With 21 award categories celebrating excellence across Scottish food and drink, the Scotland Food & Drink Excellence Awards promise to be the food-lovers' event of the year and will take place on 22nd May. The awards range from Scottish Food & Drink Entrepreneur to ten product awards that are largely judged on taste as well as the introduction of two new categories, Scottish Sourcing and Brand Success of the Year.
In the course of their assessment of the entries, the judges tasted 115 food and drink entries and examined submissions from 102 businesses across Scotland.
The shortlist represents a broad spectrum of Scotland's food and drink: from small companies like Cuddybridge Apple Juice to companies exporting all over the world like Mackies. Relatively new companies like Island Girl and Isle of Skye Sea Salt are shortlisted as well as family businesses with generations of food heritage behind them like MacSweens Haggis and Graham's the Family Dairy.
The Scottish television presenter, Kaye Adams, will host the event at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre in Edinburgh. Dubbed the Scottish food and drink 'Oscars', the ceremony sold out in record time and will be bigger than ever before with 700 guests attending on the night. Attendees will be treated to a drinks reception and sumptuous dinner, showcasing the very best of Scotland's larder.
The awards are organised by Scotland Food & Drink in partnership with The Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland (RHASS). The event's headline sponsor is Asda and the awards are supported by Think Local.
Chief Executive of Scotland Food & Drink, James Withers, said:
"These awards celebrate the best of Scottish food and drink products and businesses, recognising the quality of produce and excellence in a range of fields from innovation to sustainability and the development of health initiatives. Feedback from the judges was very positive and the standard of entries was high across the board. Entries have come from individuals, artisan producers and global brands reflecting the wide variety of our food and drink companies as well as their strengths and expertise. All play their part in the continued development and growth of the industry to a value of £16.5bn by 2017. ?¨
"We look forward to the biggest ever awards ceremony and dinner in May at which we will toast the success of the industry and reveal the overall winners in the company of a record number of attendees- 700 of food and drink's finest will come together at this sell out night. The awards take place during an important year for Scotland and will only contribute to cementing Scotland's deserved reputation as a Land of Food and Drink."
Adding his praise to the shortlisted businesses, Stephen Hutt, RHASS' Chief Executive, said:
"It is the Society's remit to promote primary producers and the exceptional standard of entries demonstrates just how vibrant and innovative our food and drink sector is. To be shortlisted is a huge achievement and congratulations must be awarded to all those who have been selected. RHASS is very proud to be a part of such a thriving and passionate industry which comes together at the Royal Highland Show each year."
Scottish television presenter, Kaye Adams, who will host the awards said:
"I'm thrilled to be hosting this year's Scotland Food & Drink Excellence Awards. The quality of these finalists shows just how much delicious produce there is in Scotland - something we should all be proud of!"