Walkers Shortbread has been crowned winner in the Rural Employer of the Year category at the Scottish Rural Awards, with ingredients manufacturer Macphie named runner-up.

The awards, which were partnered by Scottish Field magazine and the Scottish Countryside Alliance, were presented at Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh, Scotland, last week - celebrating industry, innovation, dedication and community spirit of those who work in the Scottish countryside.

Walkers Shortbread and Macphie were assessed alongside eight other businesses by an expert judging panel, including Richard Bath, editor of Scottish Field and Jamie Stewart, director of the Scottish Country Alliance.

The two companies received their accolades from comedian guest host Fred MacAulay.  

Jim Walker, joint managing director of Walkers Shortbread, said that it was an honour for the Scottish Rural Awards to support its continued aim to provide sustainable employment to its local community.

“Together we all work towards our common goal of delivering the highest possible quality of product in as ethical a way as possible - a value which has been central to Walkers Shortbread ever since it was founded by our grandfather, Joseph, in 1898,” Walker said.

The judges praised Macphie for giving each employee the opportunity to take time off for charity work, and praised its contribution to the local community.

Heather Hannam, head of HR at Macphie, said the company was thrilled by this recognition.

“We take our responsibilities as a rural employer very seriously and our employees are a central focus of our business strategy, with a number of initiatives to attract, develop and reward our teams,” Hannam said.

“We believe the recognition reflects Macphie’s firmly held values of fostering a true sense of belonging and community.”