The Judges

Best Retail Product (small, medium, large)

  • Alan Leslie, Buying Director, ALDI – Alan is responsible for all Scottish Products: Fresh Meat & Frozen Foods at Aldi. He joined Aldi as an Area Manager in 2007 after graduating from the University of Aberdeen and has worked in the States as well as Scotland, covering Frozen, Bakery, Cakes and Ambient.
  • Nikki Castley, Head of Buying, The Cress Co – Nikki has been involved in the food & drink sector for over 10 years. Previous roles include 9 years as part of the buying team for Dobbies Garden Centres.  Now heading up the buying & procurement team with the Cress Co, life is busy managing the Cress Co’s supply base and range offer. Nikki has seen many changes in the Cress Co since joining the team back in 2012, the range offer has grown significantly along with their distribution coverage, developing the Cress Co brand and increasing awareness has been a key part of her role.  Cress Co currently hold the esteemed title of No1 Distributor in the UK (as voted for by the readers of Fine Food Digest), this is a great accolade for the whole team at Cress Co and Nikki is delighted to be a part of it.

Best Brewed or Distilled Product (Retail, Foodservice)

  • Christopher S. Miller, Group Commercial Director, J.W. Filshill Limited – Chris has been involved in the beer business for over 20 years.  Previous roles were with Bass Brewers, Caledonian Brewing Company and is widely recognised for turning around the Harviestoun Brewery business as CEO from 2008 before exiting early 2014. Chris then launched the Craft Beer Clan with JW Filshill group implementing collaborative growth strategies & commercial support for craft beer & sprite producers in both domestic and international markets.  Chris is also a non-exec director of social enterprise BrewGooder the clean water lager brewed in partnership with BrewDog.

Best Foodservice Product

  • Lauren Henderson, Director, Lomond Fine Foods and Bakery Manager of Cake – a Wholesale Bakery supplying round cakes, traybakes and scones to the national coffee shop market.  After graduating, Lauren worked for a very large BRC Accredited bakery that supplies the large supermarkets and coffee shops chains etc. Working for this large bakery Lauren gained so much experience and knowledge of the baking industry. She worked closely with the production Managers, Logistics, HR, NPD, Sales and Technical.  After a year, Lauren returned to Glasgow as part of the Lomond Senior Management Team and within 4 months took on the position of Bakery Manger. Now a year and a half later, Cake has been rebranded, a new website has launched, all recipes have been overhauled, all eggs have been moved to free range, all packaging is now 100% recyclable, new photography taken for all products and the bakery is thriving! Cake has launched over 10 new products and continues to develop and innovate to drive the coffee shop offerings forward.

Best Young Business

  • Gary McDonald, Market Development Manager, Opportunity North East/Scotland Food & Drink
  • Jane MacLeod, Business Growth Manager, Opportunity North East

Investing in Skills Development

  • Gerry McBride, Strategic Relations Manager, Skills Development Scotland

Food & Drink Entrepreneur of the Year

  • Graeme Fraser, Partner, Johnston Carmichael
  • Craig Yeoman, Business Development Director, Johnston Carmichael
  • Fiona Kenneth, Audit Director, Johnston Carmichael
  • Gregor Mackintosh, Mackintosh of Glendaveny

Export Business of the Year

  • Malcolm Gunnyeon, Partner, Dentons UK LLP
  • Gary McDonald, Market Development Manager, ONE/SF&D
  • A representative of Scottish Development International

Best Food & Drink Tourism Experience

  • Bill Dean, Managing Director, Dean’s of Huntly Ltd
  • Claire Bruce, Owner, Glen Tanar and Chair, VisitAberdeenshire

Innovation Award 

  • Frank Fowlie, Partner, CMS
  • Paul Copland, Sector Innovation Services, Scottish Enterprise/Making Innovation Happen
  • Peter Cook, Director, Food, Drink & Agriculture, Opportunity North East

Most Successful Product from 2018

  • Gary Hughes, Business Gateway Manager, Aberdeenshire Council
  • Suzanne Robertson, Business Development Executive, AberdeenshireCouncil


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