Skilled artisan sweet maker takes second prize in Inspirational Young Person Awards

Sammy Jo Smith has been awarded second place in NFU Mutual’s Inspirational Young Person Awards

Keith Thom, NFU Mutual Agent for Strathaven and Lanark, presents Sammy Jo Smith with her prize

The 26-year-old is general operative at Aldomak in Giffnock, which manufactures Scottish sweet products and distributes ice cream accompaniments.

The award, which is in its third year, was launched by commercial insurer NFU Mutual in partnership with industry body Scotland Food and Drink, seeking to uncover inspirational examples of talented 16 to 26-year-olds who own, work or study in the food and drink sector.

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Sammy Jo has been one of Aldomak’s more senior operatives for the past five years, developing the handcrafted skills that make the company’s products prized in the market.

Trained by older members of staff, Sammy Jo has perfected many skills thanks to her natural dexterity, including Meringue and Snowball making from scratch, which she can now produce on an industrial scale.

Sammy Jo is deft at producing excellent quality products first time, every time, with a keen eye to avoiding waste, which is critical in the food sector where margins are tight and artisan skills often unvalued.

She was described by her nominee as diligent, a team player and exactly the type of young talent the food sector needs to attract in Scotland to help the sector thrive.

Sammy Jo will receive a trophy and a £300 cash prize in recognition of her second-place award.

She said: “I am very grateful to be nominated for the Inspirational Young Person award. It still hasn’t quite sunk in that I came second out of all the entrants. I never thought I’d see myself in the food industry making meringues and snowballs, but I have enjoyed learning new skills and want to keep challenging myself to go even further.”

Mark McBrearty, NFU Mutual regional manager, added: “Selecting a winner and two runners up from a record-breaking number of entries this year was too difficult, which is why we decided on an additional three awards. I am delighted to be congratulating Sammy Jo!

"All of our award-winners have not only done themselves proud, but they are also wonderful ambassadors for our world-famous food and drink industry.”