Last Updated: 18/07/2023
Free From Awards Terms and Conditions
The Organisers or the FFA – the Free From Awards organisation that runs the Free From Food Awards and the Free From Christmas Awards.
The FFFA or the FFCA – the events (awards cycles), run by the FFA, namely the Free From Food Awards and the Free From Christmas Awards
User account – the area where you submit and pay for entries, and which contains all submitted entries.
Primary email – the email address listed in the user account, to which correspondence about FFFA entries, sample deliveries and results will be sent.
Entrant – the company or person entering a product into the FFFA
- Entry into FFA is electronic via a dedicated online portal/account accessed via weblink.
- All entries should be submitted by ONE person who has access to the EMAIL ADDRESS & PASSWORD.
- A correct EMAIL address for one point of contact should be given for all FFA correspondence.
- It is the responsibility of all entrants to ensure that the domain name freefromfoodawards.co.uk is added to a safe senders list to avoid missing important FFA information.
- It is the responsibility of all entrants taking part in FFFA to provide correct information and spellings of company names, product names, contact details and most importantly a primary email address where all FFFA related instructions will be sent.
- The contact email should be for the person who is coordinating delivery of the samples for judging.
- FFA is open to food producers, importers, distributors, and retailers of food and drink products.
Conditions & requirements for entry:
- To qualify for entry into the Free From Awards products must be free from at least one of the top 14 UK-listed major allergens with no precautionary allergen labelling for the allergen/s specified in the free from claim, e.g. product cannot claim to be gluten free and have a ‘may contain’ warning for gluten.
- All entries must be commercially available nationwide by the dates stipulated in the Entry Guide (relevant to each awards cycle) to the general public i.e. sold through independent retailers, online* or a multiple retailer – the exceptions being entries into:
- Food Service which must be available to foodservice or in production with a desire to supply to a wholesaler
- International Recognition which must be available overseas only
- *A valid UK website from which products can be bought must be supplied (except for nationwide in-store only retailers).
- Products previously entered into the Free From Food & Christmas Awards are eligible for re-entry.
- Groups, networks or PR companies entering products on behalf of a client or clients MUST enter EACH product under the COMPANY NAME of the producer.
- The organisers take the product/free from labelling and any/all accompanying information at face value and assume that the supplier can justify all claims. If anything needs clarification the organisers reserve the right to ask for more information.
- Products in most categories are judged blind, except where stipulated on the entry criteria, Judging Criteria can be found here.
- Therefore it is VERY IMPORTANT that you answer each mandatory question as fully as possible when submitting product entries.
- We do not accept a ‘range’ of flavour variations in one entry, unless they are sold as one product. Each flavour or variation of the product is a separate entry.
- Entry form must be correct by entry close deadline pertaining to each awards cycle. Only in extreme circumstances will amendments to entries be made, and only at the discretion of the FFA.
- PAL – we follow the Food Standards Agency guidance on precautionary allergen labelling: if there is a risk of a food product being affected by allergen cross-contamination, the label should include one of the following statements: ‘may contain X’ ~ ‘not suitable for someone with X allergy’. Precautionary allergen labelling should only be used after a thorough risk assessment. It should only be used if the risk of allergen cross-contamination is real and cannot be removed.
If the product does not carry any PAL – eg ‘may contain’ warnings – we assume that a full risk assessment has been carried out and that comprehensive allergen management protocols are in place so that even if one of the top 14 major allergens is handled by the same factory there will be no risk to the allergic consumer.
PAL stating that the product is ‘manufactured in a factory/kitchen which also handles/uses X allergen’ will be considered equal to a ‘may contain X allergen’ warning.
- No entry will be accepted after entry is closed.
- An extension for entering may be added after closure date.
- Entries can be withdrawn after the awards’ closure date but no refund of entry fees will be given for products that, for whatever reason, are not available for the judging or are not on the market by the required date (see point 8)
- Entry fees are scaled to company turnover, and the three-tiers can be found on the website.
- The Organisers ask for confirmation that entrants can qualify for either of the lower entry fees, we will not ask for proof.
- 10% discount is applied on fully completed entry forms received before date stipulated for each awards cycle
- Payment, in full, for each entry must have been received through the awards’ payment portal or, if the entrant cannot for whatever reason use the portal, a purchase order or other arrangement for payment must have been received by the awards by the closing date for the awards.
- A VAT receipted invoice will be emailed to you on completion of your online transaction. This is the ONLY receipt you will receive.
- No refunds will be made if a product has to be withdrawn from entry into the FFFA after the entry has closed. However, if you contact the office before entries close, the FFA may be able to either make a refund (depending on circumstances and at the discretion of the FFA), accept an alternative product in its place, or offer entry into an alternative FFFA/FFCA cycle.
- Companies may enter as many products in as many categories as they wish. Cost of entry is per product in each category entered. Each flavour or variation of the product is a separate entry. For example – if a Micro Company wants to enter 1 flavour of 1 product = £105 + VAT x 3 categories entered = total of £315 + VAT.
- Any product for which the entry fee has not been received by the end of judging will forfeit its entry into the awards and will result in products not being judged.
Samples and Judging Sessions:
- Entrants will be asked to submit tasting samples. Details of where, when and how much to send will be provided via the user account, on the website and other email delivery service.
- Judging will take place at time stipulated for each awards cycle at a location in London.
- Samples submitted must be EITHER production products on retail sale to the public or IDENTICAL pre-production samples in identical mock-up packaging.
