What are the Great Taste Awards?
You’ve probably noticed Great Taste Award stickers on your favourite food or drink but what are the Great Taste Awards and how do they work? With so many producers on Barbury Hill having won Great Taste Awards, we thought it was time to discover more about this prestigious honour and find out just what that little black and gold sticker means for our talented producers.
Who is behind the Great Taste Awards?
The Great Taste Awards are the brainchild of The Guild of Fine Food, a family-owned journal publisher that covers fine food news. Established in the early 1990s, The Guild of Fine Food has been around for longer than you may think and its mission to support independent food and drink is one very close to our hearts at Barbury Hill. With over 1,300 members the Guild’s work focuses on driving excellency within the independent food and drink sector. Their work benefits producers, retailers and of course, consumers.
What’s the history of Great Taste?
The awards go back to 1995 when the Guild decided it was time to try to shine a light on delicious independent fine food which was, at that time, in decline. In its first year, the awards received less than 100 entries which were blind-tasted by 12 experts across 12 categories. But from those humble beginnings, the awards steadily gathered momentum with entries rising to around 500 with 30 experts testing their taste buds. Fast forward 25 years and the Great Taste Awards are the world’s largest and most trusted food accreditation scheme with over 12,500 entries annually, blind-tasted by over 500 experts.
What is the judging process?
Food and drink samples are submitted by the producer and blind-tasted by expert judges in classes or categories. The calibre of judges is exceptionally high – often food critics, chefs, food buyers and journalists. As a blind-tasting, all samples are carefully prepared for the judges with all packaging and branding removed and no product name visible. They are, quite rightly, judged on taste alone. A one-star award is given to a product that is simply delicious, two-stars represent an outstanding product and three-stars are only given to products that are faultless or totally exquisite!
How does it help the producer?
Small batch producers often work individually or in small teams and even though often exceptionally talented, external validation is invaluable to prove just how good their food and drink really is. Initially this often comes from family, friends and then customers. What we love about the Great Taste Awards is how they offer small producers quick and straightforward entry and the opportunity to receive impartial feedback about their products. This feedback is hugely beneficial for independent producers and those lucky enough to receive one, two or three stars can find demand for their products is hugely elevated.
How does a Great Taste Award help the consumer?
Well, what do the little gold stars mean to you? If you were looking at three similar products on the shelf or online and one had a Great Taste Award then you’d probably be persuaded to choose that one, wouldn’t you? It provides confidence the product has been vigorously tested and that it’s going to deliver. I believe Great Taste has saved me so much time when shopping for my own food and drink because I fully trust the impartial judging process. For me, that little sticker is a shortcut to excellence (as well as less time spent on indecision)!
Do you have a favourite Great Taste winner?
We have many and we’re sure you do too – the wonderful Marsden’s Fudge have been awarded over 21 Great Taste awards and Tadinka Nougat have multiple awards for the soft, chewy nougat. With more and more independent products coming onto the market every year, why not let us know your favourite. Whether they have a Great Taste Award or not, we’d love your feedback to help us build our range of delicious award-winners.
by Rebecca Lancaster, Copywriter
Rebecca, a talented writer, is a friend of Barbury Hill’s. When she’s not eating the best of British food and drink, she is writing about it. And when she’s not writing about it, she’s thinking about it.