The three runners-up in the NFU Mutual and Scotland Food and Drink Inspirational Young Person Award have been announced, with the overall winner to be revealed at the end of the Scotland Food & Drink Fortnight on Friday 13 September.
Claire Strathern from Egglicious has been awarded second place, with two highly commended recognition prizes going to Emma Harrison of The Biscuit Barn and Chloe Crighton of Duncan’s of Deeside.
The award, which was launched in 2018 to mark the Year of Young People, aims to ensure people aged 16-26 are recognised for helping in the food and drink industry to innovate and thrive.
Claire has been a vital part of the family business Egglicious since its birth. At the age of 15, she asked for 15 hens which over the years increased due to demand of the eggs in the area near Stirling. By age 18 she was up to 300 hens and the family business began selling in shops and restaurants. Egglicious now owns 10,000 egg laying hens and is still expanding. She is heavily involved in volunteering with the Royal Highland Education Trust, doing talks and promoting the egg industry through various initiatives and activities.
As someone who lives with severe dyslexia, Claire has a passion for helping others overcome barriers and was also involved in the set-up of a small farm in an unit where she would welcome the children with autism to see the birds.
Claire said: “Considering all of this came from a hobby at age 15, I can’t believe I now have 10,000 chickens and run such an amazing agricultural business with my dad.”
Emma has spent the last two years building The Biscuit Barn , straight after high school. She runs the Lesmahagow business from the family home alongside her parents’ own business, making and selling different kinds of biscuits to local customers. Emma plans to continue growing the business with a goal to build her own kitchen, giving her the chance to create unique biscuits as well as teach classes and share her passion with others.
Emma said: “I am delighted to receive this award. My business has grown tremendously in the past six months and this award will help in my future plans.”
Chloe began working for Duncan’s of Deeside last year and instantly became a key person in the business. Starting as bakery assistant, Chloe was quickly promoted to shift supervisor. She built a strong core team around her while developing a ‘buddy’ system to ensure new starts were well supported in training. She says this has resulted in a decrease in staff turnover, which ultimately, has generated savings within the business.
Chloe said: “It’s not just me that has achieved this, it’s really the team who pull together each day to make it work, but I am truly honoured and delighted to have been nominated and to have be recognised.”
Claire, Emma and Chloe were each presented with their prizes by NFU Mutual Agents from across Scotland – David Lyle, Keith Thom, and Gill Carnegie, with runner-up winner Claire receiving £300 prize money and Emma and Chloe receiving £100 each.
Martin Malone, regional manager Northern Ireland and Scotland with NFU Mutual, said:“This year saw more high level and quality entries demonstrating diversity, excellence and customers focus. There are so many dedicated, hard-working and inspiring young people currently working in the food and drink industry and NFU Mutual is delighted to work closely with so many fantastic food and drink businesses across the sector.
“I would like to express a huge congratulations to all three of our runners-up both for their wins as part of this award and their business achievements. Well deserved!”