Food innovation awards launched

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Entries are now open for the 22nd annual Grampian Food Forum Innovation Awards, which reward food and drink companies based in Aberdeenshire, Aberdeen and Moray for their new product innovations.

Companies will compete for titles in best packaging, commitment to healthy eating, best marketing plan and judges’ choice, as well as the most successful product from the 2011 awards.

Also included are categories for best new retail and best new food service product, which are split into two sections; for companies with up to 25 employees and for those with more than 25 employees.

Being introduced this year is the award for the Grampian food and drink entrepreneur of the year, which is sponsored by chartered accountants and business advisers Johnston Carmichael.

This year’s winners will be announced by The Co-operative Group Chief Executive Peter Marks at a presentation dinner at the Thainstone Exchange, near Inverurie, on Thursday, March 15. One of the companies entering for the first time is The Smokehouse Aberdeenshire Ltd, set up early in 2011 by John Cooper.

The Smokehouse, based in Methlick, produces a range of artisan products and hampers including salmon, sea trout, wild game and – more unusually – black pudding and smoked nuts.

All companies intending to submit entries to the 2012 Awards should advise the organisers by Tuesday, January 31. Full details on the awards entry forms and booking for the dinner can be found on