The overall winners of this year’s Taste of the West Product Awards, title sponsored by financial experts Old Mill, were announced last week and 25 champion awards were awarded to food and drink producers from across the South West – in Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Somerset, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire.

In Dorset, Clipper Teas’ Peppermint tea bags were named Champions in the Non Alcoholic Drink category. 

The Taste of the West Awards have been running for over 25 years and the annual programme rewards the very best food and drink made in the West Country. It’s the largest regional food and drink awards programme in the UK, helping food and drink businesses in the South West to thrive and succeed. It’s fair to say the Taste of the West Awards logo is widely regarded as a benchmark for excellence across the whole South West region. This year almost 1,000 products were entered and despite the challenge of adhering to strict social distancing regulations, each and every one of these products was tried and tested by a panel of expert independent judges. In such a challenging year Taste of the West were delighted to see such a high standard of products entered, whereby 410 Gold awards, 180 Silver awards and 100 Commended awards were achieved.

For a full list of all the category winners, please visit www.tasteofthewest.co.uk/2020-product-champions.

Traditionally Taste of the West’s Champion Award winners are announced at a prestigious ceremony; last year the ceremony and 5-course lunch was hosted by BBC television presenter Victoria Graham in The Great Hall at Exeter University with an audience of over 400 fanatic foodies, with everyone from award-winning producers, hospitality establishments and retailers to top chefs, food writers and many others involved with and actively supporting the South West’s food and drink scene. Unfortunately this year’s ceremony was cancelled due to Covid restrictions. Hopefully next year’s event – which also coincides with Taste of the West’s 30th Anniversary – can go ahead to rightly celebrate the fantastic quality of food and drink from the West Country, as well as the passion of those who produce, serve and sell it.

Under normal circumstances, Taste of the West would now be going on to judge the coveted Supreme Champion Product Award, this year sponsored by Black & White Asset Finance Ltd, where one product is selected from this group of 25 champion winners. However, due to current lockdown restrictions this has been postponed until December when Taste of the West is hopeful that an easing in restrictions will permit it to go ahead.

This year’s Awards are title sponsored by financial experts Old Mill, who share Taste of the West’s passion for supporting local food and drink businesses from the West Country. Phil Mills, Head of Food & Drink at Old Mill, said: “Clearly these are unprecedented times with businesses facing unrivalled challenges. In response to this adversity, we have seen some real collaboration across the food & drink sector with people working together like never before in order to deliver the fantastic West Country produce we all love. This commitment means that we continue to have some of the best produce in the country on our tables and we are delighted to continue to support the sector through our continued partnership with Taste of the West.”

John Sheaves, Chief Executive of Taste of the West, said: “This year we are delighted that given the difficulties the sector has faced with the Covid-19 crisis, the level of innovation in product development has been higher than usual. Through our experience of running the UK’s largest regional food and drink awards programme, our aim is to raise the bar in terms of excellence. In this way, we know that we can offer a product to a discerning consumer market which has been thoroughly tested and evaluated. The standard of products entered this year has been exceptionally high.”

A full list of all product winners, champion finalists and winners from the Taste of the West Awards 2020 is available here: https://www.tasteofthewest.co.uk/awards

Entries into the Taste of the West Product Awards 2021 are now open, with reduced early bird entry fees applicable until the end of December 2020. Visit Taste of the West’s website to find out how you can enter your business: https://www.tasteofthewest.co.uk/business/awards or simply complete the online entry form.

Entries into the Taste of the West Hospitality & Retail Awards 2020/2021 are also open, though judging is currently on hold until Covid restrictions have been eased. To find out more please visit https://www.tasteofthewest.co.uk/business/awards or email [email protected].

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