On a night where lobster sauce squared up to breaded halloumi sticks, it was ultimately a free-from food that came out on top. The Foraging Fox’s All Natural Beetroot Ketchup was named Product of the Year at the 2019 Chefs' Choice Awards on March 5, praised by judges for its “bright, vibrant colour and great taste.”
Head judge Mike Faers, founder of Food Innovation Solutions, also cited the brand’s natural ingredient list as “a massive plus.”
Though the vegan-friendly, gluten-free ketchup range only made its foodservice debut at the beginning of the year, it already has listings in retailers such as Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and Ocado, with The Telegraph highlighting it as a top choice for summer barbecues in 2018.
“Winning the award has really set us apart and elevated our offering,” said brand co-founder Frankie Fox. “It’s a huge bonus and really gives us that credibility with larger distributors, which isn’t always easy as a smaller brand entering foodservice.”
A saucy selection
The Foraging Fox wasn’t the only condiment to go home with an accolade at the Chefs' Choice Awards, which spotlight innovative lines by suppliers, wholesalers and manufacturers.
Other foodservice giants tapped into trends for success, with Brakes turning to ancient grains with its amaranth tabbouleh with feta (winner for chilled salad) and Bidfood using alcohol as an ingredient in its espresso martini cheesecake (winner for finished dessert).
Smaller companies were better represented than ever before among the 100 products shortlisted across the 19 categories. Callestick Farm froze out the rest of the competition in the ice cream category with its clotted cream with bourbon vanilla bean, and supplier Map Trading put White Pearl basmati rice on the globe in the grains competition, pointing out its Punjabi provenance.
“These awards will allow businesses in the food service supply chain to compete head-to-head in core product categories and secure a competitive advantage via independent assessment of eating quality, value and taste,” said event director Sonia Young.
"They also highlight great development work that’s delivering value to thousands of customers in pubs and bars, restaurants, hotels, cafes and other hospitality outlets.”
The Chefs' Choice Awards are organised by Food Spark’s parent company William Reed Business Media. Click here for the full list of winners.