23 November 2018, 07:14 AM
  • Entries for the UK’s only organic food and drink awards will open on 7 January 2019
The BOOM awards return to celebrate the best of the organic market

Run by the organic certification body, Soil Association, the Best of Organic Market (BOOM) awards are a chance to celebrate the best of organic food, drink, hospitality and innovation, as well as the pioneers shaping a more sustainable food system.

Demand for organic has been increasing rapidly, according to the Soil Association’s Organic Market report, with organic sales growing consistently for the last seven years.

The BOOM Awards, now in their third year, celebrate what’s currently happening in the market, as well as the innovators shaping the future of food and farming. For the first time, the BOOM awards will be sponsored, with Soil Association partnering with organic grocers Abel & Cole to celebrate the best of organic.

The awards are open to all organic producers and businesses across a wide range of categories. Food and drink categories, judged blind purely on taste and quality, include:

• Categories for fresh produce, dairy, bakery, meat, fish and poultry
• Alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks
• Baby and children’s products
• New categories for 2019 include organic specialist diet and best organic snack

Prizes are not just awarded for products found in the shops – increasing numbers of restaurants and cafes are now using organic, while box schemes and local independent retailers go from strength to strength. The BOOM awards recognise the very best of these, with awards including best independent retailer, best supermarket and best box scheme.

2017’s awards saw a record number of entries, with winners including Da Mhile Distillery, Waitrose, Abel & Cole and Booja Booja’s hazelnut chocolate truffles.

Voting on the awards will be independent panels of expert judges from the organic industry, food writers, chefs and bloggers. Also joining the Soil Association to celebrate the brightest organic businesses in the UK will be a high-profile ‘BOOMbassador’ – set to be announced in early 2019 – who will take part in the judging, as well as hosting the award ceremony in a new venue.

Returning to the BOOM awards next year will be the Nation’s Favourite. This award, voted for by consumers, aims to find the public’s most-loved organic product. In 2017, over 3000 organic products were nominated and voted for, with the award claimed by Island Bakery for its Lemon Melts.

Entries for the BOOM awards close on 28 February, with judging taking place between 30 April and 3 May, ahead of an awards night on 26 June.

Clare McDermott, business development director for Soil Association Certification said: “The organic market is booming, with more people than ever looking for, talking about and choosing organic.  Small steps can make a big difference in promoting a better world, and by choosing organic shoppers are playing their part in supporting a more sustainable food system, working with nature to protect the soil, encourage wildlife, avoid antibiotics and reduce pesticide use.

“Organic farmers and producers have always been innovators and pioneers, and hundreds of products have been launched in the last year alone. The BOOM awards get bigger and bigger each year and are our chance to make some noise about organic, celebrating the amazing food and drink that organic offers.

“These awards are a UK-wide showcase of organic, so I’d encourage any organic business to enter and give themselves a chance to be recognised as the best that organic has to offer.”

A full list of categories, sub-categories and how to enter will be available on the Soil Association website from January 2019.