Deadline reminder for food awards

Companies in Aberdeenshire, Aberdeen and Moray are being reminded that they have until Valentine’s Day to submit entries to the 22nd Grampian Food Forum Innovation awards.

The showcase recognise food and drink companies in the area for their new product innovations, but all entries must be in by Tuesday, February 14.

Categories include best packaging, commitment to healthy eating, best marketing plan and judges’ choice. The most successful product from the 2011 awards will also be chosen.

Other titles will be awarded for best new retail and best new food service product; split into sections for companies with up to 25 employees, and those with more than 25 staff.

For the first time, entrants will be able to compete for the Grampian food and drink entrepreneur of the year, sponsored by chartered accountants and business advisers Johnston Carmichael.

New awards supporter Marketing Society Scotland is sponsoring the category for best marketing plan, and will offer a marketing mentor to the successful entrant.

Belinda Miller, who is Head of Economic Development at Aberdeenshire Council and Grampian Food Forum member, said: “We have been encouraged by the entries we have already received for the awards, but we don’t want any companies in Aberdeenshire, Aberdeen or Moray to miss out on the chance to have their innovation recognised.

“Valentine’s Day on February 14th could be the first step to success for this year’s entrants.”

This year’s winners will be announced by the Co-operative Group Chief Executive Peter Marks at a presentation dinner which will take place at the Thainstone Exchange, near Inverurie, on Thursday, March 15.

Also on the panel is Craig Stevenson, owner and managing director of Braehead Foods Ltd and Karen Peattie, former editor of Scottish Grocer magazine and founder of the Scottish Grocer Awards.

Pre-judging will take place 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 that night at the Thainstone Exchange, Thainstone Centre, Inverurie.

Entry forms and booking for the awards presentation dinner can be found on aberdeenshire.gov.uk/foodawards.