The importance of international trade has been recognised with a new export business of the year category in the 2019 North East Scotland Food and Drink Awards, which are being launched today.
Organised by private sector economic development body Opportunity North East (ONE) and Aberdeenshire Council, the awards have recognised the success of the region’s companies operating in the sector for more than 25 years.
They are open to all food and drink producers based in Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire and Moray and are free to enter. Past winners include Esker Gin, rora dairy, Duncan Farms and Glen Garioch Distillery.
Categories have continued to evolve to match developments and trends within the sector.
Last year, a best brewed or distilled product section was created and won by Murmichan, produced by Aboyne-based Lost Loch Spirits, which was co-founded by Peter Dignan.
The 11 other award categories cover the breadth of industry activity, from investing in skills development to the best young business and food and drink entrepreneur.
The awards form part of ONE Food, Drink and Agriculture’s sector activity, focused on creating an ambitious cohort of growth companies of all sizes selling premium products into their international markets.
Food, drink, agriculture and fishing employ more than 22,000 people in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, with food manufacturing companies turning over more than £2.2 billion per annum.
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Food and drink is a key sector in the Aberdeenshire Council 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.
Pat Machray, chairman of ONE Food, Drink and Agriculture, said: “The awards recognise the sector’s drive, talent and wide range of excellent produce, while inspiring the next generation.
“Participation can secure important profile for businesses and their products while the judging process has been designed to provide commercial benefits, such as exposure to national buyers.
“We look forward to a strong field of entries as we pursue an ambitious growth agenda for the sector in the region.”
Peter Argyle, chairman of Aberdeenshire Council’s infrastructure services committee, added: “Food and drink is such an important and developing area of our diverging local economy
“It’s great to see these awards return for another year, recognising and highlighting the best of what’s on offer in north east Scotland.
“Where businesses are leading the way in terms of innovation or success it’s important to encourage that. The event is also a chance for leading figures in the industry to share ideas and best practice, further strengthening the area’s increasingly international offering.”
The closing date for entries is January 28 2019.