← Return to press releases

Riding on the crest of a wave, Scotland produces Great Taste on the coast with the most


21/09/2020 Download PDF Download Plain Text

Following 14 weeks of judging, the results of the world’s most trusted food and drink awards, Great Taste, have been released, with many producers in Scotland now celebrating. Out of a record breaking 12,777 entries from 106 different countries, 42% were awarded a highly prized Great Taste accolade and a remarkable 294 are based in Scotland.

 

Among the Great Taste 3-star winners are a number of products that tell a story of the Scottish coastline, including; Whisky Smoked Black Garlic Sea Salt from Hawkhead Whisky Smoked in Crookston, a beautifully balanced creation that the judges found “a joy to experience”, saying this would be “a very valuable addition to the range of seasonings in anyone’s kitchen”; the “fat, juicy and softly golden” Jaffy’s Mallaig Kippers from J. Lawrie & Sons in Mallaig, ticking all the boxes for the judges with their “enticing, soft peaty aroma”, “very well-balanced smoke” and “meaty, succulent and juicy flesh”; and the “pure, clear and smooth as satin” Orkney Akvavit from the Orkney Gin Company, a traditional Scandinavian caraway-based spirit that was described as “intense, explosively flavoursome and bright in the mouth, with huge flavours of caraway and citrus coming through on a momentous finish.”

 

While these producers enjoy their success and begin displaying the unmistakable gold and black Great Taste logo, with 1-, 2- or 3- stars, on their award-winning products, they will wait with much anticipation to see if they also scoop the top awards for their region. These final honours, including the Great Taste 2020 Supreme Champion, will be announced at the virtual Great Taste Golden Fork awards event, set to take place in October.

 

Recognised as a stamp of excellence among consumers and retailers alike, Great Taste, organised by the Guild of Fine Food, values taste above all else, with no regard for branding or packaging. Whether it is cake, coffee, kippers or kombucha being judged, all products are removed from their packaging before being tasted. The judges then savour, confer and re-taste to decide which products are worthy of a 1-, 2- or 3-star award.

 

This year’s winners have been found through a combination of remote judging and socially distanced judging sessions, after the lockdown began just one week into the schedule. This necessitated a swift and comprehensive reinvention of the Great Taste process to ensure that robust judging standards were maintained and the quality of feedback was not compromised, all in time to provide a much-needed boost for food and drink producers during the all-important Christmas period.

 

The panel of judges included; cook, writer and champion of sustainable food, Melissa Hemsley, cook, writer, stylist and voice of modern vegetarian cooking, Anna Jones, celebrated Spanish chef, José Pizarro, Kavi Thakrar from Dishoom, food writer and cook, Xanthe Clay, and baker and author, Martha Collison, as well as food buyers from Selfridges, Fortnum & Mason and Waitrose. These esteemed palates have together tasted and re-judged the 3-star winners to finally agree on the Golden Fork Trophy winners and the Great Taste 2020 Supreme Champion.

 

Details of this year’s winners can be found at www.greattasteawards.co.uk and a wide range of award winning products are available to buy in delis, farm shops and independent retail outlets across the country.

 

Facts and figures about Great Taste 2020:

  • Great Taste is widely acknowledged as the most respected food accreditation scheme for artisan and speciality food producers
  • A record breaking 12,777 different products were entered in 2020
  • Entries were sent in from 106 different countries, including Estonia, Greece, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Madagascar, the Philippines, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, the USA and Vietnam
  • 144 judges took part this year. Less than usual, due to the pandemic and to ensure social distancing in both locations. However, the same number of judging layers were applied, to maintain the rigorous and robust process. Judges included the most demanding palates, belonging to food critics, chefs, restaurateurs, retail buyers, cooks, producers and a host of food writers, journalists and social media influencers
  • Judging took place over a total of 14 weeks. Having begun as planned in March 2020, the process was then halted due to COVID-19. Judging resumed in early May, when remote judging was able to take place in judges’ homes, before Great Taste returned to the judging rooms in both Dorset and London during July
  • Judging took place at the following locations:
    • Guild HQ in Gillingham, Dorset, as well several other Dorset venues
    • The Guild of Fine Food’s London home, No. 42 Southwark Street, SE1
    • The homes of regular judges, as Great Taste continued during lockdown
  • 3,818 awarded 1-star
  • 1,294 awarded 2-star
  • 205 awarded 3-star

 

As the judges searched for the stars of 2020, waste was kept to a minimum, with unused products being donated to local food banks and hampers made up of excess products for local businesses to raffle in aid of charities. No plastic plates or cutlery were used during the judging rounds, reducing plastic waste by almost 100%. The Guild of Fine Food also donates surplus computer equipment, used to record the judges’ comments, to community-based projects across the UK, which are then refurbished and used to facilitate after school clubs and many other initiatives designed to support underprivileged families.

