August 7, 2008

Small Producers Set Taste Gold Standard Local Fi Rms Take Top Honours in Food and Drink Awards


SOME of the city's smallest food and drink firms have made it to the big time after being named among the winners in this year's Great Taste Awards.

Tea merchants Brewhaha, baker Lazy Days Foods and butcher Ramsay's have all received stars from one of the industry's biggest accreditation schemes.

The awards, which are organised by the Guild of Fine Food, are often referred to as the Oscars of the food industry.

From 4753 products entered into the scheme this year, the vast majority of gold award winners were smaller producers who source local ingredients and manufacture in small batches, generally by hand.

A total of 1124 products won gold this year, most receiving a one- star grading for their general excellence in taste, texture and flavour.

Another 220 were given two stars and just 72 out of the 4753 entries were awarded the coveted three gold stars - a mark that the expert judges considered them faultless.

Bob Farrand, of the Guild of Fine Food, said: "These awards have been running for 15 years and are a recognised mark of excellence that consumers can trust.

"The winning products have been through a thorough judging process and we are able to assure consumers that the Great Taste Award logo, which all award winners can use, signifies genuine, proven fi ne food.

" Every food awarded a gold has been through three layers of judging and to achieve three stars, the foods have been tasted on at least six occasions by a total of 22 experts."

Hyndland-based Brewhaha received one star for its ginger and lemon tea. Lazy Days Foods, which produces wheat and dairy-free produce, got one for its ginger snaps and Ramsay's got a one star award for its bacon.

The awards generate huge business for those who achieve the gold standard.

Last September, the excitement created by the 2007 results increased sales to the tune of GBP640,000.

Over the past five years, they have generated more than GBP2.6million additional sales and led to products being stocked in an extra 19,900 new outlets.

This year's judging panel included former Blur bassist turned farmer Alex James, celebrity chef Mark Hix and food critic and F- Word star Tom Parker Bowles.

Originally published by Newsquest Media Group.

(c) 2008 Evening Times; Glasgow (UK). Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning. All rights Reserved.