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Bullion Chocolate, headed by Max Scotford, winner of the Young Producer category, has been selected as the Supreme Champion of the New Producer Awards. Each of the eight contestants put on a presentation before a panel of judges including Planet Organic’s Renee Elliott (who judged the World Flavours category), Cotswold Fayre’s Paul Hargreaves (who judged the Mission-Driven category), director of ?What If!’ Ed Mehmed (who judged the Innovator category), Brand Relations’ Richard Horwell (who judged the Crowdfunded category), founder of Hotcakes and co-founder of Bread & Jam Tara Mei (who judged the Newcomer and the Young Producer categories), Selfridges product developer Jessica Abela (who judged the British Brand and Farm-to-Fork category) and Speciality Food’s Holly Shackleton. They explained why they believed their business should take home the prize. Along with the five-minute presentation, each of the category winners brought samples, which served as a visual representation of the varied nature of the category winners; these included everything from bottles of alcoholic tea to freshly-picked mushrooms.
Going first was Pranav Chopra from Nemi Teas, winners of the Mission-driven category, whose presentation focused on the balance between making amazing products with their tea and ensuring a positive impact with their refugee initiatives. Following were Amy and Jeff representing Hunter and Gather, winners of the Newcomer category, presenting their mission to “enable people to be the best versions of themselves.” Steve Jones of The Russian Food Company, winners of the World Foods category, told of the journey of a piroshki recipe that dates back 150 years. Following came Max Scotford for Bullion Chocolate, whose tale of a young entrepreneur (only 25 years old) building a company from the ground up with the simple premise of wanting to offer bean-to-bar chocolate won him the overall title. Annie, Gareth, and Dian from Hive Urban Farms, winners of the Farm-to-fork category, focused on the importance of provenance and fresh food. Following them, Ellie Phoebe Brown of Kinda Co Cheese, winners of the Innovator category, presenting a company that was born of a personal desire for a delicious vegan alternative to cheese. Vincent Efferoth of NovelTea, winners of the Crowdfunded category, talked about a product born of a simple premise: combining two of the country’s favourite drinks – tea and gin – into one product. Ending the presentations came Kecia McDougall of Never.25, winners of the British Brand Category, whose Eau De Vie is 100% Scottish.
The judges deliberated privately before announcing the overall winner at a drinks reception at 5 pm. According to Scotford, “the New Producer Awards are a fantastic platform to showcase your product, and also receive recognition for all the work you’ve put in. This year I believe there were over 400 hundred applicants and the competition was super tough, so to have come away with the win is just amazing. I was overjoyed; I’ve put so much into this and to be named the winner means the world. I’m chasing my dream, and I hope other people who have a passion for food see that and are inspired to chase theirs.” The award, Scotford says, will hopefully open many doors: “approaching businesses when you have an accolade like this shows that what [you’re] making is of a standard and retailers may potentially be interested in what [you] have to offer, making product introductions that little bit easier.” When asked about any future plans, Scotford confirmed that Bullion is looking forward and up, “at the moment we’re moving into our new factory along with building our first Bullion cafe - watch this space!”