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Change to Entry Format for The Great Taste Awards 2014

The Great Taste Awards 2014, one of the world’s largest and most respected blind-tasted food & drink awards, will soon be open for product entry and the organisers have decided to give their members of the Guild of Fine Foods a two-week advantage to get their entries in, ahead of non-members. 

General entry, with a new maximum entry cap of 10,000 products, will be open to non-members from February 24th. See information on applying for Membership to the Guild of Fine Foods, which is open to Food Producers based outside the UK, at the end of this post.

Organised by The Guild of Fine Food and judged by hundreds of food experts, Great Taste has discovered and celebrated the very best of fine food and drink for 20 years. Chefs, buyers, fine food retailers, restaurateurs, food critics and writers, blind-taste and provide valuable feedback to producers who covet the gold and black Great Taste logo which is increasingly recognised by consumers as a sign of excellence. 

The Great Taste Awards epitomise the best of small artisan food producers from around Britain & Ireland, with many producers now also coming from continental Europe. The black & gold sticker has become an accepted acknowledgement of quality and is a great public relations boost for any food producer that wins one. A 2-star or 3-star is a guarantee of increased business opportunities for your food product and will certainly followed up by calls from major buyers. Awards such as this are a great way for the smallest producers to have the chance to compete with the biggest on a level playing field where taste is king!

Beginning on Monday, 10th February, a new ‘Members’ Fortnight’ has been created as a benefit to members of the Guild of Fine Food who will be able to enter at the same price as last year and ahead of non-members. On Monday 24th February, general entry will be open until 21st March.

“This year we have decided to cap the number of Great Taste entries at 10,000 and we wanted to give a clear benefit to our members who will be able to enter for 14 days at the same rate as last year before entry fully opens” explained John Farrand, MD of the Guild of Fine Food and organiser of Great Taste.

Winning a 1-star Great Taste award brings significant benefit to producers with increased sales and brand awareness through extensive consumer and trade promotion by The Guild of Fine Food. Every year the Great Taste team receives positive feedback from producers who may only enter one product and then receive 1-star. That Great Taste logo encourages greater confidence in smaller businesses and often leads to further development of a product and entire ranges.

“Great Taste is not just about the big winners and the trophies – Great Taste benefits thousands of producers each year who greatly benefit from having a 1-star Great Taste logo on their products. We have also introduced more specific classes for wines and spirits to take into account the growing number of producers who have approached Great Taste in the last year. Great Taste classes range from truffles to chutney, porridge to single estate tea and we’re confident that our judges will find the most exceptional food and drink to carry the Great Taste stars,” said John Farrand, MD of the Guild of Fine Food and organiser of Great Taste.

Last year’s Great Taste Supreme Champion was Marybelle Greek-style Yoghurt made in Suffolk, England. “Winning Great Taste 2013 gave us the confidence to push forward into new markets," 
said Katherine Manning of Marybelle. "It presented wider opportunities and gave our brand valuable exposure to millions of people through the media and other channels – it has been a brilliant year for Marybelle." 

New Awards introduced last year included; Great Taste Shop of the Year, Nigel Barden Heritage Award, Small Artisan Producer Award and Deli Chef’s Signature Dish and these awards will continue for 2014.

Since 1994, Great Taste has been organised by The Guild of Fine Food and over the last 20 years almost 80,000 products have been blind tasted by judges including top restaurateurs, chefs, food critics, fine food retailers, buyers and cookery writers. 

What do Great Taste Judges look for?

They look for great texture and appearance. They judge the quality of ingredients and how well the maker has put the food or drink together. But above all, they look for truly great taste. Working in small teams, experts taste 20 foods in each sitting, discussing each product as a coordinating food writer transcribes their comments directly onto the Great Taste website which producers access after judging is completed. 

Over the years, numerous food businesses, start-ups and well-established producers have been advised how to modify their foods and have subsequently gone on to achieve star status. 

Any food that a judging team believes is worthy of a star is judged by at least two further teams. Only when there is a consensus will a star be awarded. For 3-stars, judges attending the session, which can be as many as 30 experts must overwhelmingly agree the food delivers that indescribable ‘wow’ factor. 

Irish Food producers did really well in last year with 496 Irish products being awarded Gold Stars. 16 Irish products received 3-Gold Stars, 61 products received 2-Gold Stars and 419 received 1-Gold Star. Those who recieved 3-Gold Stars were Corleggy Cheese, Burren Smokehouse Organic Salmon, Stonewell Cider, Kilcree Gold Organic Honey, Abbey Farm Gooseberry Preserve, William Carr & Sons Smoked Mackerel, Newgrange Gold Camelina Oil, Cashel Blue Cheese, Duncannon Smokehouse Oak Smoked Haddock, Wilkie's Organic Chocolate & Ardrahan Cheese.

If you are a supplier of speciality food and drink to delicatessens, farm shops, food halls and other 
independent retailers, the Guild of Fine Food could help you promote your products to a wider 
market outside of Ireland. Membership is also open to food producers based outside the UK and the membership fees are:
  • If turnover is below £1m, cost is: £110.00 (+VAT) Total is: £132.
  • If turnover is £1m+ cost is: £210.00 (+VAT) Total is: £252.
  • If based outside the UK with a turnover below £1m cost is: £145.
  • If based outside the UK with a turnover over £1m cost is: £245.
Remember, members can enter two weeks before anyone else!
You can download an Application Form for Membership as a Food Producer to the Guild of Fine Foods here:
where they also free and reduced cost benefits which might help you break into UK and Overseas markets.


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