Recognised by both trade and consumers as an accolade of the highest quality, the shortlist is set to whet the appetite for the winners’ announcement in June.
Recognition is given across 19 entered award categories which highlight the broad spectrum of excellence, innovation and best practice across the Scottish food and drink industry. Categories include Scottish Sourcing, Environmental Sustainability, Young Talent and Scottish Food & Drink Entrepreneur.
Nine product-focused categories are judged by a thorough process, which includes the scrutiny of packaging, quality of product and taste. In the course of their assessment of the entries, the judges sampled 165 Scottish products ranging from fruit vinegar, charcuterie and fruit juice to picallilli and chocolate.
A record breaking 245 entries were received this year from small, medium and large enterprises. New for this year, the Food Pioneer award (sponsored by The Scotsman) drew an impressive 146 nominations from the public- making it unique in nature from the other categories which are entered by companies and individuals themselves.
Judged by a panel of food and drink experts, this award will honour one individual for their pioneering work in the industry.
The shortlist represents a broad spectrum from Scotland’s food and drink scene including small businesses such as Summerhouse Drinks and Mara Seaweed to bigger players including Border Biscuits and Stoats.
The award winners will be announced at Edinburgh’s International Conference Centre on 2 June. Dubbed the Scottish food and drink ‘Oscars’, the ceremony sold out in record time and will welcome 800 guests on the night. Attendees will be treated to a drinks reception and delicious dinner which showcases the very best of Scotland’s larder and features the produce of previous winners and finalists.
Scotland Food & Drink Chief Executive James Withers commented, "The Excellence Awards is a flagship event in the Scottish food and drink industry's calendar, recognising high calibre across the sector. It rewards the standout products, outstanding individuals and best practice across one of Scotland's most successful industries. It is these people, products and practices which make Scotland a Land of Food and Drink.
"This year's awards have received a record 245 entries across retail and foodservice product and business categories from 137 food and drink companies countrywide.
"The shortlist recognises a wide range of businesses from artisan producers to established brands. Our expert judges remarked on the high standard of entries with the tasting panel sampling 165 products over two days. Winners will be announced at the sold out awards ceremony and dinner in June, we look forward to a stellar celebration!"
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.
Willie Gill, Chairman of the RHASS said, "This shortlist reinforces what we already know, which is that Scotland’s food and drink industry is blossoming with incredible businesses and producers. The RHASS is again proud to be supporting these awards and to also represent this country's primary food producers, whose hard work and passion is integral to the food supply chain relied on by all of the businesses in this shortlist.”
Food Pioneer (sponsored by The Scotsman)
• Fred Berkmiller, chef, Edinburgh
• Beth Berry, market operator, Edinburgh
• Arbikie, gin and vodka producer, Arbroath
Soup, Preserves & Accompaniments (Sponsored by Asda)
• Raspberry, Mint & Chilli Vinegar, The Little Herb Farm, Fife
• Shony, Mara Seaweed, Edinburgh
• Dundee Orange Marmalde, Mackays Ltd, Arbroath
Dairy (sponsored by Asda)
• Graham’s The Family Dairy Spreadable Butter, Graham’s The Family Dairy, Bridge of Allan
• Mackie's White Chocolate and Coconut Indulgent Dairy Ice Cream, Mackie's of Scotland, Tayside
• Natural Cottage Cheese, Yester Farm Dairies Ltd, Haddington
Meat (sponsored by Asda)
• Salt-Aged Aberdeen Angus Rib Eye Steak, Simon Howie Foods Ltd, Perth
• Fillet Steak, The Buffalo Farm, Fife
• Venison Salami, Great Glen Charcuterie, Inverness-shire
Confectionery & Snacking (sponsored by Asda)
• Mackie's 70% Dark Chocolate with MINT, Mackie's of Scotland, Tayside
• Velvet Truffles, Iain Burnett Highland Chocolatier, Perthshire
• Macamoon's Scottish Selection, Macamoon, Borders
Non-Alcoholic Drink (sponsored by Asda)
• Cuddybridge Apple Juice, Cuddybridge Apple Juice, Borders
• Walter Gregor's Tonic Water, Summerhouse Drinks, Aberdeenshire
Alcoholic Drink (sponsored by Shepherd and Wedderburn)
• Gordon Castle Raspberry Gin, Gordon Castle Scotland, Morayshire
• Magnum scotch malt whisky cream liqueur, RTM Sales Solutions Ltd, Edinburgh
• Holy Grass Vodka, Dunnet Bay Distillers Ltd, Caithness
Fish & Seafood (sponsored by The Crown Estate)
• Balmoral Fillet, John Ross Jr (Aberdeen) Ltd, Aberdeenshire
• Bradan Orach, Loch Fyne Oysters, Caithness
• Morrisons Signature Coquille St. Jacques, Scottish Shellfish Marketing Group, Lanarkshire
Bakery & Cereal Based (Sponsored by Scottish Bakers)
• Muesli, Stoats Hedgerow, Edinburgh
• Border Biscuits Classic Sharing Selection, Border Biscuits Lanarkshire
• Raspberry and white chocolate All Butter Shortbread, Duncan's of Deeside, Kincardineshire
Foodservice Product of the Year (sponsored by Sodexo)
• Cullisse Highland Rapeseed Oil, Cullisse Highland Rapeseed Oil, Rosshire
• Sparkling Raspberry Drink, Summerhouse Drinks, Aberdeenshire
• Perfyit Piccalilli, Millers Larder Ltd, Stonehouse
Commitment to Health (sponsored by Rowett Institute)
• Duncan's of Deeside Gluten Free, Aberdeenshire
• Eat Balanced, Glasgow
Brand Success of the Year (sponsored by Palletforce)
• Border Biscuits, Lanark
• Graham's The Family Dairy, Bridge of Allan
• Mackie's of Scotland, Inverurie
Export Business of the Year (sponsored by Bank of Scotland)
• Loch Duart Ltd, Montrose
• Associated Seafoods Ltd, Morayshire
• Mackie's at Taypack Ltd, Perthshire
Innovation (sponsored by The Grocer)
• Peel Tech Ltd, Fife
• Stirling Potatoes Ltd (Stirfresh), Montrose
• Scottish Sea Farms Ltd, Oban
Investing in People (sponsored by Skills Development Scotland)
• The Scottish Salmon Company, Aberdeenshire
• Entier Limited, Edinburgh
• Loch Fyne Oysters, Cairndow
Success Through Partnership (sponsored by SAOS)
• Aldi, Nationwide
• Taste of Arran, Arran
• Connage Highland Dairy, Inverness
Environmental Sustainability (sponsored by Zero Waste Scotland)
• Ivan Wood & Sons, Fife
• Kettle Produce, Fife
• Paterson Arran Ltd, Livingston
Scottish Sourcing (sponsored by Taste Our Best, VisitScotland)
• Calmac Ferries Ltd, Inverclyde
• Edinburgh Larder, Edinburgh
• Ninth Wave Restaurant, Isle of Mull
Scottish Food & Drink Entrepreneur (sponsored by Johnston Carmichael)
• Craig Anderson, The Scottish Salmon Company, Edinburgh
• William J Walker, BenRiach Distillery Co Ltd, Edinburgh
• Andrew Stirling, Stirling Potatoes Ltd (Stirfresh), Angus
Young Talent (sponsored by Scottish Food and Drink Federation – A Future in Food)
• Danielle Ritchie, Entier Ltd, Aberdeenshire
• Siobhan Macleaod, WooHa Brewing Company, Grampian
• Daniel Sherry, Eden Mill, St Andrews