Scottish food and drink producers gear up for annual awards

More than 30 top Scottish products have been put to the test to win one of the food industry's highest accolades - a 2007 Scottish Food and Drink Excellence Award.

The awards, now in their sixth year and organised jointly and co-sponsored by the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society and Scottish Food and Drink in association with Scottish Enterprise, are regarded as the 'Oscars' of the industry.

This year's awards will be announced at a presentation dinner in Glasgow's Kelvingrove Museum on 10 May.

Short listed products in the retail, food service and healthy eating categories from over 100 entries were assessed by a panel of industry experts at the Tesco's Product Assessment Centre in Perth.

Judges (pictured right to left) were Maggie McGinlay, director, Food & Drink, Scottish Enterprise; Fiona Angus, business manager - Nutrition, Sensory & Consumer Science at Leatherhead Food International; Fiona McLelland, deputy news editor, The Grocer; Gillian Kynoch, Scottish Food & Health co-ordinator; Wendy Barrie, director, Scottish Food Guide; Anne Crawford, group food service manager, Aramarc and Sarah Mackie, senior buying manager, Tesco Scotland.

The new environmental award and awards for brand development, direct marketing and international business of the year are currently being considered.

RHASS awards co-ordinator, David Dunsmuir, said: "Supreme quality is the name of the game in the Scottish food and drink industry and this year's awards will reflect that standard across a wide range of products.

"Many innovative ideas have come forward and it is encouraging that many firms new to the awards have entered this year - evidence that winning is a real and valuable achievement."

In addition to the RHASS and Scottish Food and Drink, the awards are also sponsored by The Grocer magazine, Scottish Development International and Healthy Living.