It takes time and a huge amount of effort to lovingly nurture your blossoming food brand from concept to shelf. There’s an untold volume of leg work required to get to the point where sales are rolling in and people want to work with you, supply and promote your products.
For some of you, this process may have taken longer than others. No doubt, it all started with your intense market research and endless taste testing (hopefully not just on your biased family and friends) where you analysed feedback and made the necessary adjustments to refine your products. But have you ever wondered how a panel of expert judges including; chefs, food critics, taste testers and food buyers with experienced pallets would judge your lovingly crafted produce? The high-end buyer at your next sales pitch could possible want to know.
Entering your products into food & drink awards may seem like a chore in the grand scheme of running your own food and drink business, but they could be more valuable than you realise – even when you don’t win!
So, why should you enter food & drink awards?
Entering your product(s) into one of the many food & drink awards is a great way to catch the eye of industry professionals, after-all they may be one of the judges. Winning an award encourages greater confidence and commercial success in businesses on a local, regional, national and international level as well as receiving added recognition from stockists and retailers.
The organisers of the awards will inevitably be shouting about all the winning products throughout the trade press and social media, some may even issue you with your own post-awards press release to ensure you get maximum exposure and raise your profile.
Being able to display highly-esteemed award logos on your products will make you stand out on ever-busy retail shelves and also in the eyes of product buyers. Don’t forget to also include them on your website, social media channels, email footers and promotional material to maximise reach and exposure.
Winning an award gives your product credibility within the market place. If a panel of expert judges have deemed your product worthy of an award, it may make all the difference when pitching to then next big retailer.
Results from the awards will allow you benchmark your product against the best the sector has to offer. It’s always valuable insight to understand where your product offering sits within its category, this may be invaluable knowledge when it comes to reassessing your products taste or packaging.
And if you don’t win, it’s worth knowing that many food & drink awards give entrants comprehensive, constructive feedback from their panel of expert judges. Gaining this kind of product insight from specialist industry professionals is vital to producers in order to grow, develop and improve their offering.
There are so many awards dedicated to this industry, the important thing is to consider what the award will do for you. Some awards are nationally recognized and highly regarded within the farm shop & deli sector, others are considered invaluable in the retail sector, whereas if you are a local producer it may be worth investigating regional awards.
It’s also worth considering that some awards are more expensive to enter than others, this cost will need to be factored into your budget. And finally, we suggest that you do not enter all your products in the same year, carefully select one, two or a handful of products initially. If you have great success you could ride the crest of the marketing/PR wave until next year’s awards where you can enter another product. For unsuccessful entrants, it’s important to review the constructive feedback, but don’t let this deter you from entering again.