Entries for the Australian Food Awards (AFA), Australia’s leading national food awards program, are now open for 2017.
Conducted annually by The Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria (RASV), the Australian Food Awards celebrates excellence and recognises the best producers of premium food across the country.
In 2016, more than 1,300 entries from 359 producers were judged by over 100 leading industry experts, with 13 Champion Trophies, 315 gold medals, 308 silver medals and 249 bronze medals awarded.
RASV CEO, Mark O’Sullivan, said a high calibre of entries are expected as the Australian Food Awards enters its second year in 2016.
“We are passionate and dedicated to growing the competition, recognising and rewarding even more of the nation’s top producers and providing opportunities for them to leverage their success locally and internationally through the Australian Food Award’s seal of excellence,” said Mr O’Sullivan.
The Australian Food Awards presents gold, silver and bronze medals, as well as Champion trophies to producers across eight overarching categories, including Dairy, Meat, Poultry, Seafood, Fresh Produce, Grains and Pulses, Pantry Goods and Convenience Foods.
Due to seasonality, judging for the Fresh Produce – Garlic category will take place in February, whilst Olive Oil and Table Olives, both which fall under the Pantry Goods category, will be judged in August. All other categories will be judged during July over a three-week period.
Producers who enter the Australian Food Awards will be invited to attend exclusive exhibitor tasting events following the judging period, providing valuable networking experiences and opportunities to trial competitor products.
Medal-winning producers will be eligible to win Champion Trophies awarded at a Presentation Dinner on Thursday 7 September 2017, including trophies for the eight overall Category Champions, overall Small, Medium and Large Champion Producer, Champion Organic Product and Champion Australian Product.
Products that are awarded Gold medal states for three consecutive years will also be eligible for the Consistency of Excellence Medal.
For participating producers, the awards offers a host of benefits including the opportunity to benchmark products, receive invaluable feedback from industry experts and to be showcased at international and local trade shows.
Bruce Burton, producer at The Milking Yard Farm in Trentham, Victoria, was thrilled to take out the 2016 Champion Poultry Trophy for his Sommerlad 100-Day Cockeral.
“We entered the Australian Food Awards because we see it as one of the most prestigious food competitions in the country.
“The Champion Trophy win gave us confidence that we were heading in the right direction and dramatically helped us to extend our reach to new customers. Our retail partners tell us that the trophy and medal artwork on our products has boosted sales of our chickens because people recognise and trust the Australian Food Awards seal,” said Mr Burton.
Peter Marshall, whose Terra Preta Truffles took out the prestigious Champion Australian Product in 2016, encouraged producers to enter the Australian Food Awards and reap the benefits.
“Winning the Champion Australian Product trophy has been terrific for morale and reaffirms that we are doing something worthwhile. The award has drawn attention and interest from many markets, particularly China and the Middle East,” said Mr Marshall.