Introduction & Background

The food and drink industry in the Highlands and Islands generates in excess of £1 billion per annum and supports around 32,000 full time jobs across the region. There is a wide range of diverse products and an equally diverse profile of businesses, from world-renowned businesses to small innovative producers.

The Highlands and Islands Food & Drink Awards showcase and celebrate excellence and achievement in the food and drink industry in the Highlands and Islands.

The Awards Steering Group who help drive forward the Awards are:

If you're considering entering your business in this year’s Highlands & Islands Food & Drink Awards, but aren't sure if it's worth your time and effort, here are just some of the reasons why we think you shouldn’t put it off any longer:

  • It costs nothing
  • The online entry process is clear and simple
  • There is a wealth of interesting categories to suit all businesses big and small
  • You can enter as many categories as you feel are relevant, therefore increasing your chances with minimum extra effort
  • Reviewing your business, achievements & successes is a worthwhile exercise in itself
  • Feedback from judges can be thought-provoking and offer hints or ideas for future direction or focus
  • You can use the Awards process as part of your business strategy and to add to business credibility
  • Being shortlisted is a great achievement in itself and brings with it guaranteed press coverage and other pr activity, giving your business heightened profile and kudos within the industry
  • Should you be a winner, the opportunities to capitalise on your ‘award winning status’ are extensive (as previous winners testify): increased profile and brand awareness; endorsement from your industry for your business or product; potentially increased sales; the perfect way to target new customers or market sectors; opportunity to spread the word about your winning status in marketing literature, social media, websites, local press or within packaging or promotions; a boost to staff morale and motivation – to name but a few.
  • You can treat yourself and your colleagues to a night at our glitzy Awards Dinner & Ceremony – a chance to network with like-minded folk the beautiful surroundings of the new function suite of the Kingsmills Hotel, Inverness on Friday 20th October
  • All category winners are given FREE entry into the Scotland Food & Drink Excellence Awards
  • Read each question carefully and try to have an understanding of what the judges are hoping to read before you put pen to paper.
  • Keep your copy as clear and simple as possible; think concise, relevant, easy to understand and factual whilst avoiding jargon and waffle!

  • Only provide supporting documents where asked for and that are relevant.  Keep to the requested amount – the judges have a lot to get through and won’t be impressed with swathes of irrelevant information.
  • Make it easy for the judges to spot what is key to your entry, e.g. innovation, creativity, major successes & achievements, fast growth, overcoming adversity, awards obtained, etc.

  • Write a draft of your entry first and gain opinions from others within the business who will be approaching it from a new angle and may spot omissions, errors or ways of improving it.
  • Provide solid evidence against what has been asked for in your answers.  Back up your claims with facts and figures where relevant or include web links, tables, reviews, etc.

  • Don’t be afraid to bring to light instances when your business has had to face challenges and issues.  Be honest and don’t be tempted to be lenient with the truth!
  • Proof read your entry and ideally get others to read it through too.  Correcting spelling and grammatical errors will make your entry easier to read and demonstrate your attention to detail.

  • Do not be tempted to leave this until the last minute!  Although the entry process is a simple one, you will be doing yourself a disservice if you rush it or accidentally leave out important information.  Give yourself time to put together a clear and structured entry containing every detail you feel will help your cause.
  • Supporting Products – if applicable to the category you are entering, ensure items are safely and securely packaged for transport and delivered on time, fresh and ready for tasting by the judges on the allotted date.  Make sure they are relevant and there is sufficient to allow for up to 15 judges to sample.

Judging will take place in two stages.  The first stage is based on written entries submitted by the deadline.  The second stage will be a judging day in June where entries will be discussed and sampling will take place, where appropriate.   The shortlist will be announced on the 28 June.

Johnston Carmichael's Food & Drink Business Growth Award is slightly different to the others with a different style of entry form and rounds of interviews as part of the application process.  All details are included within the entry form.

The judging panel is made up of industry experts from across the supply chain, including representatives from the sponsoring companies.

  1. The Highlands & Islands Food & Drink Awards are open to food producers, retailers, catering and eating establishments, restaurants, hotels, and any businesses or organisation of any size operating in the Highlands and Islands and Cairngorm National Park.
  2. All information will be treated as confidential and will be used solely for the purpose of the Highlands & Islands Food & Drink Awards.
  3. It is possible to enter more than one category. Entries into more than one category must be treated as a completely separate submission.
  4. Any sponsors of the event cannot enter their own category.
  5. Judges cannot enter the Awards.
  6. It is the responsibility of all entrants to ensure the prompt and safe delivery of all entries.
  7. It is the responsibility of the entrant to ensure that all samples of foodstuffs (Best Drink, New Product and Healthier Food and Drink categories only) are packed, transported and delivered in a condition fit and safe for consumption by the judges. Clear and appropriate handling / preparation instructions should be included. Any entries arriving in a damaged or unsafe condition will be disqualified.
  8. The closing date for entries is 5pm on Friday 5 May 2017 – no entries will be accepted after this date, unless an extension has been officially announced.
  9. Whilst the Awards organiser will take great care to ensure the safe keeping of all entries throughout the judging, the organiser and associates cannot be held responsible for this safe keeping.
  10. The Awards organiser cannot be held responsible for the non-receipt or loss of any entries.
  11. No entries can be returned to entrants unless the entrant makes arrangements for collection immediately after the session of judging and advises the organisers of his/her intentions accordingly.
  12. On all matters relating to the Highlands & Islands Food & Drink Awards, the verdict of the judges is final and no correspondence will be entered into.
  13. Entrants must agree to take part in any publicity organised to promote the Highlands & Islands Food & Drink Awards.

Key Dates

Entry deadline – 5 May
Judging Day – 20 June
Shortlist Announcement – 28 June
Awards Ceremony – 20 October

Sponsors & Partners

Media Partner

SPP

Venue Partner

Category Sponsors

Bidvest
Booker
Brrok Street