Nineteen Scottish food and drink businesses and individuals have been selected from a record breaking 239 entries and a shortlist of 50 businesses to take the titles at the Scotland Food & Drink Excellence Awards 2015.
The finalists represented a broad spectrum of Scotland’s food and drink: from small companies like Isle of Skye Sea Salt Company and Charlotte Flower Chocolates through to industry giants including foodservice company Entier Ltd and AG Barr Plc. Produce traditionally associated with Scotland like whisky, fish and dairy was recognised alongside new, innovative products like charcuterie and chocolate flavoured with foraged meadowsweet.
Siblings Jo and James Macsween of Macsween Haggis were jointly awarded a surprise Outstanding Contribution to Food & Drink accolade on the night. The award was presented in recognition of the company’s growth which is primarily driven by their vision and dedication to creating new consumers through innovative product development and social media marketing.
With 19 entered categories celebrating excellence across the Scottish food and drink industry, the Scotland Food & Drink Excellence Awards is considered by many to be the ‘Oscars’ of the sector. The awards include nine retail and foodservice product categories judged mainly by taste plus a wide range of business awards, which include Environmental Sustainability, Scottish Sourcing and Investing in People, in addition to a new award introduced during the Year of Food and Drink recognising Young Talent in the industry.
A record breaking 239 entries were received for the awards, up 56% from 153 entries in 2014. In the course of their assessment of the award applications, the retail and foodservice judging panel tasted over 260 products during a two day tasting session, examining submissions from 116 businesses across Scotland.
The winners were announced by broadcaster Kaye Adams at a ceremony at Edinburgh’s National Museum of Scotland on 27 May. Dubbed the Scottish food and drink ‘Oscars’, the ceremony sold out in record time and was bigger than ever before with more than 800 guests attending on the night. Attendees were treated to a drinks reception and delicious dinner, showcasing the very best of Scotland’s larder.
The awards are organised by Scotland Food & Drink in partnership with The Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland (RHASS). The title sponsor is Asda and the awards are supported by Think Local.
Chief Executive of Scotland Food & Drink, James Withers, said:
“This year’s Awards have been a huge success with a record number of entries and our biggest ever award dinner with over 800 people there to celebrate the sector. The skill, passion and innovation that mark our industry is represented in the diversity of the finalists and winners. Food and drink is now a national success story for Scotland and the Awards let us shine a light on just some of the people and world-class products that are behind that success. Crucially, it gives us the complete confidence that our industry will continue to grow in markets at home and overseas in the years to come.”
Stephen Hutt, Chief Executive of RHASS, said:
“Tonight’s winners represent the finest of Scotland’s food and drink. Produced with passion, skill and the finest raw ingredients farmed in Scotland’s fertile ground, we are proud to represent primary food producers who, in partnership with tonight’s winners, support Scotland’s growing reputation as one of the best places to eat in the world.”
Entries for 2016’s Scotland Food & Drink Excellence Awards will open in January.