 Grocer Gold Awards, held at the iconic Royal Albert Hall in London.

This prestigious accolade, awarded in recognition of outstanding performance, innovation, and excellence, places Finnebrogue in esteemed company, having triumphed over competitors such as Arla, Glanbia, Heck, and Heul.

Hosted by Myleene Klass, the glittering ceremony celebrated 34 winners, with Sainsbury’s securing the ultimate Grocer of the Year award.

Finnebrogue’s win is particularly noteworthy as it is the only food producer from Northern Ireland to receive this honour, building on its previous Grocer Gold win in 2022 for Sustainability Initiative of the Year, in partnership with Waitrose.

Chris Overend, Finnebrogue HR Head, was delighted with the comnpany’s achievement and said: “This award underscores the transformative journey Finnebrogue has embarked upon over the last two years with our renewed People Strategy.

Chris Overend, Finnebrogue HR Head, with The Grocer trophy for Best NI Food Producer.

“It has become an industry benchmark, following accolades at the Irish News Workplace Awards for ‘Best Place to Work’, and ‘Best Wellbeing in the Workplace’ for two years in a row.”

Finnebrogue’s People Strategy is distinguished by its comprehensive career pathways and development opportunities, emphasising talent development and personal wellbeing.

Key highlights of Finnebrogue’s journey include:

Academic and Professional Development: Collaborations with Queen’s University Belfast and other professional bodies have enriched employee development, offering academic qualifications and professional certifications aligned with industry demands. The Executive Future Leadership Programme with Toward Ltd is nurturing Finnebrogue’s next generation of leaders.

Diversity in Leadership: The appointment of Bev Mitchell as Chief Commercial Officer marks a milestone in promoting diversity, being the first female executive member at Finnebrogue.

Returners Programme: Launched in mid-2023, this initiative supports individuals re-entering the workforce with phased returns and mentorship, ensuring a smooth transition.

Ability Programme: Currently in development, this initiative collaborates with charities to create employment opportunities for neurodiverse individuals and those with disabilities.

Employee Voice through the Finnebrogue Forum: Launched in late 2023, this forum empowers employees to influence business decisions through elected representatives.

Mental Health Support: Since early 2023, Finnebrogue has partnered with Insula Wellbeing to provide on-site mental health support, including confidential 1-2-1 counselling for employees on day and night shift.

Community Engagement: Finnebrogue’s commitment of support extends to local schools and community groups, while also fostering talent development and future workforce growth through learning and development initiatives.

Wellbeing Hub: The establishment of the Wellbeing and Development Hub has created a dynamic space for training, mentoring, and wellbeing activities, embodying Finnebrogue’s holistic approach to employee development.

These initiatives have culminated in Finnebrogue achieving Diversity Mark Accreditation in early 2024, making it the first UK food producer to receive such recognition.

Chris Overend added: “Winning Employer of the Year at the Grocer Gold Awards is a testament to our steadfast commitment to our people.

“Our focus on development, diversity, and wellbeing sets a standard for excellence in the industry.

“This award is not just a recognition of our past efforts, but a motivation to push further in creating innovative, supportive, and inclusive workplace practices that will drive our future success.”

For more information about Finnebrogue and its award-winning People Strategy, visit:


The Grocer Gold

The Grocer Gold Awards is the blue riband event of the grocery retail and wholesale sector. It is hosted and produced by The Grocer, the multi award-winning bible of the trade. It is owned by William Reed, a UK-based publishing, events and market research business with offices in the UK, US and Singapore.


Finnebrogue is a family-owned business and one of the UK’s most innovative food producers. Its story can be traced back to 1991, when the late Denis Lynn bought the Finnebrogue Estate in County Down – and over the next 33 years, along with his wife Christine, transformed the family farm into a £200m food business.

It’s the land where they first bred a herd of deer. Where they built a business with a handpicked team that has now grown into a community of over one thousand loyal people.

Finnebrogue made its name producing premium sausages for leading supermarkets, before launching its revolutionary Naked Bacon, made without nitrites in 2017.

It remains the only mass-produced bacon to be made without nitrites, the curing chemicals used in most other bacon and hams that have been linked to colorectal cancer by the World Health Organisation.

In 2020, Finnebrogue opened the doors to a state-of-the-art, purpose-built, plant-based facility, the most advanced of its kind in Europe.

From here, it produces numerous own-label meat-free products to leading supermarkets, including Tesco, Aldi and Marks & Spencer.

Finnebrogue’s mantra remains unchanged in 33 years: ‘we make food the best it can be without being bound by the way it has always been done.

With a strong focus on creating a positive and inclusive work environment, Finnebrogue continues to set benchmarks in the food industry.