Entries invited to Food Awards

ENTRIES are being invited for the 22nd annual Grampian Food Forum Innovation Awards, with the nomination period now open.

Local companies are asked to submit nominations by January 31, competing for titles including best packaging, commitment to healthy eating, best marketing plan and judges’ choice, as well as the most successful product from the 2011 awards. The competition will also include a new award, given to the Grampian Food and Drink Entepreneur of the Year.

The scheme, which seeks to reward success and innovation in the local food sector, with winners being announced at a special meal at the Thainstone Exchange on March 15, after rigorous selection, testing - and tasting - by a panel of judges, chaired by Peter Marks of the Co-Operative Group, and including Karen Peattie, former editor of Scottish Grocer magazine, and Craig Stevenson, owner of Braehead Foods Ltd.

Past local winners of the competition have included Mackies, The Store at Foveran, Berry Scrumptious of Rosehearty. Ola Oils, Chocolat Passions and Brewdog.

Peter Marks said: “I am delighted to be involved in the Grampian Food Forum Innovation Awards 2012. Scotland has some fantastic food producers, large and small, many of whom already have worldwide reputations for quality and value.

“These are two factors of great importance to Co-operative customers and I am really looking forward to reviewing the entries in this year’s awards. Innovation is the lifeblood of all industries but in the food industry customers are always on the lookout for something new for themselves or their families.

“As the UK’s favourite community food retailer, we know that customers are also very keen to support British and local producers. Local producers who can both innovate and deliver great value are on to a winning combination and are assured of a very bright future. That’s why I am sure that we will find some real stars of the future amongst the 2012 entries.”

Any necessary pre-judging will take place on Tuesday, February 28, at the Barn and Bushel, Thainstone, Inverurie. Final judging will take place on Thursday, March 15, at the Barn and Bushel, followed by the awards presentation dinner at the Thainstone Exchange, Thainstone Centre, Inverurie. Full details on the marketing workshop, awards entry forms and booking for the awards presentation dinner can be found on www.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/foodawards.