Finalists of the FoodTalk Awards 2018 have been decided by industry expert judges and announced by award hosts radio show The FoodTalk Show.

There are eight categories in the food, drinks and packaging sectors, including two All in the Taste awards, one for food and the other for drink, The Impossible to Categorise Award and the Smart Tech/Kitchen Award.

Drinks companies have been nominated in three categories: the All in the Taste Award for drink, the Clean Eating Award and the Presenter’s Award.

Finalists for the All in the Taste Award for drink, which, alongside the food version, will be chosen by the attendees of the dinner, include Yum Cha’s Moroccan mint iced tea, World of Zing’s Bordeaux barrel aged negroni and Dalston’s Cola. Other finalists in the category include Double Dutch’s pomegranate and basil tonic water and Longflint Drinks Company’s hibiscus gin and tonic.

Two of the six finalists for the Clean Eating Award, which celebrate factory-produced products that have been stripped of preservatives and additives to offer a healthier product, are beverages. These are Green Cola and Urban Cordial’s apple, lemon and fennel product.

The Presenter’s Award for the weirdest product featured on the FoodTalk Show in the past year has four finalists. The Vurger Company’s 100% plant-based burger, Dunnet Bay Distillers’ Holy Grass vodka, Chocolate Smith’s cheese and cracker chocolate and St Ewer’s Boost the Roost free-range eggs.

The industry expert judges were chosen by The FoodTalk Show and include founder of The New Covent Garden Soup Co. and Little Dish, John Stapleton, and author of hungry city and TED Talk speaker, Carolyn Steel. As well as the founder of Global Tech Advocates, Russ Shaw, managing director of The Pack Hub, Paul Jenkins, co-founder of A Plastic Planet, Sian Sutherland, editor of Food and Drink Technology, Carly Wood, and founder of Miribure, Suki Fuller.

The FoodTalk show presenter and awards judge Sue Nelson said: “We had a great day judging the winners and finalists for our annual awards. We got to taste everything from olive oil and brownies to banana ketchup and gin – well, someone has to do it! We then had the tricky task of evaluating the very best in packaging innovation and food tech. I was wowed by such creativity and continue to be amazed at the innovation in the sector. I’m really excited about its growth and how the sector is evolving.

“The standard of entries has been exceptional, making judging such a tough call. All the products blew our minds away with their ingenuity, and these awards celebrate the excellence and innovators across the whole food sector. All the winners and finalists are set to play a major role in our sector and help define its exciting future. To get to the finals is a real achievement, so congratulations to all those who made it.”

The FoodTalk Show was launched in 2016 by Nelson, CEO of Breakthrough Group, to showcase innovation in the UK in the fields of technology and food, as well as to promote the UK’s artisanal producers. It launched the FoodTalk Awards in 2017.

The finalists have been chosen from over 200 entries and the winners will be announced at the award ceremony at the Banking Hall in London, the UK, on 15 June.