Judging Process

The Irish Quality Food and Drink Awards are renowned throughout the industry for their rigorous and stringent judging process. Using a combination of ranking and discussion, our panel of judging experts will award stand-out products using the well-established IQFDA criteria outlined below. 

Step One 

One by one, products within a category are bought in to the judging room and reviewed by the panel. Judges first review the product individually, inputting their personal feedback based on their initial impressions using the key judging criteria. Following individual reflection, judges will discuss the entry as a collective and debate the merits of each product with reference to the below key criteria:


above all else, the product must taste great.


does the product deliver on the flavours it promises?


how is the mouthfeel of the product?


how does the product smell, is it inviting and represent the flavour it should?

Ingredients List:

the quality of the ingredients list will be studied – how clean is it? Does it deliver on it’s claims, e.g. health benefits, nutritional profile?


where has the product come from? Tell us about its journey.

Product Appearance:

How does the product look served?


Is the pack eye-catching and does the imagery match the served product? Have you used the least amount of packaging possible with the most sustainable option?

Price Point/Value for Money: 

Does the product represent good value for money? The product can be expensive, but as long as the value for money is there it is worth the prize e.g. high-quality ingredients, organic, fair trade etc. 

Innovation/Aims in the Marketplace: 

What is new and exciting about your product? Or, is it a tried and tested product that serves a purpose in the marketplace?

The above process will take place for each entry within a category.

Step Two 

Once all entries within a category have been reviewed, the panel will begin discussions on awarding products. The chair of judges will lead the panel through a discussion on each product individually until a general consensus on awards is reached. Products can receive one of four potential accolades of finalist, bronze, silver or gold for outstanding products. There is no limit to the number of accolades that can be given in each category. Judges’ are also given the opportunity to put forward any gold standard products for a further Product of the Year award.


Step Three

The Product of the Year is awarded once all general judging has been completed. Here, the panel of experts reconvene to discuss which of the products they have seen this year stands out as their overall champion. This award symbolises the product which the panel agree is truly outstanding and worthy of the ultimate accolade.

Judges Feedback  

Naturally, the ambition of everyone who enters is to win, but we are aware that suppliers whose entries do not make the shortlist are interested in where they fell short of progressing to the final steps. Every entry will receive a feedback report from the judging sessions, with notes from judges on how the product meets and satisfies the criteria, which may also help you with your future product development.

Please note: All judges’ feedback will be available following this years' live event.