The traditional Arbroath Smokie from RR Spink & Sons mightily impressed at the 2005 Scottish Food and Drink Excellence Awards

One of Scotland’s most famous products, the Arbroath Smokie, was part of the entry that scooped the supreme award in the 2005 Scottish Food and Drink Excellence Awards this week. The smokies were part of a portfolio of fish delicatessen products, including smoked trout, salmon, mackerel and kippers, entered by RR Spink & Sons, whose family line has been smoking fish in Arbroath since 1715. The products also won the award for brand development, a new category introduced to reflect name and branding.
Now part of the Scot Trout Group, RR Spink & Sons embarked on a major rebranding exercise to capitalise on the east coast fishing town’s heritage and unique skills and to establish a competitive brand to lead the market in ready-to-eat fish.
The Arbroath Smokie has spearheaded the drive with sales of Spink smoked fish rising by a third in at least one multiple.
The supreme award was presented by Ross Finnie, Scottish Executive minister for environment and rural development, at a gala dinner this week in Glasgow.
Two other products - the humble tattie and a new health drink - also won double awards.
Albert Bartlett & Sons (Airdrie)’s Rooster potatoes, a rose-skinned variety with packaging featuring recipes from Scottish chef Andrew Fairlie, won the retail fruit or vegetable category and the marketing promotion award for healthy eating. Bartlett introduced this Irish variety to the UK in 2002. It is noted for high yields, taste, versatility in cooking methods and shelf appeal.
The healthy eating new product award went to Fruitality, an organic, three-berry prebiotic drink made with soya and oat milk and manufactured by Simply Organic of Bilston Glen, Midlothian, which also took the retail drink section award.
The Scottish Food and Drink Excellence Awards - now in their fourth year - are organised jointly and co-sponsored by the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland (RHASS) and Scottish Food and Drink in association with Scottish Enterprise. Other major sponsors include The Grocer, Scottish Development International and the Scottish Executive’s Healthy Living Campaign. Judges for the 2005 awards were Maggie McGinlay, director of Scottish food and drink at Scottish Enterprise; Sarah Mackie, Tesco’s senior buying manager in Scotland; Wendy Barrie, director, Scottish Food Guide; Liz Hamson, news features editor, The Grocer; David Hunt, executive development chef, Sodexho; Gillian Kynoch, Scotland’s food & health co-ordinator; Campbell Laird, MD, Three Brand Design; Ceri Ritchie, group manager rural business and marketing, SAC; and Allan Stevenson, project manager, SAOS.
Maggie McGinlay said: “We were unanimous in choosing the overall winner and RR Spink & Sons is an outstanding example of how a company can cleverly reposition itself by celebrating its heritage and the story behind the product and using this as a platform to personify the brand and range.”
Gareth Baird, RHASS director and chairman of food and drink at the Royal Highland Committee, said: “The awards have once again focused on the important connections between primary producer, processor and retailer, a collaborative effort which ensures that the consumer continues to equate Scottish food and drink with superior quality.”
Retail - Soup, Preserve, Pickle & Sauce
Traditional Scottish conserves
Buccleuch Heritage Foods
Traditional recipes and fruit combinations developed at the end of the 18th century by Joseph Florence, the much-celebrated chef at Drumlanrig, ancestral home of the Duke of Buccleuch. The conserves are produced in small batches of 18 jars at a time and are hand-stirred over an open flame.
Retail - Fish and Seafood
Range of trout products
Scot Trout and Salmon
Provençal Roasting Trout and Stuffed Trout Fillets. Both products are designed to attract younger, time-poor, cash-rich consumers - one with bone in to fit with the interest in traditional foods, while the other capitalises on the opposite market trend towards skinless, boneless products. The fish used in the products are grown on the company’s own trout farming operations.
Retail - Meat - Red, White and Game
Sponsored by The Grocer
Range of pâtés for Waitrose
Castle MacLellan Foods
The range - Kiln Roasted Salmon & Horseradish Terrine, Farmhouse Style pâté and Duck Parfait - builds on previous experience of other premium pâté concepts which have proved successful within Waitrose. The products use Scottish sourced ingredients and come with a dressing drizzle.
