The Judging Process

The Irish Quality Food and Drink Awards are renowned throughout the industry for their rigorous and stringent judging process.

For 2020, we will be adapting our judging process and criteria to recognise outstanding products based on their own individual merits. Where previously products have been critiqued alongside similar goods submitted by competitors and winners decided at a category level, this year our judging will focus on evaluating each item individually and awarding merit as a stand-alone product. This year more than ever, we want to continue to bring the food and drink community together championing the great products and acknowledging those fantastic producers and retailers who have continued to provide for the people of Ireland.

Using a combination of scoring and discussion, our panel of judging experts will award stand-out products using the well-established IQFA criteria outlined below.

Stage One 

Products are presented to the judging panel individually and judges debate and discuss the merits of each product using the following 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?

Step Two 

After each product has been discussed and scored using a weighted system against the above criteria, judges have the option to award an accolade of Bronze, Silver or Gold to outstanding products.


Ste Three

Winners will be announced in November as part of a series of online presentations.

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 stages.

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 in November