Call for entries by resuming Scotland Food & Drink Excellence Awards
The 21st iteration of the event will take place during Scottish Food & Drink Fortnight and be held at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre, supported by headline sponsor Asda and The Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland (RHASS).
It aims to celebrate what it notes is one of Scotland’s largest industries, spanning artisanal bakers to craft distillers, and fish processors to dairy producers – honouring the companies, teams, people and employers who are “raising the bar and helping to build Scotland’s reputation as a land of food and drink”.
New categories have been introduced this year to reflect the changing priorities of the industry, including Free From in the product categories, and Sustainability and Employer of the Year in the business categories.
Headline sponsor Asda will judge the tasted product categories alongside buyers and representatives from other retailers, food service, food writers and restauranteurs. The last Scotland Food & Drink Excellence Awards ceremony, held in 2019, was attended by more than 800 people, with 320 entries having been submitted across the 19 product and business categories.
John Davidson, deputy chief executive and strategy director at Scotland Food & Drink, said: “It’s fantastic to be able to get back together to celebrate the very best our industry has to offer. Every year, the quality and range of products our food and drink businesses are creating are increasing.
“The people and businesses that dedicate themselves to making our industry so successful have faced incredibly tough times since we last gathered for the Excellence Awards. The grit, resolve, commitment and entrepreneurial spirit they have all shown to weather the storm should rightly be celebrated.
“I can’t wait to see what fantastic and innovative products are on show this year, and of course, to welcome friends from across the Scottish food and drink industry to a well-deserved celebration of success.”
Ashley Connolly, local buying manager Scotland at Asda, said the supermarket brand is “really excited” to be involved in the judging again this year, adding: “Supporting Scottish producers is incredibly important to us, and we’re looking forward to trying some great new Scottish products at this year’s judging.
"If it’s anything like previous years, we’ll no doubt be blown away by the quality and ingenuity of the Scottish products on show.”
A previous winner is Lanarkshire-based Lazy Day Foods, which in 2019 took home the Business of the Year and Entrepreneurs of the Year gongs.
Co-founder Dr Sally Beattie said: “The Excellence Awards have helped us to achieve 25 per cent growth during the last two years, which has allowed us to continue to innovate and work towards our goal of becoming the leading free-from supplier in the sector.”
Fellow co-founder Emer Bustard added: “Not only were [the award wins] a huge morale boost for the whole Lazy Day team, but they have also helped to create and strengthen business partnership relationships with both customers and retailers across the UK.”
The deadline for entries is 5pm on Friday April 8, and the ceremony takes place on September 8.
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