25 winners are celebrating after being awarded at the prestigious Scotland Food & Drink Excellence Awards 2017.

A record number of 820 guests attended Scotland’s food and drink ‘Oscars’, held in Edinburgh’s International Conference Centre last Thursday.

The annual awards, hosted by chef and TV Personality Simon Rimmer, are organised by Scotland Food & Drink and run in partnership with The Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland (RHASS), with Asda as headline sponsor.

Connect Local sponsored the ‘Savouries & Accompaniments’ award which was won by The Little Herb Farm based in Fife. Praised for using a range of local herbs and berries to create the unusual Tayberry & Sage Vinegar Dressing, this product was a hit with the judges.

L-R Simon Rimmer, Ceri Ritchie, The Little Herb Farm

The 25 category winners spanned the whole of the sector, with winners including; Liam Pennycook of Strathearn Distillery for ‘Young Talent’, Paterson Arran Ltd for ‘Environmental Sustainability’, Peelham Farm Produce for ‘Meat’, Mara Seaweed for ‘Healthy Choice’ and Fusion Whisky Ltd for ‘Success Through Partnership’.

One of the awards standout categories, Scottish Sourcing, crowned last year’s winner of the Food Pioneer Award, Fred Berkmiller and his l’escargot restaurants as winner. An ambassador for Scotland’s fantastic larder, the only core ingredient Fred doesn’t source Scottish is rabbit due to the lack of availability. He also recently received recognition for bringing Scottish-bred Mangalitsa meat to his Edinburgh customers, a meat extremely rare in the UK scene, originating in Hungary.

Ceri Ritchie, Project Manager, Connect Local said:

“As Scotland’s local food and drink marketing advisory service, we are proud to be part of this exciting celebration of Scotland’s incredible producers. Congratulations to all the winners, it is a huge achievement and one to relish as getting to this stage is no doubt the result of significant hard work and skill particularly when you see the standard of the companies shortlisted. We would like to express particular congratulations to The Little Herb Farm who won the Connect Local sponsored ‘Savouries & Accompaniments’ award.”

James Withers, CEO Scotland Food & Drink, said:

“Congratulations to all winners. With the new food and drink strategy, ‘Ambition 2030’ we are aiming to double the industry’s worth to the value of £30 billion by 2030, so it was fantastic to see new start-ups as well as established businesses come out on top. The industry is constantly growing, but there is always room for young pioneers, innovative products and enterprising businesses, and it’s this that will help us achieve Ambition 2030.

“Scotland is home to some of the most innovative producers and these awards give us the chance to celebrate this. Thanks to all those who entered this year, and I hope to see you back there next year.”

New for this year were the categories of Brewing (winner: Stewart Brewing Ltd) and Distilling (winner: Loch Ness Spirits Ltd), highlighting Scotland’s expansion into the flourishing spirits market. In line with current industry trends, an Own Label category was also added, crowning Aldi winner for their Specially Selected Orkney Caramel Shortbread.

Read the full list of winners here.