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Launch of Williamson Foodservice Highlands & Islands Food & Drink Awards 2010

Entries are open for the 2010 Williamson Foodservice Highlands & Islands Food & Drink Awards it was announced today.

Sponsored by Williamson Foodservice, organised by the Highlands & Islands Food & Drink Forum, and supported by Highlands and Islands Enterprise, the Awards celebrate excellence and achievement in the area’s food and drink industry.

Categories for this year include awards recognising healthier food and drink, good environmental practice, innovation, businesses working in collaboration with each other, as well as new products and new businesses. The popular Taste of the Highlands & Islands Restaurant of the Year and the Young Ambassador of the Year will also feature at the glittering Awards ceremony, due to take place at the Drumossie Hotel, Inverness, on 29 October 2010.

Gary Williamson, managing director of Williamson Foodservice and title sponsor of the event, said: “Williamson Foodservice is very pleased to be supporting the Awards as title sponsor for the sixth consecutive year. We know the importance of providing excellent product and service – encouraging high standards through the Awards is a great match for our business.”

Reid’s of Caithness won the New Product Award in 2009 for a new range of cakes and biscuits developed by the firm. Gary Reid of Reid’s of Caithness, commented: “We were delighted to win the award in 2009 – everyone in the team played a part and we were very proud to take the trophy back to Caithness. On a practical level, winning the Award has certainly helped us to grow our market in Scotland. It has also given our family business the confidence to develop more new products and to develop new markets for these products.”

Hazel Gordon, chairman of the Highland & Islands Food & Drink Forum, said: “Although operating in difficult economic times, the food and drink industry in the Highlands and Islands continues to go from strength to strength. Through the Awards, the Highlands and Islands Food and Drink Forum encourages best practice across the industry and recognises the contribution of individuals and businesses across the area.”

Chris Taylor, HIE’s Head of Tourism, Food and Drink, said: “The Highlands and Islands is home to some of the finest produce on the planet, as shown year on year in the exceptionally high standards at the Highlands and Islands Food and Drink Awards.  The food and drink sector is a vital economic force across the area and has great potential for further development, but it also plays a key role in marketing the Highlands and Islands as a holiday/visitor destination to the rest of the world. This is all the more important in 2010, Scotland’s Year of Food and Drink.”

More information on the Awards is available at http://www.hifoodanddrinkawards.com .