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North Highland Products Scoops Excellence Award

20th September 2007

Photograph of North Highland Products Scoops Excellence Award

North Highland Products, the fastest growing food and drink Company in Scotland, scooped the prestigious Excellence Award at this year's Highlands and Islands Food and Drink Awards, held in Inverness on Friday.

Commenting on the Award, viewed by the industry as public recognition of the company's achievements, Danny Miller, Chairman, said, "It is indeed an honour to be selected, particularly as we have been chosen by the judges from all the entries, in all categories."

"It is a fantastic achievement for a company that has been operating for just two years, in which time we have succeeded in returning profits to our producers and our partners in the supply chain," he added.

The Awards scheme, is now in its third year, celebrates the diverse range of food and drink products grown and produced locally, as well as industry related services. Gary Williamson, managing director of the award's main commercial sponsor, said, "We chose North Highlands Products because we felt the company, whose aim is to sell food and drink produced from a defined territory - within a hundred miles of the Castle of Mey - has built a strong brand name, Mey Selections, which it has developed innovatively and promoted vigorously."

Danny Miller explained that the success of the Mey Selections brand rests on the company's unswerving belief in the unique quality and provenance of food and drink from the North Highland. "What's more," he added, "We want to share that bounty with an increasing audience throughout the British Isles and overseas, returning the rewards to the individual farmers and producers who have made it all possible."

Although North Highland Products is a success story, born out of the vision of HRH The Prince Charles, Duke of Rothesay's North Highland Initiative, Mr Miller was keen stress that it would be wrong to downplay the challenges faced by any North Highland food producer. "The climate, the infrastructure, the belief 'down South' that we are all part of the 'frozen North' doesn't help. But, the vision, encouragement and practical investment from bodies such as Highland and Islands Enterprise, Caithness and Sutherland, coupled with the energy and drive of our own Team and Sainsbury's, our key retail partners, really is beginning to pay off."

Tracy Waters, Business Development Manager for Mey Selections, who accompanied Danny to collect the Award, explained, "Although it is fantastic to be here to accept the Award, it really should be all of North Highland Products' farmer members, who now number almost 300, as well as our producers of; cheese. whisky, honey, preserves, oatcakes, shortbread, fish and shellfish and, Dunbia, our meat processing partner." But, she added, "I don't think the presentation platform was quite large enough!"

Commenting on the judge's choice, Mark Williamson added, "Of the various entries, we were impressed by North Highland Products. For instance their Mey Selections Taste the Difference Meatballs, which has succeeded in introducing the brand name to a Sainsbury own-label product. We also thought that Mey Selections Barrogill North Highlands Blended Malt Scotch Whisky was a fantastic use of all the local distilleries in the area; and met a market need."

Overall, Mr Williamson commented on the company's good marketing skills, their full use of media, and the judges' belief that it was a "Lovely concept with a heart - the use of local produce."

Tracy Waters and Danny Miller of North Highlands Products being presented with Excellence Award by Derek Marshall, (Centre) of Williamson Foodservice, award sponsors.


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