London's Guild of Fine Food has just held its annual Great Taste awards. 10,000 products from across the UK and Ireland were entered. Just a handful were awarded its highest honour - three gold stars. One of these companies was Nobó fresh lemon frozen goodness, a non-dairy ice-cream. The awards are seen as a benchmark for speciality food and drink. 

The founders of Nobó, Brian and Rachel Nolan, says that the company was founded about two years ago and makes dairy free ice cream from pure ingredients including avocado, honey and coconut milk. Its products does not contain any refined sugars or additives and is seen as a healthy - as well as a tasty - alternative to ice-cream. The pair say that their products started off in health shops and is now available in over 100 stores as well as some SuperValu outlets. They have found that customers really want to support Irish products and are also very keen to find out what exactly in the food they buy after the recent food scares. Winning this key award puts Nobó on the radars of the UK buyers and raises awareness of a good product, Brian Nolan said. The company is in the process of extending its range from three flavours to five, and is also looking to start exporting in the near future, Rachel Nolan adds.


MORNING BRIEFS - Ireland is probably the fastest growing economy in the euro zone, according to a new report from Davy Research. In its latest quarterly outlook, Davy revises upwards its forecast for economic growth here in 2014 to 3.5% from a previous prediction of 2.5%. Exports have bounced back and the domestic economy is performing more strongly than expected, Davy says. That being the case Davy estimates the Government will need an adjustment of €500m in October's budget to meet the budget deficit target in 2015. That is far lower than the €2 billion estimate factored into last year's Department of Finance projections. Davy chief economist Conall MacCoille said growth in the Irish economy and especially improvements in the labour market had been more pronounced than in any other euro zone country.

*** The number of professional vacancies in Ireland was 21% higher in July than in the same month last year. The monthly employment monitor, published by recruitment firm Morgan McKinley, shows 9,700 professional vacancies covering sectors such as accounting, finance, law and technology. That is up from 7,700 in July 2013. Job seekers in some areas are now seeing the pay and benefits on offer improving as employers have to compete for the available talent. Morgan McKinley says it is seeing a shortage of available people in some areas including regulatory affairs and compliance in the financial services industry.