The companies from the region were: Associated Seafoods Ltd in Moray which won the Export Business of the Year; Scottish Sea Farms from Oban which won the Innovation category as well as the Business of the Year award; Loch Fyne Oysters from Cairndow who took the Investing in People award; and Ninth Wave Restaurant from Mull which won the Scottish Sourcing award.
With 23 award categories celebrating excellence across Scottish food and drink, the event showcased a broad spectrum of food and drink companies from across the country.
Twenty businesses were selected from 245 entries for the awards which were announced by presenter of C4’s Sunday Brunch, Simon Rimmer, highlighting business excellence, innovation and best practice across the Scottish Food and Drink industry.
A surprise award, sponsored by the Scottish Government, was presented by new Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Connectivity Fergus Ewing to Jim Walker of Walkers for his outstanding contribution to the food and drink industry. The award recognised his work developing the family business from a village bakery operating in Speyside to an international brand, marketed in more than 80 widely spread overseas markets.
HIE’s Head of Food and Drink, Elaine Jamieson, said: “Our congratulations go to the winners and the runners-up who have all risen to the challenge and ensured the reputation of our produce is alongside the best in the world. We hope that the accolades will help them all to develop their businesses and continue to grow in markets at home and around the world in years to come. We are delighted to be working with our industry partners to help companies based in the Highlands and Islands to increase sales and enter new markets.”
Scotland Food & Drink Chief Executive James Withers said: "Congratulations to all winners and finalists who have been selected from a record number of entries by our panel of more than 35 judges. They recognise the people, products and practices which make Scotland a Land of Food and Drink and represent the wealth of our industry from artisan producers to established brands.
“Welcoming 800 people to the sold out awards ceremony and dinner is testament to the success of the sector and the widespread recognition of these awards. This flagship event is a great opportunity to take stock of success to date and to look ahead to the future as we shape the industry’s strategy to 2030.
"There has been a revolution in food and drink in Scotland and the awards show why that is. We have an amazing mix of established world-class business and a new generation of entrepreneurs coming through. Crucially, there is now a culture of collaboration in Scotland - industry bodies and companies working together to build our reputation and our sales. Challenges are never far away, but the opportunities for growth and innovation over the next few years are hugely exciting."
The awards are organised by Scotland Food & Drink in partnership with The Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland (RHASS). The title sponsor is Asda and the awards are supported by Think Local.