Saturday, January 18, 2014

Calling All Food & Drink Producers : Great Taste 2014

We all know about the X Factor and The Voice (the UK one, not the Voice of Direland as that's just brutal) where people enter to win and be lauded throughout the land. Did you know that the food and drink world has a similar competition? Well pull up a chair and allow me to tell you all about it. You may be familiar with a little black and gold sticker on some of the products that you buy in your local shop, deli or supermarket. It's actually a Great Taste sticker, awarded to food and drink producers who are quite literally the best of the best. And reader, last year I was one of the judges.  I'd like to think I was a cross between Gary Barlow & Cheryl Cole : keeping it real but being honest too.  Stop laughing and keep reading...

It could be you

Great Taste, the world’s largest and most respected blind-tasted food and drink awards, opens for entry in February. 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.

What do Great Taste judges (like me) 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.


You may think that just getting 1 star is no great achievement, but I can assure you that we tasted so much food that it made your head spin. Some was obviously from the "my Mammy told me I could sing" category and was really not fit to be sent out into the world, but in the main, we tasted really excellent food and drink Trying to decide which was worthy of stars was a really difficult job, which led to some heated exchanges throughout the tasting sessions. 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.

So, do you think your product has what it takes?  Then take a deep breath and enter.  You have absolutely nothing to lose and everything to gain.


  1. Hello, my name is Francesca and I'm Italian. I stumbled upon your blog and I liked it because there are so many nice recipes that I would like to learn. I have joined your supporters. If you go too foul. Thank you.

  2. This was an evening event, so the setting was nice, warm and welcoming. The floors were dark wood with iron chandeliers above, leather club chairs and benches.