The Scotland Food & Drink Excellence Awards 2018 are today (Tuesday 9 January) calling for entries from the cream of the crop of Scotland's Food and Drink industry - those businesses and individuals who are leading the way with innovation, enterprise, and quality.

From household names to small artisan producers, the Scotland Food & Drink Excellence Awards recognise the very best products, people and producers across the country.

This year, the ‘Young Talent’ award category age limit has been raised to 26 and under to coincide with VisitScotland’s Year of Young People 2018 and encourage entries from Scotland’s rising stars in the food and drink industry.

Scotland Food & Drink Awards 2018

2017 Food Pioneer Graham Suttle with The Scotsman Editor Frank O’Donnell. Picture: Ian Georgeson

Increasingly recognised by both trade and consumers as recognition of phenomenal quality, winning a Scotland Food & Drink Excellence Award has become a highly acknowledged accreditation to receive. Previous winners include Graham’s The Family Dairy, ALDI, The Scottish Salmon Company and Stewart Brewing.

“If you have a brand, product or even a person you are particularly proud of, we urge you to get involved.”

The 2018 awards will see the introduction of a brand new ‘Innovation’ category and all 22 categories are now open for entries, with the window closing on Friday 9th March.

The annual awards are organised by Scotland Food & Drink in partnership with The Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland (RHASS) and will once again be sponsored by Asda, with support from Polaris.

James Withers, Chief Executive of Scotland Food & Drink, said: “The Scotland Food & Drink Excellence Awards allow us to shine a light on the skill, dedication and innovation of Scotland’s very best food and drink producers who all contribute to Scotland’s reputation as a Land of Food and Drink.

“Over the last 10 years we have worked hard as an organisation and with partners to build a national identity for Scottish food and drink and the Excellence Awards provides an invaluable platform to highlight to the nation and beyond the strength of our industry and the wealth of talent across all sectors.

“With 22 different categories to enter, the awards cover the width and breadth of our exceptional food and drink industry.

“So, if you have a brand, product or even a person you are particularly proud of, we urge you to get involved.”

Chief executive of the RHASS, Alan Laidlaw, added his support to the awards, saying: “RHASS represents Scotland’s skilled and dedicated primary food producers and is proud to be a partner in this hugely important showcase of the very best that our food and drink industry has to offer.

“These awards provide an excellent platform for your brand and we would encourage anyone in Scotland producing fine food and drink to get involved.”

Lucie Jurakova. Picture: SFDEA2018

Lucie Jurakova, assistant manager at 2017 Product of the Year winners, The Chocolate Tree, who helped launch this year’s awards, added: “We were thrilled to not only pick up an award in the Confectionary category at last year’s Excellence Awards, but to also win the Product of the Year was a fantastic reward for the hard working and dedicated team we have here at Chocolate Tree.

“I would encourage everybody to enter as you never know, you might just win!”

The Scotland Food & Drink Excellence Awards 2018 take place on 7 June at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC).

Those wishing to attend the prestigious awards dinner are urged by the organisers to book early to avoid disappointment, with tickets for previous years selling out in under two weeks.

The Scotland Food & Drink Excellence Awards 2018 Categories (and Sponsors) are:

• Savouries & Accompaniments

• Dairy

• Scotch Brand Product of the Year  (Quality Meat Scotland)

• Meat

• Confectionery, Drinks & Snacking

• Brewing

• Distilling (Invest In Perth)

• Fish & Seafood (DR Newitt)

• Bakery (Scottish Bakers)

• Foodservice Product of the Year

• Healthy Choice (The Rowett Institute)

• Own Label (The Grocer)

• Primary Producer of the Year (SRUC)

• Innovation (Sodexo)

• Scottish Sourcing

• Brand Success of the Year (Palletforce)

• Export Business of the Year (Dentons)

• Investing in Skills (Skills Development Scotland)

• Young Talent (Food & Drink Federation Scotland)

• Entrepreneur of the Year (Johnston Carmichael)

• Success Through Partnership (SAOS)

• Environmental Sustainability

• Food Pioneer [public vote] (The Scotsman)

• Product of the Year [not entered] (RHASS)

• Business of the Year [not entered] (Clydesdale Bank)

• For more information, online entry and tickets to the dinner, visit www.foodanddrink.scot/events/sfd-excellence-awards

About The Author

Sean Murphy

Driven by a passion for all things whisky-related, Sean writes for The Scotsman extensively on the subject. He can also sometimes be found behind the bar at the world famous Potstill bar in Glasgow where he continues to enhance his whisky knowledge built up over six years advising customers from all over the world on the wonders of our national drink.

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