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Breakfast icon picks up the baton

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 later this month. 


THE Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards have, for the last 11 years, celebrated all that is great about local produce and drink, recognised excellence within the county’s dining venues and rewarded those who work so hard within the culinary sector, and, for the last decade, have proudly boasted Carlsberg UK as their headline sponsor.

Now, ten years on from a deal that was intended to last only a year, the company is handing over the titular role but, as Head of Corporate Affairs, Andrew Roache, explains, with the competition going from strength to strength, the partnership does not end there: “Having called Northampton our home for over 40 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 of these awards over the last decade.

“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.

“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.”

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.”

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 per cent 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.”

Further details of the new-look awards will be announced at the launch of the 2020/21 competition later this month, after which category details and entry forms will be available at the 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 cafes – or for more information, email or call 01933 664437.

Full coverage from the launch will be published in next month’s Business Times.

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