The judging panel

At the very core of the Scottish Retail Food & Drink Awards lies the credibility, transparency and inclusiveness of our judging process.  To achieve the high standards we have set ourselves, we will be drawing our judging panel from a broad cross-section of the Scottish food and drink sector. Their wide and varied skillsets and expertise will be fundamental to the credibility of the new awards and we will bring on board food technologists, food scientists, food photographers, chefs, chef lecturers, home economists, food writers, bloggers, retailers and Scottish related trade associations.

This will ensure that the impartiality of our process is always upheld, and the expertise of the panel will give the assurance to entrants that their products will receive a balanced, fair and thorough assessment, all under the guidance and watchful eye of food expert Jane Milton.

The judging sessions

The robustness, thoroughness and transparency of our judging process will sit at the very heart of the Scottish Retail Food and Drink Awards.

While we had intended to host all judging sessions at Glasgow Caledonian University, the intervention of the coronavirus pandemic has made that impossible. Like everyone else in the Scottish food and drink industry, we have had to evolve our processes to remain fully compliant with all prevailing coronavirus restrictions as specified by the Scottish Government.

The impact of coronavirus, however, has only served to highlight how it is more important than ever to shine a spotlight on the remarkable and inspirational achievements of this industry in the very toughest of circumstances.

Consequently, all judging for the Scottish Retail Food & Drink Awards 2021 will take place remotely.

  • Every product entered will be judged by an expert, experienced panel of judges against our stringent criteria.
  • Every judge will receive a pack containing a sample of every product entered in their category.
  • Every judging session will be hosted and chaired remotely by our lead judges.
  • Every product entry will be assessed and appraised by the judging teams, before bringing in additional final judging panels who will validate the results.
  • Every product will be prepared by judges in line with on-pack instructions in their own home or workplace, thereby accurately replicating the consumer’s experience.
  • Our new system will continue to ensure that the values and the rigour of the process are fully upheld whist observing social distancing measures. 
  • Every entrant will receive comprehensive feedback from the judging panel, an invaluable source of expert insight that may be used to steer further product development.

Judging criteria

All shortlisted products will be assessed against a range of vital criteria including:

  • Taste, Flavour, Texture, Aroma and Appearance
    Top of the agenda – Products will obviously have to look and taste great, with a well-balanced texture and aromas.
  • Price and Value For Money
    Our judging panel will want to know the price of each product that they are judging, does it represent great value for money?  It could be a high value item, or a budget line, but does it represent good value at either price point?
  • Ingredients and Nutritional Profile
    Our eagle-eyed panel will be looking for products with a clean ingredients list, free from ‘nasties’ – does its nutritional profile meet the claims that it makes on pack?
  • Packaging
    Our panel will be looking for products that have the finest eye-catching packaging but where possible also take the current sustainability challenges into consideration
  • Innovation
    Is the product innovative? It can be an existing product that is done extremely well – or a new launch, we’re looking for the finest of both.
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