North-east food and drink producers joined together to celebrate an iconic milestone at the Grampian Food Forum Innovation Awards last week.
Colin McLean, Chief Operating Officer and Stephen Brown, Local Sourcing and Diversification Manager with Scotmid Co-operative Foods, and Graham Singer, Food Operations Manager with ESS Support Services Worldwide made up the judging panel and were bowled over by the high standard of entries for the celebratory year.
The judging panel sampled 36 products from the 18 food and drink companies shortlisted earlier in the month. A total of 29 companies reached the final across all categories.
Over 230 representatives of the food and drink industry from the north-east and further afield attended the presentation dinner at Ardoe House Hotel and Spa for the announcement of winners.
On presenting the winners with their trophies and certificates, Colin McLean said: “The quality of the entries has been superb which made the judging process all the more difficult.
“What was great to see and hear was the passion and drive coupled with the exciting plans all the entrants have in developing their businesses for the “The north-east is proving once again it is at the forefront of developing some truly unique and sustainable food related businesses.
“The entrants all produced products that appeal to local, regional, national and overseas markets and we intend to introduce some of these products into Scotmid Co-operative.”
Graham Singer, Food Operations Manager, ESS Support Services Worldwide commented: “I have been honoured to be part of the panel for the Grampian Serving Aberdeenshire from mountain to sea – Food Forum Innovation Awards. 2015 is a significant year for food and drink and the quality of the produce that I have sampled during the judging process has been phenomenal.
“The north-east has an enviable reputation as Scotland’s larder, grown from the traditional industries of fishing and farming. During the final judging process, it was enlightening to meet the people behind the products, each one with a different story to tell.
“Provenance in Scotland’s food and drink industry is one key stage to success and ESS is proud to use local quality produce to deliver culinary excellence across our business.”
2015 Innovation Award Winners
Most Successful Product from the 2014 Awards.
Winner – Associated Seafoods Ltd – Crab Range
Grampian Food Forum Award for the Best New Retail Product for businesses with more than 25 employees.
Winner – John Ross Jr (Aberdeen) Ltd – Tea Smoked Salmon, traditionally Infused with Lapsang Souchong Tea
Runner up – JG Ross (Bakers) Ltd – Flavoured Butteries
Grampian Food Forum Award for the Best New Retail Product for businesses with up to 25 employees.
Winner – Pulsetta Foods Limited – Pulsetta Savoury Oat Thins
Runner up – Windswept Brewing Co Ltd – The Wolf of Glen Moray
Independent Retailer of the Year Award, sponsored by Think Local.
Winner – Castleton Farm Shop
The Denis Emslie Above and Beyond Award sponsored by Mackie’s of Scotland.
Winner – Arthur Anderson, Speyside Craft Brewery Ltd
The Rowett Institute of Nutrition and Health Award for Company Commitment to Health and Wellbeing in 2014.
Winner – Eat on the Green
Best New Foodservice Product for businesses with more than 25 employees, sponsored by ESS Support Services Worldwide
Winner – Donald Russell Ltd – Salt Beef
Best New Foodservice Product for businesses with up to 25 employees, sponsored by ESS Support Services Worldwide
Winner – Amity Fish Co Limited – Trio of Wild Caught Cold Smoked Fish
Runner up – The Bay Fish & Chip Shop – Premium Batter Mix
The Award for the Best Young Business, sponsored by Grampian Food Forum Steering Group members.
Winner – Speyside Craft Brewery Ltd
The Skills Development Scotland Award for Investing in Skills Development.
Winner – Baxters Food Group
The Johnston Carmichael Award for the Grampian Food & Drink Entrepreneur 2015.
Winner – James Watt, BrewDog
Ardoe Hotel and Spa Award for the Judges’ Choice.
Winner – Gregor Mackintosh, Mackintosh of Glendaveny Ltd