Scottish Sea Farms staff at the firm's Managaster site in Shetland. SSF is one of two salmon farmers shortlisted for Employer of the Year. Alness salmon processor Aquascot is also in the final. Photo: SSF.

Three salmon companies shortlisted for best employer award

Salmon farmers Scottish Sea Farms and the Scottish Salmon Company (now Bakkafrost Scotland) have been named as finalists in the Employer of the Year category in the Scotland Food & Drink Excellence Awards 2022.

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Employee-owned salmon processor Aquascot, which supplies upmarket retail chain Waitrose, has also been shortlisted in the category, and the other finalist is Aberdeenshire company Macphie, which produces a wide range of food products.

Bakkafrost Scotland has also been shortlisted for awards in three other categories: Fish and Seafood Product of the Year; Artisan Product of the Year; and Young Talent.

Bakkafrost Scotland marketing director Su Cox with the Seafood Excellence Award for the company's Native Hebridean Smoked Salmon, which has been shortlisted for two Scottish awards. Photo: Bakkafrost Scotland.

Native Hebridean

Bakkafrost Scotland’s entry in both the artisan and fish and seafood categories is its Native Hebridean Smoked Scottish Salmon, which won the “best new foodservice” award at the 2022 Seafood Excellence Awards at the Seafood Expo North America (SENA) in Boston in March. It was also named Best Smoked Fish and Seafood in the Great British Food Awards 2021. Bakkafrost Scotland brand manager Megan Laughlin is shortlisted in the young talent category.

Scotland Food & Drink, a joint government and producers’ organisation that promotes the country’s food and drink industry, shortlisted 28 individuals, teams and employers, and 48 individual items from 36 suppliers in the product categories.

Buyers from some of the UK’s biggest retailers including Asda, Co-op, Tesco and Sodexo, alongside some of the food and drink industry’s most influential figures, were part of a judging panel that tasted and scored each product.

The 21st Scotland Food & Drink Excellence Awards will be presented at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre on September 8.

Innovation and creativity

John Davidson, deputy chief executive and strategy director at Scotland Food & Drink, said: “The Excellence Awards play an important role in recognising the innovation and creativity of everyone that is building the reputation of Scotland’s larder. It was fantastic to see such a range of producers and individuals in this year’s entries and a massive congratulations to all those that have been named in the shortlist.”

Ashley Connolly, local buying manager at Asda, the headline sponsor of the awards, said customers were becoming increasingly conscious of where their food and drink is coming from and the retailer’s focus is to source high quality and innovative products that are new and exciting.

“I was delighted to be involved in the judging of this year’s Excellence Awards and it was wonderful to see such a high calibre of entries across all product categories,” added Connolly.