Entries for the UK’s only organic food and drink awards are now open. Run by Soil Association Certification, the UK’s largest organic certification body, the Best of Organic Market (BOOM) awards are a chance to celebrate the very best of organic food and drink.
Demand for organic is increasing rapidly, with organic sales growing consistently for the last seven years, according to Soil Association Certification’s Organic Market Report.
The BOOM Awards, now in their third year, celebrate what’s currently happening in the market, as well as the innovators shaping the future of food and farming. For the first time, the BOOM awards will be sponsored, as Soil Association Certification partners with Abel & Cole to celebrate the best of organic. The organic grocer will stock the top three products in the Best New Product category (pending commercial viability).
The prestigious awards are open to all organic producers and businesses across a wide range of categories covering product, outlet, sustainability initiatives and people. Food and drink categories, judged blind by an expert panel purely on taste and quality, include:
- Categories for fresh produce, dairy, bakery, meat, fish and poultry;
- Alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks;
- Baby and children’s products;
- Box scheme, independent retailer and supermarket;
- New categories for 2019 include organic specialist diet and best organic snack.
Prizes are not just awarded for products found in the shops – organic businesses often do things differently and the Best of Organic Innovation award will recognise pioneering production processes, product innovation and social change makers. A further award will celebrate the organic businesses leading the way in developing new and environmentally sustainable packaging solutions.
2017’s awards saw a record number of entries, with winners including Da Mhile Distillery, Waitrose, Abel & Cole and Booja Booja.
Voting on the awards will be independent panels of expert judges from the organic industry, food writers, chefs and bloggers.
Also joining Soil Association Certification to celebrate the brightest organic businesses in the UK as 2019’s “BOOMbassador” is Thomasina Miers. The Masterchef winner and co-founder of Wahaca, the UK’s first carbon-neutral restaurant chain, will take part in judging and open the prestigious award ceremony on 26 June 2019.
Thomasina said: “I’m thrilled to be joining Soil Association Certification to celebrate the best that the organic market has to offer and I’m looking forward to seeing the people and businesses that are creating change within the food industry.
“Sustainability is at the heart of everything we do at Wahaca, and the organic movement’s commitment to creating a food system that produces high quality and sustainable food and drink fits neatly with our ambitions for the future of food.”
Returning to the BOOM awards next year will be the hotly-contested ‘Nation’s Favourite’. This award, voted for by consumers, aims to find the public’s most-loved organic product. In 2017, over 3,000 organic products were nominated and voted for, with the overall awarded claimed by Island Bakery for their “mouth-watering” Lemon Melts.
Entries for the BOOM awards close on 28 February, with judging taking place between 30 April and 3 May, ahead of an awards night on 26 June.
Clare McDermott, Business Development Director for Soil Association Certification, said: “The organic market is booming, with more people than ever looking for, talking about and choosing organic. Small steps can make a big difference in promoting a better world, and by choosing organic shoppers are playing their part in supporting a more sustainable food system, working with nature to protect the soil, encourage wildlife, avoid antibiotics and reduce pesticide use.
“Organic farmers and producers have always been innovators and pioneers, and hundreds of products have been launched in the last year alone. The BOOM awards get bigger and bigger each year and are our chance to make some noise about organic, celebrating the amazing food and drink that organic offers.
“These awards are a UK-wide showcase of organic, so I’d encourage any organic business to enter and give themselves a chance to be recognised as the best that organic has to offer.”
Emma Healey, Marketing Director at Abel & Cole, said: “When Abel & Cole began 30 years ago, choice of organic products was slim, and even a tad uninteresting. Nowadays, it’s such a different story; there are brilliant organic products and brands arriving all the time.
“At Abel & Cole we’ve always loved meeting these pioneers and hearing about their dedication. It’s because of these great people that our online shop now stocks over 1,900 certified organic products. There’s more choice than ever before, it’s genuinely possible to have a completely organic weekly shop.
“We wanted to be part of the BOOM awards because supporting and celebrating organic heroes is our bread and butter; we look forward to getting to know their stories and celebrating the products and achievements they’re most proud of.”
A full list of categories, sub-categories and how to enter will be available on the Soil Association website from January 2019: https://www.soilassociation.org/boomawards/