- All samples must be received by the deadline specified or the product will forfeit its entry into the FFFA and its entry fee.
- The organisers will prepare products for tasting according to the printed instructions on the packs in which the products are sold, or according to the instructions received via entry submission.
- All products are judged blind, exclusively on ingredients, texture, presentation, innovation, usefulness, taste and flavour.
- All products are removed from original packaging prior to judging, to ensure blind tasting.
- For operational reasons the FFFA may specify different delivery dates to a company with more than one entry – this will only be for ease of storage at the judging headquarters. Entrants will be sent an email to the primary email address listed in their Company Profile.
- It is the responsibility of the entrant to ensure the prompt and safe delivery of all products by the requested date for delivery. Failure to do so may result in disqualification.
- Please state clearly if product(s) need to be refrigerated or frozen and every entry MUST carry a Use By or Best Before date. If a product is outside of its use by date at time of judging it will be disqualified.
- It is the entrant’s responsibility to ensure that all products are packed, transported and delivered in a condition fit and safe for consumption by the judges.
- Any products arriving in a damaged or unsafe condition will be disqualified. This includes any product requiring refrigeration with no prior notification or poor labelling. Chilled or Frozen products received at the incorrect temperature will be rejected and the product(s) recalled.
- Any postal charges applicable to the delivery of an entry must be paid by the entrant. If applicable, the Organisers will seek to reclaim any such charges incurred from the entrant.
- If there is a balance outstanding for the company payable to the FFA, entries may not be called for delivery until payment is received and no refunds for entries will be given.
- The Organisers will take great care to ensure safe-keeping of all entries throughout the judging process. However the Organisers, their employees and associates cannot be held responsible for this safe keeping.
- The Organisers will make every effort to cook and prepare your product(s) following the label guidelines, or specific instructions. It is the responsibility of the entrant to ensure that relevant information is sent with the product or detailed in the entry form.
- No products can be returned to entrants.
Finalists, Medallists, Logos, Certificates, Feedback and Presentation Party:
- A ‘finalist’ is a product that has been earmarked as potentially medal-winning by the judges, and will be placed on a shortlist called ‘Finalists’ until the medal winners have been announced
- A ‘winner’ or ‘medallist’ is a product that is awarded a bronze, silver, gold or winner by the judges.
- We will award gold, silver and bronze awards, as well as ‘Commended’ in each food and drink category.
- For entrants into the Free From Food Awards an email will be sent out to the entrants with a link to the details of the Finalists after the judging has taken place. The Free From Christmas Awards has no shortlist.
- Entrants into the Free From Christmas Awards will be asked to sign a NDA statement at point of entry; all Winners will be notified privately in advance of the announcements, giving them time to make best use of their wins in the run up to Christmas. The NDA will prevent any results being shared publicly before the Christmas Award winners have been published.
- The Finalists will be published on the FFA website.
- All ‘winners’ or ‘medallists’ will be announced at an FFA Presentation, dates vary depending on each awards cycle.
- The full and final results featuring all products that have won a medal will be available online after the FFA Presentation.
- The Products of the Year will be drawn from all the categories.
- FFFA only: to qualify for Retailer of the Year, a minimum of 40 products must be entered of which the top scoring 30 will be taken into account (Large Retailers); and a minimum of 20 products must be entered of which the top scoring 15 will be taken into account (Convenience Retailers).
- FFCA only: to qualify for Christmas Range of the Year, a minimum of 15 products must be entered with at least one entry into each of the six food categories (excluding Drinks) of which the top scoring 10 will be taken into account.
- FFFA only: to qualify for the Best Independent Brand of the Year, a minimum of 3 products must be entered.
- FFCA only: to qualify for the Best Independent Christmas Brand of the Year, a minimum of 3 products (small company) or 6 products (large company) must be entered.
- An email alert from the Organisers will be sent out to all entrants, judges, sponsors and related contacts as soon as the Winners are published on the FFA website.
- Own label products may be entered either by retailers or manufacturers but only retailers/own-brand names will be credited with the entry for allocation of Presentation Party tickets (where relevant).
- Award certificates are available on request by email and post
- The FFA reserves the right to talk about winners and share carefully selected judges’ comments on our social media platforms.
- All feedback from the judges about each and every entry can be sent out on request free of charge to the entrant responsible for the submitting product entry after the FFA Presentation has taken place – this feedback is deemed to be the property of the entrant from then on.
- The identity of all judges involved in the FFFA judging sessions will be kept secret until after the judging has been completed.
- Abridged judges’ comments for all medallists are on the Winners’ pages, and all comments relating to each product are available to the company entering the product on request.
- FFA logos and certificates will be available to companies wishing to use them for promotional purposes. There is no charge for using the logo.
- Use of the FFA logo must be in accordance with the guidelines:
Winning, finalist, commended and entrant logos can be displayed*:
- on the product that entered, is a finalist, and/or won/commended
- on the website of the company that makes, sells or advertises the product
You can change the size of the logo to suit your needs, but do not alter the colour or font of the logo.
If the packaging design or format changes you can retain the logo.
*If the product recipe/formulation changes the logo must be removed.
- Use of the logo on a product that has not won an award is forbidden.
- The organisers reserve the right to change the categories and organisational details without prior notice.
- The organisers reserve the right to accept or reject entries.
- The decision of the judging panel is final and the Free From Awards will not enter into any correspondence about the judges’ decisions.
- It is a condition of entry that all entrants will be bound by these rules.