Arbroath jam maker Paul Grant scoops achievement award

Richard Lochhead (left) and Paul Grant at the Scotland Food and Drink Excellence Awards Mr Grant transformed Mackays after taking over in 1995

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An Angus-based jam entrepreneur has become the first person to collect a food and drink outstanding achievement award from the Scottish government.

Mackays chairman Paul Grant was recognised at the Scotland Food and Drink Excellence Awards for his long-term contribution to the industry.

A total of 15 businesses won awards at a ceremony in Edinburgh.

They included Dumfries and Galloway-based firm St James Smokehouse, which took the Business of the Year Award.

Mackays was founded in 1938 and originally supplied the fillings for United Biscuit's jam rings.

Mr Grant took over the company in 1995 and transformed it into a marmalade and preserves brand.

The Arbroath-based company's products are now stocked in more than 50 countries, with exports making up 40% of sales.

Mackays, which employs 145 full-time staff, has won two Queen's Awards for Enterprise.

Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead, who presented Mr Grant with the outstanding achievement award, said: "I'm delighted that the panel has decided the first recipient of the award should be Paul Grant, who has transformed Mackays from a company which made biscuit fillings into an internationally-renowned maker of quality jams and marmalades.

"His efforts make him a truly worthy winner and I look forward to seeing who else will join him on our foodies roll of honour in future years."

Winners at the awards ceremony included established brands like Scotty Brand and Dean's of Huntly as well as newer firms such as Isle of Lewis-based Hebridean Sea Salt and Perthshire chocolatiers Iain Burnett - The Highland Chocolatier.

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