Scottish Retail Food & Drink Awards 2023 finalists revealed

Thirteen Northern Ireland food products are amongst the ninety outstanding food and drink products to have made it onto the shortlist for the Scottish Retail Food & Drink Awards 2023.

The products represent a broad selection of food and drink categories and were chosen by 50 experienced, expert judges after more than four weeks of intense judging.

Local companies Corndale Farm, Craic Foods, Dart Mountain Cheese, Glens of Antrim (Shindigs Crisps), Mash Direct, Milgro (ONIT Crispy Onions) and Thompsons Family Teas (Punjana) have all made it through to the grand finale on Thursday 25 May.       

To replicate the consumer experience as closely as possible, the majority of the judging was carried out at home with the judges having the products delivered to their doorsteps, allowing them to experience the products in exactly the same way as consumers would.

The final phase of the judging, including the Platinum judging, was carried out in two days of face-to-face sessions at The Corinthian in Glasgow where its executive chef prepared the products in line with on-pack instructions for the Platinum judging panel.

Bruce Langlands, former head of food & beverage at Harrods and Selfridges and chair of the Platinum judging panel, commented: “I was thrilled to once again be involved with The Scottish Retail Food & Drink Awards and it has been so encouraging to see that the high standards we have come to expect from the entries has been more than maintained. With so many amazing products to judge, it’s critical that they all get the chance to shine, and I firmly believe that our unique judging process allows them to do just that. We pride ourselves as judges on being entirely fair and completely transparent and on ensuring the very highest standards of judging. I also have to say that over the last month or so we have tasted some absolutely outstanding products.

“As a proud Scot, I’m delighted to see that the food and drink industry is in fantastic shape; we’ve seen some outstanding creativity, innovation and quality during the judging. With locally, regionally and nationally sourced products arguably more popular than ever, there is clearly no shortage of fantastic Scottish food and drink products available to tempt retailers and consumers.

“I really believe that many of this year’s winners will go on to secure new listings in Scottish retail outlets and, when that happens, we can take pride in the small part we played in helping that happen.”

SRFDA director Antony Begley added: “It has been another fantastic year for the SRFDAs with outstanding entries across every food and drink category, which more than kept the expert judging panel on their toes. Over the course of several weeks the panel of 50 judges from a comprehensive range of disciplines tried every single product and, once again, the judging proved challenging and rewarding in equal measure.

“The vast majority of the judging was once again done from the comfort of our judges’ own homes, allowing them to experience the products just as consumers would, often revisiting products on three or four separate occasions. And I think it’s fair to say that our judges thoroughly enjoyed the experience and the opportunity to try so many exciting products.

“The passion and vibrancy in the Scottish retail food and drink sector is truly inspirational and we look forward to both announcing the winners on 25 May and to working with all winners and entrants to help them develop their brands and grow sales long into the future.”

All of the food products remaining after the judging were donated to Homeless Project Scotland, a charity that supports homeless, vulnerable and less fortunate families across Scotland.

Food – UK Producer Shortlist

Buffalo Bresaola (Corndale Farm)

Chorizo Original Picante (Corndale Farm)

Fennel Salami (Corndale Farm)

Pasta Sauce Pomodoro (CRAIC Foods Ltd)

Corndale Farm Nduja Ketchup (CRAIC Foods Ltd)

Derry IPA Drizzle (Dart Mountain)

Banagher Bold Cheese (Dart Mountain)

Shindigs Whiskey Smoked Bacon (Glens of Antrim Potatoes)

Shindigs Irish Sea Salt & Vinegar (Glens of Antrim Potatoes)

Mash Direct Mashed Potato (Mash Direct)

Mash Direct Beer Battered Onion Rings (Mash Direct)

ONIT Crispy Onions Flame Grilled Flavour 95g (Milgro Ltd)

Thompson’s Signature Blend (Punjana)

The winners of the Scottish Retail Food & Drink Awards 2023 will be announced at a special ceremony on Thursday 25 May at the Radisson blu hotel in Glasgow.