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Best Drink

The judges will be looking for a business, big or small, that can demonstrate success in the

alcoholic or non alcoholic market; a commitment to locally sourced products where possible; robust processes and research that led to the product(s) being created in the first place; a sound marketing strategy for sustainability.

You may enter one single drink OR a product range (3 products maximum), e.g. a range of craft beers and spirits of varying flavours/strengths if they are unified by branding or ingredients, etc. You can only submit ONE range per company.

Please note that in order to be eligible to enter the Best Distilled category you must own and operate a still, and manufacture and bottle in Scotland.

All entries in this category will be asked to submit product sample for a tasted judging session in August (we will contact you in good time to arrange product samples).

Best Food: Retail

This award is for the best retail product (food and non-alcoholic drinks) launched between 1 January 2021 and 31 January 2023. Excludes brewed and distilled products.

Products can be branded or own label that are sold through independent or multiple retailers, farm shops, farmers markets, delis etc or directly to the consumer.

A maximum of three separate entries can be submitted to this category. Closely related products should be entered as a range; a maximum of three products from the range can be submitted.

Best Food: Foodservice

This award is for the best foodservice product launched between 1 January 2021 and 31 January 2023. Excludes products that are brewed/distilled.

For products intended for use in the foodservice and catering sector. Food service deals with the preparation and service of food outside the home and includes restaurants, school and hospital cafeterias and a wide range of catering operations.

A maximum of three separate entries can be submitted to this category. Closely related products should be entered as a range; a maximum of three products from the range can be submitted.

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Best Food: Street Food

Scotland offers many excellent markets, halls & roadsides where you can enjoy delicious street food on the go. New for 2023, this award is for Street Food vendors based in the region with a commitment to local provenance, great relationships with local producers and suppliers, a well-designed truck/van/trailer and a strong USP.

Best Marketing

A successful marketing strategy helps your business reap the rewards with greater sales, return customers and a rising profile that is the envy of your competitors.

This award is for businesses that can demonstrate a clear marketing strategy that has been put into practice and delivered with tangible results showing creativity, innovation and imagination during 2023/2024.

Best Food & Drink Tourism Experience

This new award will recognise the best food or drink tourism experience in the region.

A successful Food & Drink Tourism Experience will demonstrate excellence in customer engagement, attracting visitors from both the Highlands and Islands and further afield thus developing our reputation as a great place to experience local food and drink.

This may be on-location such as a farm or distillery tour, or offsite in the form of festival or event. Entry is open to businesses who can demonstrate that they have attracted new visitors to the Highlands and Islands through the development of their food tourism experience. 

Best Start up

This award is for a new business, started since 1st January 2021. You may be a producer, a retailer or foodservice outlet displaying excellence in the use of local food and drink products or a service provider contributing significantly to the success of the sector. Judges will be looking for businesses they feel have great potential to further contribute to the local food and drink economy or further enhance the perception of the region’s food and drink.

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Innovative Food and Drink Business

New for 2024...Details announced soon. 

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Independent Retailer of the Year

Without retailers, many of the wonderful products created and produced in the region would remain unseen or perhaps not exist in the first place! To help celebrate those independent retailers fighting for their place amongst the chains, supermarkets and ‘big boys’ of the high street and internet, this category is open to all food and drink retailers within the region, both those with a shop front, those solely trading online and those who do both.

Examples include farm shops, delis, fruit farms, butchers, corner shops.

Primary Producer

This award is open to all primary producers. We are looking for great examples of how you have developed a food or drink product from farm to fork. You might be collaborating with other local suppliers or stakeholders to help drive aspects of the final product for the consumer.  

We want to know more about your story and what you are doing differently to diversify and adapt to the market.  Judges will be keen to understand what makes your product unique, your plans for growth and the sustainability of the product. 

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Sustainability Award

This award is to recognise a business or social enterprise who are taking steps to reduce their environment footprint.  We are looking for you to reference your sustainability aim(s) and how you are going about achieving these.  Examples could include waste or packaging minimisation, responsible procurement, sustainable processes and production, sustainable supply chains, carbon management, water management and low-carbon energy transition.

Best Eatery

This award has been created specifically to include those eateries, e.g. a café, bistro, deli, pub, takeaway or visitor attraction serving food, etc, who deserve to be recognised but not against those who class themselves solely as ‘restaurants’. These establishments should be able to demonstrate the most innovative and consistent use of produce from food or drink suppliers in the region, great tasting food, outstanding service levels, value for money, return custom and a pleasant environment.

NB - You cannot enter both the Best Eatery Award AND the Restaurant of the Year Award unless you can clearly demonstrate you have two clearly different businesses on one site.

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Restaurant of the Year

This award is given to the restaurant that can demonstrate the most innovative and consistent use of produce from food or drink suppliers in the region, great tasting food, outstanding service levels and a pleasant environment. Entry is open to all eating establishments in the Highlands and Islands who classed themselves as a ‘restaurant’, either by size, number of covers, menu choices & price or any other criteria.

NB - You cannot enter both the Restaurant of the Year Award AND Best Eatery Award unless you can clearly demonstrate you have two clearly different businesses on one site.

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Supply Chain Business Award

This new award is open to any business who is operating in any part of the Highlands and Islands food and drink supply chain.  Food supply chain businesses include those in food and drink preparation, processing, manufacturing, warehousing, distribution, wholesaling and retailing. 

The supply chain is  an integral part of a successful sector so it seems apt to introduce the Supply Chain Business Award to acknowledge those who play an important role in supporting the food and drink industry be its best.  It could be a veterinary services provider to the farming sector or a tech company that supports innovation and productivity.

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Young Ambassador of the Year

This award recognises a young person’s outstanding contribution and achievement in the Highlands and Islands food and drink sector, celebrating their commitment, passion and work to develop the industry in the region, their outstanding qualities and potential. The award is open to any person aged between 18 and 26 on 14 June 2023. The individual should be nominated by an employer, colleague, mentor etc.

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Ambassador of the Year

This special award recognises the outstanding contribution in the Highlands & Islands food and drink industry, be they male or female, young or old. The award celebrates and pays tribute to the hard work, commitment, dedication, passion and innovation demonstrated within the sector.

The award is open to public nominations until the end of August, with the Awards Steering Group casting the final vote.

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2023 winners now released!

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