New Producer Awards 2017: Meet The Champions

These producers have shone through hundreds of entries to wow top retailers, distributors, journalists and food experts. Meet this year’s New Producer Awards shortlist and category winners

SUSTAINABLE
Judged by Paul Hargreaves, chief executive of Cotswold Fayre

WINNER: CHANGE PLEASE
Paul says: “ Sustainability, innovation and compassion run right through this remarkable business’s product, supply chain, packaging and people. The homeless are trained as baristas, paid the London Living Wage and taken off the street, as well as supporting them with housing, bank accounts and mental wellbeing. The Great Taste Award winning coffee is ethically sourced and roasted in Peckham and really is taking people off the streets. I spoke to one of them who has had his life completely turned around by this ground-breaking business."

INNOVATOR
Judged by Jason Gibb, co-founder of Bread & Jam

WINNER: BIG DROP
Jason says: “ Big Drop’s low alcohol crafted beers are brilliantly conceived and fantastically executed. The founder’s passion and expertise are clearly evident as they innovate in category that is very on trend and has buckets loads of potential. The technical details of their brewing technique demonstrate an obsessive dediction to brewing a high quality, innovative product. The branding and messaging is top drawer and the products don’t disappoint – the lager was divine, the pale ale was awesome and the stout had me jumping up out of my seat!"

CROWDFUNDED
Judged by Michael Weber, executive coordinator of purchasing & distribution at Whole Foods Market

WINNER: WORLD OF ZING
Michael says: “ These cocktails are close enough to your classics to comfort but clever ingredients are enough to charm you. Bordeaux barrel aged with the addition of Rosehip gives the Negroni a soft rounder complexity. This is a fantastic brand that has built a following on the cocktail trend of recent years coupled with artisan craft spirits. World of Zing shows a broad-minded approach to range development while staying true to the original vision. It can be seen in the further development of additional craft cocktails, clever combinations of peppers and fruit in the table sauce range, and the update of their logo. It looks as though they are taking a holistic view of their brand with future planning in mind. They seem poised to elevate themselves to next level."

NEW CONCEPT
Judged by Michael Weber, executive coordinator of purchasing & distribution at Whole Foods Market

WINNER: CO-CREATED
Michael says: “ If the two items I tasted are an indication of what can be harnessed from the recipes out there, I’m keen to try more. I’m always elated to find new baked treasures. Conceptually, bringing to life the producers of amazing food is a point of pride for WFM. I love the plans for scalability and where this could lead. Crowd sourcing the best-of the –best recipes will be a sustainable path to constant range improvement. I appreciate the use of the Community as the Brand. I would love to hear more about the collaborative process and remuneration."

YOUNG PRODUCER
Judged by Adam Sopher, co-founder and director of Joe & Seph’s

WINNER: TIGG'S
Adam says: “ Myself and the whole Joe & Seph’s team loved the intense flavours of these sauces and the innovative pack formats they come in. I also love how Tigg’s is two brothers using their Grandma’s recipe – a proper family business – and travelling all over the UK with a packed schedule of food festivals. All the finalists have achieved so much, so young, but for us Tiggs’ product shakes up their category and we see a huge potential for them in the coming years.

BEST OF BRITISH
Judged by John Shepherd, managing director of Partridges

WINNER: EASTGATE LARDER
John says: “It is extremely pleasing to see Jane Steward putting the medlar back on British tables. Our tasting panel thought her Medlar Jelly had a great texture with a full flavour and it is particularly good for cheese pairing. We also liked the jar and the labelling which emphasises the feeling that it is a delicacy. We always run out of Medlar Jelly soon after we can get hold of it in the autumn and think it is particularly suited to the discerning customers of the speciality food shop. Congratulations to Jane who as a one woman band is helping to bring about the great British medlar jelly revival."

FARM-TO-FORK
Judged by John Shepherd, managing director of Partridges

WINNER: D&J WIGNALL FARMS
John says: “It has an excellent flavour and is well packaged but in addition has an inspiring story in terms of provenance and sustainability. Yallo is a single seed variety oil, sown, grown, and harvested on previously neglected land recently brought back to life and pressed on site. The sustainability story is a lesson to us all. Not only that but the nutty flavour impressed our tasting panel and it is a versatile product with a range of additional infused oils being developed. Rapeseed Oil production has actually declined in the UK since 2011 but with initiatives like Yallo we hope to see a revival. Finally the product is nutritionally very beneficial and one that we would be very proud to see on our shelves at Partridges. It is a great credit to John and Clare Wignall."

Find the full list of shortlisted producers in the latest issue of Speciality Food, free to download here. The Supreme Champion of the New Producer Awards will be announced at Bread & Jam Festival on Friday 6th October.

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