The National Brown Bread Baking Competition 2018 is open for entries

€10,000 prize on offer as 2018 National Brown Bread Baking Competition Launches

The National Brown Bread Baking Competition 2018 is open for entries

New for 2018 –  Aldi is encouraging non ICA members to enter through regional Aldi heats

Aldi will once again this year sponsor The National Brown Bread Baking Competition, in association with the National Ploughing Association (NPA) and the Irish Countrywomen’s Association (ICA). Relaunched four years ago by the NPA, the event has proven to be a huge success, with entries from each one of the 26 counties. TV presenter Síle Seoige and TV3 Chef Shane Smith were joined by NPA MD Anna May Mc Hugh, ICA President Marie O’Toole and reigning champion Mary Conway to announce details of this year’s competition.

NPA Managing Director Anna May McHugh said “We are delighted to be renewing our partnership with Aldi and the ICA given the popularity and success of the National Brown Bread Baking competition at Ploughing.  There has always been a long and great tradition of baking in Ireland and it is wonderful to see this alive and well at Ploughing.  The total attendance figures for the 2017 National Championships  came to a record breaking 291,500 and this year’s event looks set to be bigger and better than ever.”

Last year, Mary Conway’s bread rose to the challenge and the Sligo native emerged victorious. Speaking recently, Mary commented on her win, “I was thrilled to have won last year, I was up against some of the best. The competition was great fun and I met some wonderful people along the way. It is so exciting for me seeing my bread, ‘Mary’s Soda Bread’ on the shelves of Aldi stores nationwide. The very best of luck to everyone taking part this year.”


The National Brown Bread Baking competition is open to both members and non-members of the ICA, and baking enthusiasts have the opportunity to earn some serious ‘dough’, with a share of the profits from the sale of their winning loaf once it goes on sale in Aldi*. Second place will receive €1,000, €500 for third, €300 for fourth and the other semi-finalists will all get €200 each**.

A new addition to the competition for 2018:

This year, entering the competition will be easier than ever, and Aldi is encouraging any bakers over the age of 18 to take part to be in with a chance of seeing their bread on shelves nationwide. Keen bakers that can’t make it to any of the ICA heats will be able to bring their freshly baked bread to 3 Aldi locations nationwide for tasting by the panel of independent judges.

Keen bakers can now enter the Aldi heats by dropping their bread off at the following locations on the following dates:

  • Aldi Ireland Head Office, Newbridge Road, Naas, Co. Kildare on the (22 May 2018)
  • Aldi Regional Office, Limerick Road, Mitchelstown, Co. Cork on the (22 May 2018)
  • Aldi’s store in Oranmore, Co. Galway on the (29th May 2018)

People that are interested in entering through the above Aldi venues are asked to email to register.


Group Buying Director, Finbar McCarthy said, “At Aldi, we are a proud supporter of Irish suppliers so we are delighted to sponsor The National Brown Bread Baking Competition again, celebrating something as quintessentially Irish as brown bread. ‘Marys Soda Bread’ has proven a hit with our customers, and we hope the winner this year will achieve the same success with their brown bread. This year, we are making it easier than ever for people to enter with our regional drop off points, and so we hope to see keen bakers getting involved. At Aldi, we sell a range of great value baking essentials in our 130 stores nationwide so consumers can stock their pantries and make home baked goods all year round.”

ICA members can participate in the competition through local guilds, with heats taking place nationwide and regional finals taking place at An Grianán, ICA Adult Education Centre on July 31st. The three finalists selected from the Aldi bread drops, along with the five finalists selected through the ICA will compete at the National Finals. The National Semi Finals and Final will be held from 18th – 20th September at the Aldi Marquee during the 2018 National Ploughing Championships in Screggan, Tullamore, Co. Offaly.

Speaking at the launch, Marie O’Toole, President of the ICA said, Our members are once again delighted to be taking part in the National Brown Bread Baking Competition to find the best Brown Bread baker in Ireland.  There has been huge interest and the winner will be generously rewarded.”

If you think you have the recipe for success, log onto or for information on how to enter and further details about the county finals.

* The winner’s brown bread will also be stocked in all Aldi Stores in Ireland for a minimum of six months and they will receive a share of the profits, guaranteed to be at least €10,000.

**All winners (with the exception of first place) will receive their prizes in Aldi Vouchers.

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