SCOTTISH Sea Farms took the top award of the year in the food and drink industry when it won ‘Business of the Year’ at the Scotland Food & Drink Excellence Awards at Edinburgh’s International Conference Centre last night.
The company was singled out for praise by the judges at the event and also won the Innovation award.
Jim Gallagher, managing director of Scottish Sea Farms, said: ‘These two awards are a wonderful accolade for Scottish Sea Farms, our product and our entire workforce.
‘Our employees work extremely hard, in often challenging conditions in the highlands and islands of Scotland, to produce our quality salmon.
‘It is a real honour that is especially important because we have been judged among so many great businesses in Scotland, all producing fantastic food and drink.
‘We are continually investing in our business with new equipment and services being commissioned from Scottish suppliers and we also contribute directly to the communities in which we work with our Heart of the Community Trust, which has distributed in excess of half a million pounds to date.
‘Our commitment to staff and the development of young people in the business is clearly evident and we continue to innovate across all aspects of fish farming, particularly in sustainable farming methods.
‘Our relationship with our amazing clients is also worth mentioning as these long-term partnerships have helped us to continuously improve and deliver great tasting salmon that Scotland can be truly proud of.’
The Innovation category recognised Scottish Sea Farms’ pioneering activity in the development of ‘cleaner fish’ in farmed salmon production.
Scottish Sea Farms has driven innovation in this area with multi-faceted activity including ‘in house’ projects and partnership relationships involving academic institutions, industrial partners and the Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre.
This work has resulted in significant benefits in terms of production efficiency, job creation, fish welfare and reduced environmental footprint for Scottish Sea Farms, the wider Scottish salmon industry and organisations associated with the industry.
Rory Conn, UK sales and commercial manager of Scottish Sea Farms, said: ‘We hope this award for innovation serves to highlight Scottish farmed Salmon as a growing innovative industry with a strong focus on sustainability, which will continue to lead Scotland’s International reputation as a land of food and drink.’
In the past year, Scottish Sea Farms was also recognised as the Best Aquaculture Company 2015 by the Crown Estate Marine Aquaculture Awards.
It was one of the first companies in Scotland to achieve a Gold accreditation for Investors in Young People (IiYP) and won two awards at the Highlands and Islands Business Excellence Awards last September.
Earlier this year two of Scottish Sea Farms’ apprentices also won prestigious Lantra Scotland awards and SSF’s Modern Apprentice scheme has been recognised as one of the best in the industry.
Also at last night’s awards, Loch Fyne Oysters scooped the prize for Investing in People, and Buckie based Associated Seafoods Ltd was awarded the prize for export business of the year.
Meanwhile, Mara Seaweed of Edinburgh won the award in the Soups, Preservatives and Accompaniments category for its Shony Flakes, and John Ross Jr of Aberdeen’s Balmoral Fillet won the Fish and Seafood award sponsored by the Crown Estate.
The Scotland Food & Drink Excellence Awards recognise those businesses and individuals in Scotland which are leading the way with innovation, enterprise and quality.
The awards ceremony and dinner was held at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre and recognised 20 winners from 245 entries.
The dinner menu showcased produce from previous winners and finalists, such as canapés created with Native Hebridean Salmon from the Scottish Salmon Company.
Scotland Food & Drink chief executive James Withers said: ‘There has been a revolution in food and drink in Scotland and the awards show why that is.
‘We have an amazing mix of established world class business and a new generation of entrepreneurs coming through.
‘Crucially, there is now a culture of collaboration in Scotland – industry bodies and companies working together to build our reputation and our sales.
‘Challenges are never far away, but the opportunities for growth and innovation over the next few years are hugely exciting.’