FOOD and drink companies from across north east Scotland will again be given the opportunity to showcase new products to a high profile panel of judges for the 21st annual Grampian Food Forum Innovation Awards.
The event, which will be held at the Marcliffe Hotel and Spa on Thursday, March 24, is open to all food and drink companies in Aberdeenshire, Aberdeen and Moray.
Leading the judging panel for the awards is Neil Turton, chief executive officer of Nisa-Today’s (Holdings) Ltd.
Mr Turton said: “Consumers love localness in their lives and nowhere is this more important than in the food they eat.
“In Scotland, the passion of producers and retailers to meet this need is famous worldwide.
“In Nisa our business has been built over many years around helping retailers make a difference locally and supporting local innovation and contribution to the economy is one of our key values.
“That’s why I am delighted to be a part of the Grampian Food Forum Innovation Awards as it honours local food and drink producers, who should rightly be recognised for their commitment to excellence and to producing fantastic food.”
Companies will compete for awards in best packaging, commitment to healthy eating, best marketing plan and judges’ choice as well as the most successful product from the 2010 awards.
Also included are categories for most innovative retail and most innovative foodservice product, which are split into two sections - for companies who employ up to 25 employees and those with more than 25 employees.
A new category in this year’s awards is the Taste of Grampian Local Independent Retailer of the Year for a business that ‘champions local food and drink’ and supports other local producers.
Inverurie-based retailer, Keith Whyte of Mitchells and chairman of the Forum Operations Group, said: “We are keen to keep the awards fresh and relevant and have introduced this new category to highlight some of the businesses who work closely with their suppliers and show a passion for local food.”
After the success by Grampian companies in the 2010 Scotland Food and Drink Excellence Awards, companies will once again be able to submit entries to the retail and foodservice categories in the national awards via their Grampian Food Forum application.
Prior to submitting completed application forms, companies are asked to inform organisers of the products they will be entering by Monday, January 31, 2011.
Tickets for the dinner cost £55 per person. Bookings, entry details and application forms can be found at: www.grampianfoodforum.org.uk