Scotland’s thriving food and drink industry is to build on its success with what is expected to be one of the largest events of its kind to date.
The Scotland Food and Drink Excellence Awards is expecting a host of entries for this year’s event, with organisers hopeful that it can help grow the industry to a value of £16.5 billion by next year.
After Scotland’s Year of Food and Drink in 2015 helped contribute to a 7 per cent spike in visitor numbers to the country, with a £550 million rise in turnover in the sector over the same period, those behind the awards believe it will allow the country to build on its profile.
Today marks the launch of this year’s awards, which will be revealed at a ceremony in the Edinburgh International Conference Centre in June.
The event will see some of the nation’s best known food and drink businesses call for entries, including historic family firms such as Macsween and Ian Macleod Distillers, as well as export businesses such as the Scottish Salmon Company and younger firms like Aberdeen-based chocolatier, Cocoa Ooze.
Organised by industry body, Scotland Food & Drink, in partnership with The Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland (RHASS), this year’s awards is open to entries until 11 March.
Those leading the venture said it offered a chance to showcase the best food and drink Scotland has to offer.
James Withers, chief executive of Scottish Food & Drink, said: “These awards recognise the best products, business practice and individuals that make Scotland a land of food and drink.
“They highlight the strength of our industry, the wealth of talent and skill countrywide across all sectors as well as our world leading expertise and innovation in the production of premium food and drink.
“Our expert panel of judges provide constructive feedback which make the awards a useful exercise no matter how entrants perform.”
Stephen Hutt, chief executive of RHASS, added: “RHASS represents primary food producers and is proud to be a partner in these important awards.”