30 Years

History of the Food & Drink Awards

Instigated by Grampian Initiative and launched in 1991, the Grampian Initiative Food Product Innovation Awards were introduced as part of a wider programme of activity to help stimulate and reward higher levels of innovation and new product development in the Grampian food and drink industry.

In the early years the Awards, which were sponsored by Grampian Enterprise Ltd and Aberdeen Journals, had just three categories –  two categories for newly launched food products and a third for products developed but not yet launched. Winners in the first year included Mackie’s Quality Farmfoods for Luxury Dairy Ice Cream with Fresh Frozen Fruit; Baxters of Speyside for Cullen Skink; Ghillie and Glen for Environmentally Friendly Smoked Salmon and McIntosh of Dyce for Deepfill Vegetable and Cheese Pie.

The Grampian Food Forum was then established in 1993. By bringing together senior executives from the region’s food companies with representatives of Grampian Regional Council, Grampian Initiative and Grampian Enterprise, the Food Forum developed a partnership approach to making the most of the resources available to the industry and to prioritise public sector investment in it.

At that time, the Awards then became known as the Grampian Food Forum Innovation Awards until 2017 when Opportunity North East (ONE) took the lead in delivering the North East Scotland Food & Drink Awards in partnership with Aberdeenshire Council.

Previous judges have included David Sainsbury, J Sainsbury; Sir David Reid, Tesco; Allan Leighton, Asda Stores Ltd; Stuart Gates, Harrods; Alex Fisher, 3663; Peter Bruce, Entier Ltd; Joe Wall, The Cress Co; Sarah Mackie, Tesco and Brakes; Lady Claire Macdonald; Simon Cousins, BBC Landward and Michael Barker, The Grocer to name a few.

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