25 firms scoop Food & Drink Excellence Awards

25 firms scoop Food & Drink Excellence Awards

A record 820 guests attended Scotland’s food and drink ‘Oscars’, held in Edinburgh’s International Conference Centre, with winners including l’escargot restaurants and Mara Seaweed.

The annual awards, hosted by chef and TV Personality Simon Rimmer, are organised by Scotland Food & Drink and run in partnership with The Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland (RHASS), with Asda as headline sponsor.

The 25 category winners spanned the whole of the sector, with winners including; Liam Pennycook of Strathearn Distillery for ‘Young Talent’, l’escargot restaurants owned by Chef Fred Berkmiller for ‘Scottish Sourcing’, Paterson Arran Ltd for ‘Environmental Sustainability’, Peelham Farm Produce for ‘Meat’, Mara Seaweed for ‘Healthy Choice’ and Fusion Whisky Ltd for ‘Success Through Partnership’.

Special recognition was awarded for Product of the Year (Whisky Nibs from Chocolate Tree), Business of the Year (Bruce Farms) and Outstanding Contribution (Alastair Dobson, Taste of Arran).

James Withers, CEO Scotland Food & Drink, said: “Congratulations to all winners. With the new food and drink strategy, ‘Ambition 2030’ we are aiming to double the industry’s worth to the value of £30 billion by 2030, so it was fantastic to see new start-ups as well as established businesses come out on top. The industry is constantly growing, but there is always room for young pioneers, innovative products and enterprising businesses, and it’s this that will help us achieve Ambition 2030.

“Scotland is home to some of the most innovative producers and these awards give us the chance to celebrate this. Thanks to all those who entered this year, and I hope to see you back there next year.”

New for this year were the categories of Brewing (winner: Stewart Brewing Ltd) and Distilling (winner: Loch Ness Spirits Ltd), highlighting Scotland’s expansion into the flourishing spirits market. Inline with current industry trends, an Own Label category was also added, crowning Aldi winner for their Specially Selected Orkney Caramel Shortbread. 

Keith Brooke, Chairman of RHASS said: “Championing the best comes second nature to The Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland (RHASS) which is why we are proud to be a supporter of these awards.  Congratulations to the winners – it is a huge achievement and one to relish as getting to this stage is no doubt the result of significant hard work and skill particularly when you see the standard of the companies shortlisted this year.”

The 2017 awards received 272 entries across all categories, a record number on previous years. Category sponsorship was welcomed from a range of influential businesses including Sodexo, Johnston Carmichael, The Grocer, CalMac, Quality Meat Scotland and Heriot Watt University.