Edinburgh salmon and haggis firms win ‘food Oscars’

James and Jo Macsween at their Loanhead factory. Picture: Ian Georgeson
James and Jo Macsween at their Loanhead factory. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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A PAIR of Capital companies are raising a glass after landing three prestigious titles at the Scottish food and drink “Oscars”.

Macsween Haggis and the Scottish Salmon Company both claimed honours at the annual bash, hosted by broadcaster Kaye Adams, in the National Museum of Scotland last night.

The Scottish Salmon Company, which has more than 60 sites across the west coast, was crowned Business of the Year, with managing director Craig Anderson and his team also picking up the Export Business of the Year award.

Exports of Scottish salmon have been on the rise, 
reaching £500 million for the first time last year. Salmon is also the UK’s most valuable food export and SSC exported to 24 countries during the first three months of this year.

Meanwhile siblings Jo and James Macsween, of Macsween Haggis, were jointly awarded a surprise Outstanding Contribution to Food & Drink accolade.

The award was presented in recognition of the company’s growth, which is driven by their vision and dedication to creating new consumers through innovative product development and social media marketing.

In total, 19 Scottish food and drink businesses and individuals were selected from a record-breaking number of entries at the bash.

In total there were 239 entries and a shortlist of 50 businesses at this year’s Scotland Food & Drink Excellence Awards 2015 – up 56 per cent from 153 entries in 2014.

In the course of their assessment of the award applications, the judging panel tasted more than 260 products during a two-day tasting session, examining submissions from 116 businesses across Scotland.

Finalists represented a broad spectrum of Scotland’s food and drink: from small companies like Isle of Skye Sea Salt Company and Charlotte Flower Chocolates through to industry giants including food service company Entier and AG Barr.

James Withers, the chief executive of Scotland Food & Drink, said: “This year’s awards have been a huge success with a record number of entries and our biggest ever award dinner with over 800 people there to celebrate the sector. The skill, passion and innovation that mark our industry is represented in the diversity of the finalists and winners.

“Food and drink is now a national success story for Scotland and the awards let us shine a light on just some of the people and world-class products that are behind that success. Crucially, it gives us the complete confidence that our industry will continue to grow in markets at home and overseas in the years to come.”

Stephen Hutt, chief executive of award partners The Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland (RHASS) said: “Tonight’s winners represent the finest of Scotland’s food and drink. We are proud to represent primary food producers who, in partnership with tonight’s winners, support Scotland’s growing reputation as one of the best places to eat in the world.”