Highlands & Islands food and drink awards 2007 – Fishupdate.com

Highlands & Islands food and drink awards 2007 Published:  01 May, 2007

SCRUMPTIOUS salmon, tasty tablet and delicious drinks are being sought by the Highland & Islands Food and Drink awards, which open for entries today.

These prestigious awards, in their third year, celebrate the diverse range of food and drink products grown and produced locally, as well as industry related services. They also focus on the success of individual businesses and their important contribution to the local economy.

The awards are organised by the Highlands & Islands Food Forum, which was set up four years ago as a partnership between industry and Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE). Last year’s event was a great success, attracting entries from around one hundred different companies.

Dennis Overton, Chairman of the Highlands & Islands Food and Drink Forum said: “We’re seeing a real growth in interest and demand from customers for local food and drink and these awards clearly contribute to the public’s awareness of what’s available from the Highlands and Islands. Last year showed an even greater interest from businesses in participating, both in the entries and attending the awards dinner, and we expect this year to be even more popular.”

The food and drink industry in the Highlands & Islands generates in excess of £1bn per annum and supports over 24,000 full time jobs across the region. There is a wide range of diverse products, including fish and shellfish, meat and dairy products, biscuits and confectionery and an equally diverse profile of businesses, from internationally renowned Baxters of Speyside to small innovative producers supplying niche markets.

There are nine different categories within the awards, covering New Business to Innovation and Food and the Environment. There are two new awards for 2007, which reflect the focus of the awards – the first is for the Best Use of Local Food and Drink and the other is Entry to a New Market (at home or abroad). These celebrate particular strengths of local businesses. Any type of organisation, including schools or hospitals or other services, can enter the Best Use of Local Food category. The Excellence Award is presented to the overall winner, selected from all the entries.

Mark Georgeson of HIE, the main public supporter of the awards said: “We want to celebrate the importance of the food and drink industry to the economy of the area and to encourage more businesses to reflect on their achievements. The awards represent a growing confidence within the sector and we are looking forward to building on the success of last year’s event by generating even more publicity for local food and drink businesses.”

The closing date for entries is Monday July 2 and the awards will be announced at the Highlands & Islands Food and Drink Awards Dinner on September 14.

Entry forms and further details from Shona MacLennan, Highlands & Islands Food and Drink Forum Co-ordinator; Tel: 01599 534999; email: shona@solas-biz.co.uk

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