Wales the True Taste Food & Drink Awards

Welsh Assembly Government

Who enters:
Welsh producers, suppliers, retailers and eating establishments

Awards Outline:
This awards programme was the ‘Oscars’ of the Welsh food and drink industry. For many companies in Wales participating in the True Taste Awards, and winning awards, has delivered real business benefits in increased profile and increased sales. To pass the True Taste test and win an award it took a truly excellent product or service. Entries underwent a rigorous testing process by expert judges. There were 30 categories and awards in total. Gold, Silver and Bronze awards were given.

How did the competition work?

Stage one – gaining entries
The competition entry form was designed, printed and mailed to potential entrants.
The competition marketing involved direct mail, local and national PR, telemarketing and email. Sponsors of the competition were also sought.

Stage two – Management of entries
All entries were received by mail and email. They were all data-captured into a database and allocated unique ‘TT’ numbers according to their company, the category they had entered, and the entry number within the category.

Stage three – Taste Judging Heats
All the taste categories were firstly judged at three heats – held in the South, Mid and North of Wales. Expert judges from all over the industry including chefs, food critics, editors, and specialists in a number of fields were invited to take part in the judging.

The heats were divided by taste category and each product was ‘blind’ tasted by expert judges in that particular field. The best performing products in the heats went through to the finals. Products were received in on the delivery day, and judged the next day. All products were stored at the appropriate temperature in freezers, fridges or ambient – and leading chefs prepared products where necessary. The logistics of this operation were enormous, and attention to detail was vital.

Stage four – Taste Judging Finals
The best performing products from the taste category heats were tasted at the final and three award winners from each category were chosen.

Stage five – Paper judging
There were a number of ‘People and Places Award Categories’ that were paper judged based on supplementary information forms that companies were asked to complete. Various mystery dining, mystery retailing and telephone interviews then took place over a series of weeks. The finalists of each of these were then agreed and expert judging panels were pulled together to make final decisions.

Stage six – the award ceremony
The finalists were invited to an amazing awards ceremony, where the bronze, silver and gold prizes were awarded.

“An amazing team achievement – thanks to all the team at McCullough Moore for their energy, patience and unwavering determination to put on this incredible event. If you build it they will come!”

Lee Maycock, Chairman, Craft Guild of Chefs