When you enter your product for the Quality Food Awards the following things always happen:
1. We look after your product very carefully – we store it the way you tell us to and if it needs cooking our professional and experienced kitchen team ensure your instructions are followed to the letter
2. Our team of knowledgeable and enthusiastic judges assess all aspects of your product – not just flavour but also aroma, appearance, value for money, degree of innovation, clean ingredients list, packaging design, sustainability and more
3. Every judge notes their comments on your product: these are collated and reported back to you. Many entrants tell us that receiving impartial informed feedback is one of the key benefits of entering the Q’s and has lead to product reformulation.
4. The Chair of the judging panel initiates a debate on the merits of your product
5. On this basis the panel decides whether your product should be shortlisted for an award and whether that award should be Commended, Highly Commended or Winner!
We have been judging the entrants to the Quality Food Awards this way for over 40 years. Every year we tweak and refine the process but our commitment to only awarding a Q to great-tasting products remains. This year will be no different.
Myth: Only new products win
Reality: We have had winning entries that have been on sale for many years (like a pork pie)
Only complicated products win
Reality: Winning products have included a potato and a pot of Greek yoghurt. Simple things done well.
Myth: Judges favour particular supermarkets
Reality: Our judging panels are fiercely independent and are much more interested in how the products taste than who has entered them
Myth: The more products I enter the more chance I have of winning
Reality: If you enter five similar products in a category you run the risk of splitting your support five ways. Enter your best-tasting product.
Myth: It won’t matter if the packaging is not ready in time
Reality: Judges do their very best to imagine what an unpackaged product might look like when it goes on sale but without a pdf of the design, a list of ingredients and an rsp you are unlikely to do well.
Myth: No-one reads labels
Reality: Our judges do and they are quick to pick up on strange sounding ingredients, unsubstantiated claims or odd-looking nutritional information
Myth: Expensive top-tier products are more likely to win a Q
Reality: Judges look for value-for-money whatever the rsp
Myth: It is better to be safe than sorry and add extra packaging just in case
Realty: Judges are looking for elegant packaging solutions that minimise the amount of material used: they favour recycled and recyclable packaging.
Myth: Only big companies can win a Q
Reality: Product of the Year award has been won by a small, family-run ice cream company and a venison producer who when they entered had no supermarket listings
Myth: The QFAs are only for own-label manufacturers
Reality: We love receiving entries from innovative brands who have a great product and a strong story.
So enter the Qs: be a Hit, not a Myth!