 

A full list of winners is available from sam@freshlygroundpr.co.uk.

 

Images are available to view in the press room on the Guild of Fine Food website and high resolution images are available from sam@freshlygroundpr.co.uk.

 

For further information, please contact any of the following: 

Sam Brice at Freshly Ground PR

+44 (0) 7961 635960

sam@freshlygroundpr.co.uk

 

Tortie Farrand at the Guild of Fine Food

+44 (0) 1747 825200

tortie.farrand@gff.co.uk

 

www.gff.co.uk

www.greattasteawards.co.uk

Notes for editors: What is Great Taste?  Great Taste, founded in 1994 and organised by the Guild of Fine Food, has judged over 158,000 products in the last 27 years; each one has been blind-tasted by a team of judges who are dedicated to finding the most exquisite tasting food and drink regardless of branding or packaging.   Great Taste ratings 3-star: Extraordinarily tasty foods – around 1.5% of products are awarded a 3-star each year – don’t leave the shop without buying it! 2-star:  Above and beyond delicious – 10% of entries will achieve this rating 1-star: A food that delivers fantastic flavour. Approximately 30% of entries will achieve this rating each year.   What are Great Taste judges looking for? They’re looking for great texture and appearance. They judge the quality of ingredients and how well the maker has put the food or drink together. But above all, they are looking for truly great taste.   How did the judging work this year? Great Taste has grown and is trusted because of the rigour of its judging process. With the challenges of lockdown, and then social distancing, the Guild of Fine Food had to adapt the judging process to ensure that every entry went through enough judging layers to reach a fair rating and generate constructive feedback for the producers.   After a week of normal judging ahead of lockdown, the Guild of Fine Food quickly had to establish a way in which to judge the remaining 12,000 products. In early May, a remote judging system was established, with entries consolidated at the Guild of Fine Food’s HQ in Dorset and then sent to smaller groups of judges, working remotely and sharing the experience over Zoom. This ensured that a similar number of experts assessed every food and drink product. This remote judging suited ambient, cheese and some cured products, but judges needed to get back into the judging room in early July to tackle products which require cooking, as well as frozen puddings and other logistically challenging entries. Great Taste had fewer experts in both the London and Gillingham judging locations, so the food was passed through more teams to, again, achieve the critical number of palates to ensure that the judging criteria was met and feedback was provided. Over the years, numerous food businesses, start-ups and well-established producers have been advised how to modify their foods and have subsequently gone on to achieve Great Taste stars.   In line with previous years, tea and coffee were judged in specialist facilities to ensure correct preparation. Following the considerable efforts of the Great Taste team, the judges and the flexibility of the food producers who entered, the results and thorough feedback on each product, whether award winner or not, were published only seven weeks after the originally planned results date - and are now available for retailers and consumers to discover for themselves.   What do the stars mean for producers? Recognised as a reliable stamp of excellence among consumers, retailers and major food buyers alike, Great Taste success can be the gateway to exciting opportunities for food and drink producers. As well as seeing an uplift in sales and revenue, award-winning producers also get to enjoy raised awareness by appearing in the Great Taste book, a unique directory used by many food retailers, supplying samples for high profile events and exhibiting as part of Great Taste Markets at events including RHS Hampton Court Flower Show, CarFest and Countryfile Live. Receiving a 3-, 2- or 1-star rating for products really puts producers on the map, while opening doors to investment and export opportunities.   What should consumers look for? The logo. The Great Taste symbol is their guarantee a product has been through a rigorous and independent judging process. It’s not about smart packaging or clever marketing – it’s all about taste.   September 2020

School of Fine Food contact form

Contact the Guild of Fine Food about training opportunities
Return to the top