New Foodie Awards category for Coventry and Warwickshire launches to find the next big food and drink brand for hospitality sector

The new Foodie Awards 2021, in partnership with Warwickshire County Council and Visit Coventry and backed by the Courier and Weekly News, is a celebration of the best of the region’s food and drink scene

There has been a new addition to the inaugural Foodie Awards for Coventry and Warwickshire. Top right shows Sarah Windrum, Chair of the CWLEP and bottom right shows the logo of Comesto, which is sponsoring the Express to Success Award. Photos suppliued

A new addition to the inaugural Foodie Awards for Coventry and Warwickshire is set to find the next big food or drink brand for hospitality.

The new Foodie Awards 2021, in partnership with Warwickshire County Council and Visit Coventry and backed by the Courier and Weekly News, is a celebration of the best of the region’s food and drink scene.

The newly added Express to Success Award, sponsored by digital wholesale supply platform Comesto will identify a producer or business that could be the next star brand for pubs and restaurants and support them in their growth.

Sarah Windrum, chair of Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP). Photo supplied

Started by experts in the sector, Stratford based Comesto was born out of a desire to support smaller premium food and drink brands and find a faster, more cost- effective alternative to the traditional wholesale model for both brands and trade buyers in independent and group-owned outlets.

The announcement of the company’s special award in the programme comes alongside support from the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) for the most heavily-contested category, the Newcomer Award.

The new Foodie Awards 2021 will culminate in an event in Coventry in July when the winners are announced.

The latest addition to the awards programme, the Express to Success Award, will not only seek to find the next big brand set to take the hospitality sector by storm, but will give that business the chance to take advantage of support from Comesto to accelerate their growth and put them on the national stage.

All relevant entries already submitted to the awards will be considered for the Express to Success Award, but any additional entries can be submitted via the Foodie Awards website until June 30.

The winner will receive:

~ A place on the Comesto shop with a free business profile.

~ Free storage of a range of products for a year (worth £200) in the main Comesto warehouse and a reduced commission fee (worth up to £1,000) on all items sold.

~ A chance to take part in live tasting events and promotional videos working with other Comesto brands directed at hospitality buyers in golf resorts and other premium sport venues.

~ A promotional in-depth article in the Comesto magazine delivered to more than 5,000 hospitality buyers.

~ A free tune-up and advice session from a top local social marketing expert.

Comesto co-founder Valentine Smith said: “We were really keen to get involved in the new Foodie Awards because the ambition it offers for the region ties in so much with what we want Comesto to offer.

"Coventry and other urban centres have a growing reputation for innovative and exciting food and drink venues alongside the more established offer of quality pubs and restaurants in Stratford, South Warwickshire and across the North Cotswolds.

“The awards aim to promote the best of these alongside the best regional food and drink producers and if the end result is that, assisted by businesses like ours, our local councils, the CWLEP and other business bodies, we connect these together, this has to be good news for both the local economy and the reputation of our region.”

Among the awards categories are the Best Newcomer award, which recognises businesses started within 18 months of the awards ceremony in July and is supported by the CWLEP.

Sarah Windrum, Chair of the CWLEP, said: “These awards fit in with my priorities as new CWLEP chair which are focused on innovation since it is vital we push the economy forward by creating skilled jobs for the short and long-term; encourage young people; and concentrate on our town and city centres which will be influenced by the digital industry.

“It has not been an easy time to launch a new business particularly in the hospitality and leisure sector which has been severely affected by the pandemic.

“The Strategic Reset Framework which has been launched by the CWLEP is focused on creating the right environment for enterprise and innovation and all the finalists in the Best Newcomer category have certainly shown plenty of that as well as helping to boost the local economy.”

Finalists for the majority of the Foodie Awards categories, including the Newcomer Award, were announced in March.

They will go on to be judged by some of the biggest food and drink names in the region, including chef Glynn Purnell; Andreas Antona, owner of The Cross in Kenilworth; and Russell Allen, managing director of Aubrey Allen.

Entries also recently closed for three special awards recognising businesses and individuals who went above and beyond during the pandemic - the Covid-19 Resilience Award backed by Visit Coventry; Food Champion Award and The Godiva Award, sponsored by Coventry BID.

Winners will be announced at an event in Coventry on July 22, which will also act as a curtain-raiser to the return of Coventry BID’s ‘Big Foodie Weekend’.

The Foodie Awards will also be raising money for The Trussell Trust network of eight food banks in Coventry and Warwickshire.