Food and drink ‘oscars’ finalists

The judging panel, left to right, Kevin Shand, Cate Devine, Angus Bell

The judging panel, left to right, Kevin Shand, Cate Devine, Angus Bell

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The finalists have been announced for the North East Scotland Food and Drink Awards 2017.

A total of 27 businesses are in the running for honours

The awards attracted entries from nearly 40 food and drink companies from across the region, recognising, in particular, those that showcased exceptional innovation and excellence within the sector.

This year saw a total of 76 entries across all categories with 64 new products being submitted, highlighting strong innovation within the local food and drink industry.

The awards, delivered in partnership by Opportunity North East (ONE) and Aberdeenshire Council, were open to all food and drink producers based in Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire and Moray.

They are part of an ambitious programme of activity to support food and drink businesses of all sizes through business growth, innovation, strengthening the supply chain, market development and skills development.

Companies were recognised in 11 categories including Best Young Business, Innovation Award, North East Scotland Food and Drink Entrepreneur and Best New Retail Product.

The finalists include Amity Fish Co Limited, Angus and Oink, Associated Seafoods, Barra Bronzes, Big Beefys Biltong, Castleton

Farm Shop, Cocoa Ooze Chocolates, Dean’s, Esker Spirits, Fierce Beer, Glen Garioch, Gordon Castle Walled Garden, James Rizza and Sons, John Ross Jr, Joseph Robertson (Aberdeen), Mackie’s of Scotland, Mackintosh of Glendaveny, Macleans Highland Bakery, Porter’s Gin, Speyside Craft Brewery, Speyside Specialities, Summerhouse Drinks, The Bay Fish and Chips, The Good Granola Company, The Store, Tribe Foods t/a RaRa and Westfield Farms.

The judging panel - Cate Devine, food writer and columnist, Kev Shand, North sales manager for Braehead Foods, and Angus Bell, category manager for Scotland for Morrisons – admitted they had a tough task.

Mr Bell said: “I was really impressed at the fantastic range of innovative new products being developed in the North-east.

“Having the opportunity to meet the producers was great for the judging panel and we were all impressed by the passion and drive displayed by so many of the companies.”

The winners of the awards will be announced on Thursday, March 30, at the Mercure Aberdeen Ardoe House Hotel and Spa.