Leading insurer NFU Mutual has partnered with industry body Scotland Food & Drink to launch the 2023 ‘Inspirational Young Person Award’.

Talented young people working in the food and drink industry are being encouraged to enter the fifth annual ‘Inspirational Young Person Award’.

The award seeks to uncover inspiring examples of talented people aged 16 to 26 who own, work, or study in the food and drink sector and who are a driving success in their field.

The award will highlight the innovation young people bring to Scotland’s food and drink businesses, as well as the important contribution they make to the sector’s long-term future.

Entries and nominations are now open and the closing date is July 3. The first, second and third place winners will be announced during Scottish Food & Drink Fortnight (September 5-20) and awarded cash prizes of £500, £300 and £200 respectively.

In recognition of the challenges the industry has faced economically in the last year and the part it can play environmentally such as cutting down on food waste, this year’s judges are looking for entrants who are adapting the way they work and contributing to the resilience of Scotland’s food and drink sector.

Last year’s winner was 23-year-old Craig Chambers, a Distiller at Dunnet Bay Distillers based in Thurso. He impressed the judges with his natural flair for the distillery business and the way he identified improvements and helped create new recipes designed to reduce energy consumption during distilling by 90%, which helped the business maintain the original price point for customers as energy prices increased.

Since winning the award, Craig has expanded his horizons and is presently on a placement at a distillery in South America.

Craig said: "Winning this award was an amazing high-point for me. I have since been on a placement at a distillery in Argentina to learn even more about the industry and other food and drink cultures. The prize money came in very handy for my travels too."

Mark McBrearty, NFU Mutual’s Regional Manager in Scotland and one of the judges for the award, said: “The importance of young people to Scotland’s food and drink sector cannot be overstated. This special award illustrates just how wide a contribution they make and how valuable their drive and innovation are to business success.

He added: “Like all industries, the food and drink sector has been facing some very challenging times. This year’s judging will consider how young people have responded to this and also adapted to the way they work environmentally, such as saving energy or cutting down on food waste.”

Iain Baxter, Chief Executive at Scotland Food & Drink, said: “I am really looking forward to discovering the wealth of talent – both culinary and business-focused – among the younger generation in our industry.

He added: “Scotland has a proud reputation nationally and internationally for its food, drink and hospitality. Supporting the future of our sector by recognising up and coming talent is crucial to its long-term success.”

How to Enter

The NFU Mutual and Scotland Food & Drink Inspirational Young Person Award 2022 is open for entries from today (29th March 2022 until 3rd July 2023). Submit your entry or make a nomination here (link under construction) Any individual between the ages of 16 and 26 who owns, works, or studies within a food and drink related business, organisation or institution can be nominated or enter on their own behalf. The winner will receive £500, with the second and third place finalists receiving £300 and £200 respectively. Winners will be announced in September 2022.

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