Celebrating the highest quality Scottish produce, the 2023 Scotland Food & Drink Excellence Awards again reflected the sector’s ambitions and achievements 

IT’S known as the “Oscars” of the Scottish food and drink industry but for the winners of the Scotland Food & Drink Excellence Awards, the accolade is much more than a trophy to display in the boardroom.

As Iain Baxter, Chief Executive at Scotland Food & Drink, explains, an award highlights the commitment and passion of the industry to persevere and adapt through difficult times, noting: “The calibre of entries this year demonstrates the resilience and the entrepreneurial spirit of our industry which is driving innovation and truly excellent products.”

The longevity of the event – it’s been running for over two decades – is also important given the number of newer awards initiatives that have entered the busy awards calendar in recent years.

Many winners – past and present – point to the Scotland Food & Drink Excellence Awards as the country’s most prestigious and “the one we all want to win”.

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With this year’s event attracting significant sponsorship from a roster of high-profile businesses, including headline sponsor Asda – returning for the twelfth year – it is clear that there is a growing appetite for the event.

“The judging process for the tasted categories brings together an expert panel of buyers, experts, journalists and foodservice leaders,” points out Ashley Connolly, Local Buying Manager for Scotland at Asda. 

She headed up the judging panel for these categories, noting: “The standard of entry was as high as ever this year, so the winning products had to be truly exceptional.”

The food and drink sector has grown to become Scotland’s biggest employer with the industry now worth nearly £15 billion. 

There’s been a 200% increase in food exports in the last 10 years – in 2022, exports of Scottish food and drink were valued at over £8bn – and a 40% rise in sales of Scottish brands in the UK.

Here we profile some the 2023 winners of the Scotland Food & Drink Excellence Awards which recognise local sourcing, sustainability, young talent and primary producers along with innovation across all sectors of the industry.

Scottish Product of the Year and Dairy Product of the Year
Mossgiel Organic Farm, Mossgiel Organic Milk

The Herald:

WITH its “back to basics” presentation in a glass bottle sealed with a traditional foil, Mossgiel Organic Milk, which comes from small herds of cattle on family farms in Ayrshire, was the outsider that sneaked in to win not just Dairy Product of the Year but the big one too – Scottish Product of the Year.

For eco-conscious farmer Bryce Cunningham, who runs Mossgiel Organic Farm near Mauchline and 
had to borrow his father-in-law’s kilt to wear to the awards ceremony, the decision to focus on organic farming has given the business a new lease of life in recent years.

Mr Cunningham, who launched the generations-long family business in its present form in 2016, has eliminated single-use plastic and uses electric delivery vans. 

While his business model means that Mossgiel produces less milk, it is of a much higher quality, he explains.

The enterprising farmer, whose land was once worked by Rabbie Burns, has even designed his own pasteuriser vats which run off renewable energy and gives the milk a richer taste, with cream rising to the top like it used to when it was delivered to the doorstep.

With a focus on sustainability, biodiversity, and animal husbandry – his small herd of cows keep their calves with them so weaning is natural – he is keen to support a network of small-scale farms and education people about organic methods.

Best for Scottish Sourcing (Multiple)
Hugh Black & Sons

“It is always good for smaller businesses to be recognised along with bigger players in the food industry and we are very privileged in Scotland to have some of the finest produce in the world – as a business we feel it is important to showcase this,” comments Hugh Black.

With a focus on quality – beef, lamb and pork are sourced from Scotch assured farms – Hugh Black sells a range of traditional butchery products along with an ever-expanding range of manufactured products.

Beer & Cider Product of the Year
The Wee Scottish Cider Company (Seidear, Champagne Method cider from Scottish castle gardens)

The Herald:

THE Wee Scottish Cider Company, based at Kingcausie Estate, has not yet celebrated its second birthday but has not only won a prestigious Scotland Food & Drink Excellence Award, but also recently won an award for its Seidear at the 11th International Cider Salon in Asturias, Spain.

Company owner Christian Stolte uses apples from local estates and walled gardens to make around 3,500 bottles.

He says using the locally grown apples has been an important first step in reviving Scotland’s orchard industry.

His cider is crafted from old varieties grown in historic walled gardens at Haddo, Cluny, Gordon’s, Fraser, Ellon, Craigievar, Falkland and private orchards.

Confectionery Product of the Year
Chocolatia (Chloe’s Signature Collection)
CHLOE Oswald is a trained chef who started up her own business after refining her skills in the two-Michelin-starred Andrew Fairlie reataurant at Gleneagles. She studied patisserie at City of Glasgow College and has seen Chocolatia steadily grow since launching in lockdown.

Now supplying restaurants including Inver in Cairndow, The Cellar in Anstruther, The Macallan Distillery and Glasgow’s Cail Bruich, Chocolatia sells online and via several upmarket retail outlets, the business is also growing in the corporate and gift sector, and also suppliers wedding favours.

Chloe’s Signature Collection is a box of 12 hand-painted filled chocolates, showcasing flavours that Chloe has developed over her years in the industry.  


Distilling Product of the Year (Dark Spirits)
Black Bull 12-Year-Old Blended Scotch Whisky

Soft Drink Product of the Year 
Shibui Tea, Tropical Green

Best for Scottish Sourcing (Independent)

Regional Food and Drink Award 
Outer Hebrides Tourism

Artisan Product of the Year 
ÒR-ganic, Premium Cold Pressed Organic Rapeseed Oil

Sustainability Award
Mackie’s of Scotland

Meat Product of the Year
Simon Howie Foods, Black Label Gastro Burger

Free From Award
Nudie Snacks, Cauliflower Crisps

Scotch Brand Product of the Year
John Gilmour Butchers, Tweed Valley 35-day Dry-Aged Cote de Boeuf

Young Talent Award
Nia Hunter, A&D Hunter

Bakery Product of the Year 
Lazy Day Foods, Mini Vic the Vegan Caterpillar Cake

Distilling Product of the Year (White Spirits)
Muckle Brig, Lind & Lime Gin

Fish & Seafood Product of the Year
Campbells Prime Meat, Orkney Hand Dived Scallops

Healthier Choice Product of the Year 
Aye Pickled, Kimchi

Snacks & Accompaniments Product of the Year
The Drinks Bakery, Mature Cheddar, Smoked Chilli & Almond Drinks Biscuits

Employer of the Year

Primary Producer of the Year
Angus Soft Fruits