The 2013 Free From Food Awards are already well into their stride with the first judging sessions, for the Christmas category coming up this week.
Because of the difficulty of getting Christmas goods in February when the main Free From Food Awards judging is done, the Christmas session is always combined with the Awards' Christmas party in late November.
Entrants for the sixteen other categories still have until the 12th December to get their entries in.
This year judges will get to sample a good selection of Christmas cakes, well seasoned with mince pies and puddings plus some exciting newcomers - a Santa's sack of dairy-free chocolates and some mulled wine chocolate.
Entry for the other sixteen categories of the 2013 awards close on the 12th December 2012, with judging taking place between 29th January and 7th February 2013. This year the awards include two new categories, for 'Children's Food' and 'Products manufactured in a nut free environment'.
A shortlist will be announced in late February and the presentation will be by Antony Worrall Thompson in central London on 16th April 2013.
To qualify for the awards foods must be free of at least one, and preferably several, of those ingredients associated with the many chronic health problems that plague the 21st century. This can include the elimination of wheat, gluten, dairy products, eggs, yeast, soya, sugar, to name a few.
Entries will be judged by a panel of over fifty judges including chefs, free-from cookery writers, dietitians, nutritionists, food industry professionals, free-from bloggers, coeliacs, those living with acute food allergies and a sprinkling of 'normal' people, both laymen and food professionals, to benchmark the products against their non-free-from equivalents.
Judges will assess the quality of products based on appearance, aroma, texture and flavour; whether they fulfil a really useful purpose for someone on a free-from diet; whether they are doing something which is really difficult to do in manufacturing terms; their nutritional profile and the clarity and accuracy of their labelling.
For more information on the awards check www.freefromfoodawards.co.uk
The Free From Food Awards were started, and are run by FoodsMatter - the UK's most comprehensive resource for allergy and intolerance and all the many health conditions that are related to them.