On the 8th September, the 21st Scotland Food & Drink Excellence Awards will take place during Scottish Food & Drink Fortnight at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre. Supported by headline sponsor Asda and The Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland (RHASS), the event will celebrate the companies, teams, individuals and employers who are raising the bar and helping to build Scotland’s reputation as a land of food and drink.
From artisanal bakers to craft distillers, and fish processors to dairy producers, all will be competing in the awards - some for new categories introduced this year to reflect the changing priorities of the industry. These include Free From in the product categories, and Sustainability and Employer of the Year in the business categories.
John Davidson, Deputy Chief Executive and Strategy Director at Scotland Food & Drink, said: “It’s fantastic to be able to get back together to celebrate the very best our industry has to offer. Every year, the quality and range of products our food and drink businesses are creating is increasing.
“The people and businesses that dedicate themselves to making our industry so successful have faced incredibly tough times since we last gathered for the Excellence Awards. The grit, resolve, commitment and entrepreneurial spirit they have all shown to weather the storm should rightly be celebrated.
“I can’t wait to see what fantastic and innovative products are on show this year, and of course, to welcome friends from across the Scottish food and drink industry to a well-deserved celebration of success later in the year."
Judging the tasted product categories alongside buyers and representatives from other retailers, food service, food writers and restauranteurs, will be Asda - with Local Buying Manager Scotland, Ashley Connolly expressing excitement ahead of the big day in September:
“Asda is proud to continue its support of the Scotland Food & Drink Excellence Awards and we are really excited to be involved in the judging again this year.
"We can see how hard it’s been for producers over the past eighteen months and understand how important the return of these awards is to the industry. Supporting Scottish producers is incredibly important to us and we’re looking forward to trying some great new Scottish products at this year’s judging. If it’s anything like previous years, we’ll no doubt be blown away by the quality and ingenuity of the Scottish products on show.”
At the previous Excellence Awards in 2019 Lanarkshire-based Lazy Day Foods was named Business of the Year. Co-founder Dr Sally Beattie was happy that others involved in the Scottish food and drink industry would be able to have their moment too:
“We were delighted and incredibly proud, to be awarded in the last Scotland Food & Drink Excellence Awards, as both Business of the year and Entrepreneurs of the Year. It’s such an accolade to be recognised in such a prestigious and well-respected award.
“The Excellence Awards have helped us to achieve 25% growth during the last two years, which has allowed us to continue to innovate and work towards our goal of becoming the leading free-from supplier in the sector. In 2020, we launched the first vegan and free-from cake to the UK market, the Lazy Day Vegan Celebration Chocolate Cake, which surpassed all expectations, leading us to launch our second free-from and vegan cake, the Vanilla Tray Cake, which has been similarly successful. We are extremely excited about the future of the Lazy Day brand.”
Sally’s fellow co-founder, Emer Bustard, continued: “The award wins have been so valuable to us as a business, both externally and internally. Not only were they a huge morale boost for the whole Lazy Day team but they have also helped to create and strengthen business partnership relationships with both customers and retailers across the UK. It’s an exciting time for the brand and business has gone from strength to strength.”
The full range of categories includes:
Artisan Product of the Year
Bakery Product of the Year
Brewing Product of the Year
Confectionary & Soft Drinks
Product of the Year
Dairy Product of the Year
Distilling Product of the Year
Fish & Seafood Product of the Year
Free From Product of the Year
Healthier Choice Product of the Year
Meat Product of the Year
Snacks & Accompaniments Product of the Year
Scotch Product of the Year
Outstanding Product of the Year
Employer of the Year
Young Talent of the Year
Primary Producer of the Year
Best for Scottish (Independent)
Best for Scottish (Multiple)
Regional Food & Drink Award
To find out more about the Excellence Awards and to enter, please visit: https://excellenceawards.foodanddrink.scot/
Entries to this year’s awards are now open and will close at 5pm on Friday 8 April.