Industry organisation Scottish Bakers has kicked off its search for the Scottish Baker of the Year 2018.

Now in its seventh year, the competition sees consumers vote for their favourite baked goods from across the country, with expert judges shortlisting products to decide the ultimate winner.

Voting opens today (21 February) and runs until 9 March, with judging day taking place at Carnegie Conference Centre on 28 March. The winner will be announced at a gala dinner following the Scottish Bakers Annual Conference on 5 May.

“With thousands upon thousands of pies, scones, loaves, savoury items, morning rolls, individual cakes and biscuits sold in Scotland every day, our bakers work hard to keep us all going,” said Alasdair Smith of Scottish Bakers. “So we are delighted to once again be giving Scottish Bakers the chance to shine and showcase their skills, but we need people at home to vote, so log on now.”

For judging, the goods are split into six categories – scones, loaves, savoury items, morning rolls, individual cakes and biscuits – which are divided into three regions: Northern, Central and Southern Scotland. Category winners are invited to put forward a case for Craft Baker, Retail Craft Baker and Wholesale Baker for a chance to be crowned Scottish Baker of the Year.

To mark the start of the competition, students from Pennyland Primary School, Miller Academy, Mount Pleasant Primary School, Thurso High School and North Highland College will take part in a ‘Generation Game’ style bake-off on 21 February.

The competition will be judged by Gary Reid, MD of Scottish Baker of the Year 2017 Reids of Caithness, and Mich Turner, Scottish Bakers’ ambassador.

“Everyone loves a tasty treat from their local baker,” said the face of the Scottish Baker of the Year competition Michelle McManus, “so I am calling on all of us bakery buffs up and down the land to vote for our favourite local baker to help them win the Scottish Baker of the Year crown for 2018.”