Press Release

Second and Third Placed Runners Up in Inspirational Food and Drink Award Announced

By 5th September 2018 No Comments

The second and third placed runners-up in the Scottish food and drink industry’s newest award have today been announced, with the overall winner being revealed at the end of Scottish Food and Drink Fortnight on 16 September.

The ‘NFU Mutual and Scotland Food & Drink Inspirational Young Person Award’ has, over recent weeks, selected its four most worthy entrants who are now being recognised for their dedication, talent and contribution to the food and drink industry. Today, Lauren Leisk from Fodilicious and Ellie Sinclair of The Veg Co. have been awarded second and third places, with the judges also awarding a special recognition prize to Owen Foster of Owen’s Angus Jams.

As part of the Year of Young People, the award was designed to ensure that some of those young people between the ages of 16 and 26 who are helping the food and drink industry to innovate and thrive are recognised for their efforts.

Dana Hamlin (NFU Mutual Ingliston Agent) (left) presented the award to Lauren Leisk at her company premises in Livingston.

Having suffered from IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), Lauren Leisk spotted a gap in the UK ‘free from’ market to develop freshly prepared meal options for people who suffer from IBS and who have other dietary requirements. She set up Fodilicious in September 2017 and is currently selling from her website and to several food service clients.

Meanwhile, Ellie Sinclair of The Veg Co has thrived in her upbringing on her family farm and expanded her knowledge and experience to begin growing tomatoes and chillies and utilising these into tasty jams, spice mixes and sauces. Ellie has expansion plans, including growing pineapples in Scotland for a special new sauce and producing her ingredients on farm solely through the use of renewable energy.

Duncan Low (NFU Mutual Thainstone Agent) presented Ellie Sinclair with her prize at her company premises near Ellon in Aberdeenshire.

Owen Foster caught the eye of the judges who felt that they had to introduce a special recognition prize to reward his ingenuity. Using local produce and his Grandma’s recipes, Owen makes and sells jams, raising money for charity with every sale. Owen plans to continue supplying Glamis Castle Gift Shop and other local outlets whilst studying business management full time at college.

Lauren, Ellie and Owen were each presented with their prizes by their local NFU Mutual Agent, with second prize winner Lauren receiving £300 prize money and Ellie Sinclair receiving £200.

Margaret Hebbourn (NFU Mutual Perth Agent) presented the special recognition certificate to Owen Foster in a café in Blairgowrie called Catalan which stocks his jam.

Martin Malone, Regional Manager Northern Ireland and Scotland with NFU Mutual, said:

Selecting a winner and two runners-up from a strong field of entrants was very difficult and in fact, we found it so challenging that we also awarded an additional special recognition award. However, I am delighted to be congratulating Lauren and Ellie on coming second and third respectively and Owen for forcing us to add an additional award! All three have not only done themselves proud, but they are also wonderful ambassadors for our world-famous food and drink industry.

I was particularly impressed by the sales and marketing knowledge that they have all displayed within their entries and I feel confident that the sector is in safe hands if they are just three examples of the young people coming forward within the wonderful range of food and drink firms in Scotland.

I look forward to crowning our winner at the end of Scottish Food and Drink Fortnight.”

James Withers, Chief Executive at Scotland Food & Drink, said:

Whether it’s young farmers, exceptional students, passionate interns or entrepreneurial minds, the Scottish food and drink industry shows me regularly just how talented its younger workforce is. I am proud to work with talent of all ages but when I meet young people who are taking our industry into the future with their skills and their passion, I feel particularly inspired.

I would like to congratulate Lauren, Ellie and Owen on the inspiration they have shown, and I feel sure that I shall work alongside them, and our overall winner, at some point in the future as they further cement their positions within the Scottish food and drink sector.”

About the Award

The NFU Mutual and Scotland Food & Drink Inspirational Young Person Award 2018entries comprised online submissions of up to 750 words from individuals between the ages of 16 and 26 who own, work, or study within a food and drink related business, organisation or institution The winner receives £500, with the second and third place finalists receiving £300 and £200 respectively.

For further information please contact the press team:

Jade Devlin | 01789 455165 |


About NFU Mutual

NFU Mutual offers a wide range of products, including general insurance, life, pensions, and investments.

These products and services are delivered through the agency network of 300 offices, as well as through a direct sales and service centre.

About Scotland Food & Drink

Scotland Food & Drink, established in 2007, is a not-for-profit organisation that was created to guide food and drink companies of all sizes towards increased profitability.

Its mission is to grow the industry to a value of £30 billion by 2030 and its vision is to build Scotland’s international reputation as a Land of Food and Drink.

Scotland Food & Drink is a unique leadership organisation – supported by the Scottish Government – tasked with growing the value of Scotland’s food and drink sector, making it more profitable and delivering greater global success in a challenging and competitive environment.

About the runners-up

Fodilicious (Lauren Leisk)

The Veg Co (Ellie Sinclair)

Owen’s Angus Jams (Owen Foster)


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