Retail - Fruit or Vegetable Product
Rooster potatoes
Albert Bartlett & Sons (Airdrie)
Scottish Dietary Targets for 2005 include an increase of 25% in potato consumption. Rooster potatoes were introduced into the UK market by Bartlett in 2002. Rooster produces high yields with taste benefits and versatility in cooking methods. Packaging includes recipes from Scottish chef Andrew Fairlie.
Retail - Dairy, Confectionery and Snacking
Apple Snapz
Apple Snapz
A Scottish company developed the unique process of drying apples, which produces an apple crisp with no fat, sugar or salt added. The crisps are produced from red and green apples and come in bright, modern packaging according to colour. Apple Snapz is a healthy snacking option that is intended to be of appeal to all age groups.
Retail - Bakery & Cereal Based Product
Nairn’s Oat Cakes
Simmers of Edinburgh
Consumer research indicated an opportunity to widen the market from the traditional 45-years-plus oatcake eater. Packaging was re-branded to suggest naturalness. The nutritional benefits of oats are communicated to four key consumer groups - dieters, energy seekers, wheat avoiders and diabetics.
Retail - Drink - Alcoholic & Non Alcoholic
Simply Organic
An organic, three-berry, prebiotic, no-added-sugar, dairy-free drink made with soya and oat milk. A natural shot of health-enhancing ingredients, which includes two traditional Scottish products - berries and oats. Fruitality meets the latest trends in consumer health and convenience.
Foodservice - Starter/Buffet/Appetiser
Bullet of beef pastrami
Simon Howie Butchers
A tender piece of Scottish beef sourced from Quality Meat Scotland-assured suppliers. Dry-cured by hand and coated with a blend of spices, the beef has been adapted for the foodservice market for both hot and cold service. Designed to have a longer-than-average shelf life, the Bullet of Beef Pastrami is sold raw and comes in oven-ready packaging.
Foodservice - Main Course
Chilled boxed organic lamb
This Southern Uplands farming business achieved organic status in September 2000. Since then, it has developed a significant reputation with leading hotels and restaurants for its home-produced Scottish Blackface lamb. The lambs are reared on natural hill pastures and vegetation, which impart a unique flavour to this organic meat offering.
Foodservice - Bakery & Pastry
Naan bread pizza base
Patak’s Breads
The company set out to produce a light bread dense enough to carry a pizza topping while retaining an authentic naan appearance. Breads are hand-shaped and baked in special ovens which replicate traditional Indian methods. A further processor carries out topping to produce a fusion of Indian and Italian flavours.
Foodservice - Confectionery/ Ice Cream /Dessert
Joint Award
Roasted to order espresso beans
Matthew Algie
Beans that are ordered on a Tuesday will be roasted on Wednesday, and then delivered on Thursday. Roasting coffee beans to order is believed to be a first with customers consequently able to claim that the coffee is just roasted. Three blends are on offer with distinctive flavour profiles that cater for all tastes.
Selection of individual banqueting desserts
Patisserie UK
The key to these products from Patisserie UK is to excite and surprise the consumer. Five products were presented for the awards including mousses, soufflé and a classic summer pudding with a twist - Berry Pudding Pyramid. The products have a minimal finish so the end user has the flexibility to present different menu combinations.
International Award.
Range of ice creams and dairy sorbets
Mackie’s of Scotland
Norway and Saudi Arabia are new markets but most important is South Korea where the company has established 35 fully branded ice cream parlours. Products are pitched at an affordable price with the values of an organic range plus Scottish imagery from Aberdeenshire.
Brand Development
Range of ready to eat fish for the delicatessen
RR Spink & Sons

Healthy Eating - New Product
Fruitality from Simply Organic

Healthy Eating - Marketing Promotion
Rooster potatoes from Albert Bartlett & Sons (Airdrie)

Most Successful Product 2004
Pure & Pronto vegetarian organic ready meals from Simply Organic
Direct Marketing Development
Scottish Quality Assured wild venison
Highland Game
Wild venison is exclusively selected for the UK from approved suppliers who provide full traceability. The marketing strategy focuses on the health benefits of Scottish wild venison, presenting the product as an excellent alternative to the more traditional meats. The company’s loin of venison won the 2004 Supreme Award.