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Weetabix takes over sponsorship of Northamptonshire Food Awards

Northamptonshire’s food and drink Oscars revealed their new headline sponsor this week – the global breakfast giant Weetabix.

Carlsberg departs the role after ten years – having orginally come on board for just one – but is still very much involved.

Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards released a statement promising more details on a ‘new look’ awards at the launch next month but this is exciting news for long term followers of NFDA.

Recognition in the awards is hard won, rigorous judging takes place on a par with any national or international competition, but it is also backed up with support and advice for participants to help drive their businesses forward.

We are accustomed in this day and age to what the arrival of a new sponsor behind an organisation really means. Weetabix will be keen to make an impact and it will be intriguing to see what the Burton Latimer based cereal makers will bring to the show.

As a very local but also very global business, Weetabix matches the outlook of the outgoing sponsors but also reflects the awards themselves which attract attention and support from across the food and drink world and its celebrities.

The food awards announcement was as follows:

Local breakfast giant Weetabix is to become headline sponsor of the Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards, following a decade of support from Carlsberg UK.

The breakfast company, which produces 70 million of its iconic biscuits weekly at its Burton Latimer site, is proud to source its wheat for Weetabix from local farms within a 50-mile radius. The Weetabix Food Company believe this new partnership demonstrates its commitment to building on its 88 year heritage of supporting the county and building on its sustainability activities.

More details of the three-year sponsorship deal will be revealed at the launch of the 2020/21 competition next month. 

Meanwhile, despite handing over the title role, Carlsberg UK’s Head of Corporate Affairs, Andrew Roache, explains that, with the competition going from strength to strength, the company’s partnership with the Awards does not end there: “Having called Northampton our home for over forty years and being incredibly proud not only to brew here but also to employ many people from all across the county, we’re equally proud to have played such a vital role in supporting Northamptonshire’s increasingly successful food and drink sector through our sponsorship over the last decade” said Andrew.

“Their public role is of course to shine a deserved spotlight on those businesses and individuals which excel in their sphere as well as driving up standards by encouraging healthy competition, but what is perhaps less well known is the invaluable support that’s offered to all those who enter, for example in providing feedback to unsuccessful venues to enable them to improve their offering for their diners.

“Our deal was only ever intended to last a year so reaching the ten year milestone seemed a good time to hand over the headline sponsorship baton and of course we are delighted to see Weetabix pick that up, while we’re thrilled that we shall continue to play our part, including lending our considerable expertise to another of the competition’s great by-products – its mentoring panels – which form such a vital way of supporting emerging and growing businesses” Andrew added.

One of those to benefit from that latter support is internationally award-winning craft gin distillers, Warner’s, based at Harrington. The company’s original Dry Gin won the ‘New Local Drink of the Year’ title in 2014, while owners Tom Warner and Tina Warner-Keogh’s further success in being named ‘F&B Achiever of the Year’ in 2017 saw them benefit from free mentoring from some of the sector’s most senior executives, something which Tom says was crucial in the company’s growth. 

“As an entrepreneur, you face different challenges in your business that you won’t have encountered before and so having access to the kind of experienced leaders who can offer you an unbiased viewpoint and support you in making those strategic, critical decisions to take you to the next level is just invaluable” explained Tom.

“The confidence we gained from our first victory and the continuing guidance we received through our early years just goes to demonstrate the considerable, positive impact of the Awards on us and so many in the county, and the sector should be very grateful to Carlsberg UK for enabling that success over the last decade” he enthused.

Those are sentiments echoed by the competition’s Director, Rachel Mallows MBE, who firmly believes that the brewery’s support, which has helped to ensure that the competition has remained free to enter since its inception, has played a vital role in the sector’s recent prosperity: “Our finalists and winners not only consistently report a 20% or more increase in sales but also tell us that their success has given them the confidence to grow and, without forgetting the additional backing of our category sponsors and other partners, we have Carlsberg UK to thank for enabling that remarkable achievement” said Rachel.

“So, we are thrilled that Weetabix’s support will allow us to build on those accomplishments and, as we prepare to launch for our twelfth year, would like to raise a glass of Pilsner to the entire Carlsberg team in deepest appreciation of their considerable, hands-on approach to their headline sponsorship of the last ten years and of their continuing patronage” she added. 

Further details of the new-look Awards will be announced at the launch of the 2020/21 competition next month, after which category details and entry forms will be available at the Awards’ website – www.northamptonshirefoodanddrink.co.uk 

You can also follow the Awards on Twitter and Instagram at @foodawardsHQ or on Facebook at facebook.com/foodawards 
Meanwhile, to register your interest in entering the Awards – whose categories include those for pubs, producers, restaurants, chefs and cafés – or for more information, please email rachel@themallowscompany.com or call 01933 664437.

I'm the editor and owner of The NeneQuirer.

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