Meat producers hold their own

ORGANIC, SMOKED and speciality meat producers were among 15 companies to receive accolades for quality Scottish food and drink this year. Meat companies included Rannoch Smokery, Scottish Organic Lamb, and Scottish Wild Venison

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The winners of this year's Scottish Food and Drink Excellence Awards were presented with their prizes by Ross Finnie, the Scottish Food Minister. Winners are selected from more than 50 short-listed products in six categories - retail, food service, international business, brand development, direct marketing and healthy eating. Rannoch Smokery won the retail meat category for its range of 15 smoked meats. The company's combination of tradition and state-of-the-art equipment, quality packaging and relevant market research has ensured listings in leading multiples and delicatessens.

The Direct Marketing Development was won by Organic Lamb in Knockreoch, Dalry, Castle Douglas. Since achieving organic status in September 2000, the Southern Uplands farming business has gained increasing recognition for its lamb. Winner of the Healthy Eating category was Highland Game in Dundee for its quality-assured Scottish wild venison products - pave steaks, medallions and diced venison. Claire Goody, assistant marketing manager at Highland Game, said: "Many people don't appreciate how easy and versatile venison is for every day meals."

Finney said: "Scotland enjoys an excellent worldwide reputation for its food and drink and the Scottish Execu-tive is committed to working with the industry to open new markets at home and abroad. The diversity, quality and innovation of Scottish products is a real testament to Scottish companies which have identified new markets and secured clients worldwide.

"Scotland has much to be proud of in its produce. We are a small nation but our products are among the best in the world," he said. Gareth Baird, RHASS director and chairman of its Food and Drink Committee, said the winners of the awards had once again demonstrated that quality was the key word when it came to the production, marketing and sales of Scottish food and drink.

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