A number of food and drink businesses in the Highlands and Islands are celebrating after the winners of the Highlands & Islands Food & Drink Awards (HIFAD) 2019 were announced recently.
Seventeen businesses were named victorious in their categories including Muckrach Country House Hotel, Orkney Distilling Limited and Highland Charcuterie and Smokehouse.
The awards dinner and ceremony took place at the four-star Kingsmills Hotel in Inverness and was hosted by STV presenter Jennifer Reoch.
HIFAD celebrate passion, quality and innovation throughout the region. It highlights the finest businesses that are helping put the Highlands and Islands on the food and drink map.
The awards recognise key businesses across the food and drink industry in a range of categories including the Innovation Award sponsored by MacRoberts, awarded to Green Grow – Aurora Sustainability Group and Food and Drink Business Growth Award sponsored by Johnston Carmichael, awarded to Scottish Salmon Company.
The Scottish Salmon Company also picked up the Export award and also the Marketing gond at the ceremony in recognition of its performance over the past 12 months. The Company has posted record results, grown exports to nearly 70% of turnover and launched Lochlander Salmon into North America.
New for 2019, Primary Agricultural Producer of the Year, sponsored by Be Personnel, was awarded to The Really Garlicky Company. The category celebrates farmers, crofters and all primary agricultural producers who have also been involved in developing a food or drink product beyond the farm gate.
The Ambassador of the Year title, sponsored by Saffery Champness, celebrates an influential individual within the Highlands and Islands who has made a significant impact in the industry. This year it was awarded to Marian Armitage, cook, award-winning author and chair of the Shetland Food and Drink Association. This category was open to public nominations, with the final winner being chosen by the awards steering group.
Marian said: “I am delighted and honoured to accept the award of Ambassador of the Year 2019. It is a pleasure to represent our members – people and businesses, large and small – for they are the real stars. They are the folk who grow, catch, rear, produce, prepare, cook and sell the amazing food created from the raw materials that Shetland produces.”
She continued by saying: “Shetland has an increasingly vibrant food culture with several new local businesses opening in the last 18 months. Our fame has reached national and international audiences – as well as more folk at home in Shetland. This has been helped by visits from high profile journalists, film crews, writers and bloggers who are keen to highlight the flavours and provenance unique to our Islands.”
Penny Ellis, member of the award’s steering group and owner of Knockomie Hotel, said: “We have had another remarkable year enjoying the very best of what our region has to offer. The Highlands and Islands Food and Drink Awards continue to demonstrate the commitment, dedication and inspirational entrepreneurship that is flourishing in an economy that faces numerous challenges.”
She continued by saying “We have seen entries that have demonstrated innovative ways to secure funding, looking at new routes to market in the often crowded world of exporting. Our winners and finalists are to be so proud of all that they have achieved. Each year the entries are giving insights as to how they are proving to be ahead of competitors, never resting on their laurels and always willing to try something new and varied to make their product be ‘the one’ of consumer choice.”
The Highlands & Islands Food & Drink Awards launched in 2005 and have since rewarded and supported some of the region’s most celebrated food and drink businesses. The Highlands and Islands make up a large portion of Scotland’s overall food and drink exports which reached the all-time high of £1billion earlier this year.
Full details of all the awards and winners can be found at www.hifoodanddrinkawards.com.