5 tips on entering food awards


Last week Free From Food Awards announced its 2016 shortlist signalling that this year’s awards season is underway.

Why enter awards? Providing you are entering an appropriate one, they can help you catch the eye of the buyers, and the consumers that you are trying to reach. An award enables you to stand out in a crowded market and gives people a reason to trust a new or less well known brand. It’s good PR too, not just or the external recognition it brings but also for your team as they earn some well-deserved kudos. If the awards themselves have a good PR machine, both they and you can often generate positive coverage as a result.

Here are my top 5 tips on entering awards:

1. Plan which ones you want to enter as part of your overall business development strategy and then as part of your marketing plan.

2. Only enter awards that make sense for you, for example that will help you perform better in a key growth market.

3. Make sure you read the entry criteria and that your brand or product is eligible. Don’t enter if you don’t meet all the criteria as you may well be disqualified but still charged the entry fee.

4. Make sure you are able to provide all the information required by the judges. Make it easy for them to read and evaluate your product. Be sure to stick to the wordcount given otherwise judges may only read or even see your first 100 words. If they ask for samples, send them clearly labelled with information on who they are from, what category you have entered and the contact details. Don’t forget to supply the RRP if asked – it’s very hard for judges to make a value call without a price!

5. If you are shortlisted and then go on to win, make sure you tell people, do your PR, and don’t forget to stick the logos on your packs, email footers and website so people see your accolade.


Jane Milton has been developing strategies and structures for food awards for 15 years. She’s a consultant and judge on the FreeFrom Food Awards, the Quality Food Awards and often appears on judging panels for other industry awards. She works with large and small businesses to help them identify the most appropriate awards to enter, the right products, to collate their entry information and to capitalise on their wins.

Sign up to our newsletter

To access our Business Growth Tool Kit enter your email address.