Prizes in any industry are something to be cherished—they are a reminder from our peers that our hard work, our important work, does not go unrecognised and unrewarded. Industry prizes are also a chance to advertise, seeing as the public will be informed of the winners. Everyone from industry veterans to businesses just starting up all know they can benefit. The new prize for Food Innovation, awarded by the Danish Food Cluster, is meant to be a step in this direction. But is it as worthwhile as it sounds?
Denmark is recognised all over the world as leading the way in terms of innovation in food. These strides into the future have been made possible by a legion of men and women all working on groundbreaking ideas. On the Danish Food Cluster website, Esben Laulund is quoted as saying that this innovation award is for those “organisations who struggle every day to give Denmark a competitive advantage internationally”, a noble aim to be sure. However, the award has been criticised as being too restrictive.
The Danish Food Cluster's innovation award can only be given to those who have been in the food industry for at least five years. This means that it can potentially overlook people who are more deserving of the prize than the eventual recipient. Obviously that's not the end of the world, but it makes the award feel slightly superficial, as if it is really about promoting the companies that make up the Cluster, and not the recipient themselves and their achievements.
As opposed to a similar prize previously handed out by the Danish Food Forum, this prize can also go to investors and businessmen who don't necessarily innovate with food. Of course, innovation can take many forms and there is no need to restrict its reach if those investors have shown the same innovative Danish talent as their more culinary rivals. However, considering it is a food award it might have been more prudent to issue more than one prize, perhaps with different categories to grant equal but separate recognition of people's talents.
Reservations aside, the prize-giving ceremony promises to be an enjoyable and impressive affair. Held in Aarhus, the home of the Danish Food Cluster, the event will take place in the fine surroundings of the Danish Technological Institute. Most of the event is open to the public, although there will be a general assembly meeting and lunch for those working for a company in the Cluster. It is an industry event, after all, although there will be press on hand to document the show. Regardless of small problems with the award itself, the recipient is guaranteed to be delighted with the recognition and the boost in exposure.
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