The Grampian Food Forum Innovation Awards are back for their 24th year, continuing to strive to find the best quality products from a diverse range of north east producers.
The awards are open to entries from food and drink companies based in Aberdeenshire, Aberdeen City and Moray, who are invited to submit their entries by February 11.
The Innovation Awards is Grampian Food Forum’s flagship event and will see individuals and businesses compete for the top position of food and drink entrepreneur, local independent retailer, best new foodservice and best new retail product.
Being introduced for the first time is the Youngs Seafood Ltd award for the best young business. This category is eligible to companies who have less than 25 employees and have been established for a maximum of three years.
Also new this year is a category sponsored by Mackie’s of Scotland in memory of their former colleague.
The Denis Emslie above and beyond award will endeavour to recognise an individual who has gone out of their way to help others during the course of their day to day work.
This year’s winners will be announced by Andrew Kenny, Commercial Director of Asda, at a presentation dinner to be held on Thursday, March 20, at The Marcliffe Hotel and Spa, Pitfodels, Aberdeen.
Mr Kenny, who is responsible for all aspects relating to the customer offer within Meal Solutions, Café’s and local sourcing ranges in Scotland and Northern Ireland, said: “At Asda we want to provide our customers with the products that they really want. Scotland has a reputation for producing delicious local food and drink and we’re delighted to support the Grampian Food Forum Innovation Awards which recognise the high standards of quality and innovation in the industry. “We’ve been working with Scottish producers in collaboration with Grampian Food Forum for a number of years and we’re looking forward to discovering even more local talent as we grow our offering of over 1000 Scottish lines in our stores.” Also on the panel is Jeremy Dixon, Marketing and Sales Director at Ochil Foods, suppliers of gourmet foods to hotels, restaurants and caterers.
Completing the judging line up is Donald Reid who is the food and drink editor at The List. Donald is the founder and editorial director of The Larder series of publications, which covers the food and drink scene in Scotland with national, regional and online guides and maps, including the Aberdeenshire Larder published in 2013.
Belinda Miller, Head of Economic Development at Aberdeenshire Council and Grampian Food Forum member, said: “Aberdeenshire’s rich heritage of agriculture and fishing puts us in an extremely fortunate position of having some of the very best food and drink producers in Scotland.
“The Innovation Awards provides a fantastic platform to formally recognise those ground breaking businesses in this fast growing sector.”
All companies intending to submit entries to the 2014 Awards should advise the organisers by Friday, January 31.
This will help determine whether pre-judging of any category may be required. If so, this will take place on Tuesday, March 4, at The Marcliffe Hotel and Spa.
Final judging will take place on Thursday, March 20, again at The Marcliffe Hotel and Spa followed by the awards presentation dinner in the same location later that evening.
A workshop to assist representatives of the food and drink industry who may be considering entering the awards will take place on Tuesday, January 21, to help them achieve the maximum from their entry.
Delegates will receive support on completing their entry form, get advice on specific category requirements and learn how to maximise positive media coverage.
Full details on the Innovation Awards including entry forms, presentation dinner booking and the awards workshop can be found on www.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/foodawards