The achievements of innovative industry-leading food and drink businesses across north east Scotland have been recognised at a time of transformational change for the sector.
The 2022 North east Scotland Food & Drink Awards, delivered in partnership by Opportunity North East and Aberdeenshire Council, brought the industry together to recognise excellence in product and market development, process innovation and business growth, sustainability and people and skills.
Thirteen businesses emerged as winners on the night across 13 categories that reflected the breadth of the industry in Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, and Moray, from ambitious early-stage businesses to established global brands.
Food and drink manufacturers and producers employ more than 22,000 people in the region and accounts for more than 20% of Scotland’s total sector output, excluding whisky. Businesses have continued to grow, launch new products, connect with consumers in new ways and invest in digital transformation, automation and decarbonising their operations despite the challenges of the pandemic, increasing costs and labour shortages.
The winners were announced last night at the awards ceremony at The Chester Hotel, Aberdeen, with an audience of 250 and hosted by broadcaster and musician, Dougie Vipond.
Winners of the 2022 awards include: Burnobennie Distillery, Donald Russell, Ellon Spirits, Entier Limited, Forest Farm Dairy Ltd., Mackintosh of Glendaveny Limited, Outlaw Rum Company Ltd, Raw Culture Ltd, Ringlink, Summerhouse Drinks Ltd, Six°North and Thistle Seafoods Limited.
Stanley Morrice MBE, Chair of Opportunity North East’s Food, Drink and Agriculture Board, said: “Food and drink is an agile and ambitious sector and these awards reflect those strengths. Businesses in the region are leading in sustainability, premium market development, and product and process innovation.
“ONE is supporting businesses – from start-ups to scaling brands – to develop new products and routes to market, adopt digital technology and advanced manufacturing, decarbonise, enhance their leadership skills, and attract new talent. Rapidly rising costs in the sector make securing premium markets, production efficiency and getting the best out of people more important than ever.
“Action and investment by ONE with partners are enabling the sector to meet the demands of markets and consumers and drive transformational change in the region as we transition to a low-carbon economy.
“Food and drink manufacturing is one of the most dynamic and enterprising industries in our economy. I'm very excited to see what it can achieve in the years ahead,” said Mr Morrice.
Chair of Aberdeenshire Council's Infrastructure Services Committee, Cllr John Crawley, said: “For several decades now these awards have helped showcase the very best of the north-east food and drink producers, successfully raising the profile of their businesses and products to local and national markets. We are delighted to continue our partnership with ONE to recognise these success stories, promoting the region as a pacesetter in the Scottish food and drink industry.
“A staggering 20% of Scotland's food and drink output, comes from Aberdeenshire, with production forming an essential part of our economy worth £2.2bn and employing 22,000 within the region. Food and drink is a key sector in our own Economic Development Strategy, which aims to create the conditions for sustainable economic growth, diversification and regeneration within Aberdeenshire and the wider region by attracting and supporting businesses.
“To our award winners, I congratulate you all for demonstrating how you have successfully seized upon opportunities and tackled head on the challenges the food and drink market has faced during the last couple of years.”
The category judging panels this year included senior industry representatives from Loch Leven’s Larder, ESS Energy and Compass Scotland, The Gin Cooperative, Scotmid, Serco NorthLink Ferries, Strachans, SDI, CMS, SMAS and Aberdeenshire Council.
The Awards are sponsored by a range of businesses and organisations, including title sponsor ESS Support Services Worldwide, CMS, Robert Gordon University, Scotland Food & Drink, Serco NorthLink Ferries, Skills Development Scotland and Strachans.
The 2022 winners were:
BEST NEW PRODUCT (EMERGING BUSINESS)
Raw Culture Ltd - Hop Infused Kombucha The Original/Mangosaurus/Hopical Punch
BEST NEW PRODUCT (SMALL BUSINESS)
Summerhouse Drinks Ltd - Pumpkin Soda
BEST NEW PRODUCT (LARGE BUSINESS)
Donald Russell - Scottish Stuffing with Whisky & White Pudding
BEST BREWED PRODUCT
Six°North - Framboise Raspberry Beer
BEST DISTILLED PRODUCT
Outlaw Rum Company Ltd - Outlaw Rum Flagship Blend/Outlaw Rum Islay Cask 5/ Outlaw Rum Double Cask
BEST FOOD AND DRINK TOURISM EXPERIENCE
Forest Farm Dairy Ltd - Gelateria & Gelato Garden
BEST YOUNG BUSINESS
BUSINESS GROWTH AWARD
Mackintosh of Glendaveny Limited
EXPORT BUSINESS OF THE YEAR
Thistle Seafoods Limited
RECOGNITION FOR YOUNG PEOPLE SKILLS DEVELOPMENT
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