THE Sussex Food and Drink Awards 2018 team is urging businesses and members of the public to get their nominations in.

The deadline is September 7.

The criteria for the Young Sussex Farmer of the Year category, sponsored by Plumpton College in association with Farmers Weekly, has changed.

Organisers are seeking nominations for a younger farmer aged 35 or under who is making a real difference on their own or on someone else’s farm from any sector within agriculture, horticulture or viticulture.

David Lamb, head of faculty – agriFood, wine, engineering and environment at Plumpton College, said:“We are proud to be sponsors this year and aim to give young, local farmers the opportunity to be recognised for the high quality food they produce and the positive impact they have in shaping the rural landscape in Sussex.”

The Sussex Newcomer of the Year category, co-sponsored by Kreston Reeves and Sussex Food and Drink Network, will be looking for an innovative business from any part of the food and drink sector, supporting local produce.

It must have been trading for up to three years by the end of 2017,. have the ambition and determination to succeed, and be able to demonstrate a realistic and sustainable business plan.

The organisers are very keen to support and encourage new business start ups in farming, food and drink production and across the retail and hospitality that supports local fare.

Judges will be looking for the quality of the offer, need in the market place, unique selling points, areas of innovation and whether there is any recognition to upskill and/or undertake training.

For any restaurateur, head chef or individual who knows a super talented chef aged 25 years or under, working or studying in Sussex, with a strong appreciation of all things local then now is the time to nominate them.

This popular category, sponsored by Sodexo Prestige, is always bursting with talent and the judging panel will be eager to see how the top six perform in the MasterChef style cook off which takes place in October at the Amex Stadium in Brighton.

Finalists have already been revealed for each of the other six categories in the awards and public online voting remains open until September 19. Visit