Produced in Kent Logo

26th October 2023

Influential Kent businesses commit their support for TOKA 2024

Final few sponsorship opportunities available!

The opportunity to be associated with the best of Kent’s food and drink industry is now open to business and organisations from across Kent. Planning for the Taste of Kent Awards (TOKA 2024) is well underway, with eight sponsors already sponsoring next years awards. The prestigious companies who have pledged their support for the annual awards are the University of Kent who are once again providing the venue for the awards ceremony and food festival, head sponsor Southeastern, judging location sponsor Jestic Food Service, and category sponsors Shepherd Neame, EKC Group, Southern Co-op, Oxbury and GrowUp Farms. Just a handful of category sponsorships are available and Produced in Kent are encouraging potential businesses to come forward.

Produced in Kent manage and organise TOKA, which have been a key feature in the awards calendar for almost two decades. CEO Floortje Hoette explains, “Over 19 years the awards have become a fantastic platform to showcase the tastiest food and drink we produce here in Kent, and the hardworking businesses behind it. Sponsoring the awards is a great opportunity for companies to get involved with the local food and drink community, whilst associating with the very finest produce, and showing support for a sector that contributes so much to our local economy, employment, the countryside and a greener future. I thank all returning and new sponsors for their continuing support.”

Nikki Causer Head of Marketing at Southeastern said: ‘We are delighted to sponsor the awards for the 4th year running, their support for the many wonderful local food and drink producers around the county is something that is close to our hearts. It’s important to Southeastern to support local economies, encouraging our customers to travel sustainably by train around Kent and discover, taste and buy the huge variety of delicious food and drink.’

Tim Burrows, Operations Manager – Catering, University of Kent said: We are delighted to be the venue sponsor of the Taste of Kent Awards 2024, and to welcome attendees to the most prestigious food and drink awards in the South East.

At Kent we stand for ambition and we cannot wait to celebrate the ambition of all the nominees at this year’s awards. The Gulbenkian Arts Centre provides the perfect innovative and engaging location to showcase not only the talent of those nominated, but also our own Kentish delights inspired by the Garden of England.

Open to any food and drink business located in Kent and Medway, the awards have been running for nearly twenty years – making them the longest running, and most prestigious food and drink awards in the South East. Entrants do not have to be members of Produced in Kent, nominations are open to all and the judges include industry experts such as Nigel Barden and Michael Eyre from Jestic Foodservice Solutions. This year, the awards continue with their new format. All awards categories are self-nominated (entries open in January 2024). The culmination is a full day of celebrations on the 13th June, starting with the TOKA Food & Drink Festival, a chance for the public to come and sample and purchase finalists products. The awards are announced in the evening at the Gulbenkian Arts Centre with plenty of networking opportunities. Throughout the awards process there is ample opportunity for sponsors to engage with food and drink businesses and with key stakeholders in the sector.

If you’d like to find out more about sponsorship, please get in touch with Floortje Hoette for opportunities to become involved E: For more information:

For general press enquiries please contact:

Claire Hernandez, Account Manager | Sharp Relations Ltd

Rebecca Eastman, Account Executive | Sharp Relations Ltd

About GrowUp Farms  

GrowUp Farms was founded by Kate Hofman and Tom Webster in 2013 and is a pioneer in UK vertical farming.

GrowUp Farms grows its salads in a controlled environment, where the climate provides the plants with perfect conditions. This means it can grow to the best standard all year round and is resilient to climate change.  

GrowUp Farms was the first vertical farm to introduce a branded salad into a supermarket chain in the UK with the launch of Fresh Leaf Co. in Iceland stores across the country in February of 2023 and the Unbeleafable range in Tesco in July 2023.

GrowUp Farms' vertical farm, Pepperness, is near Sandwich, Kent. It combines innovative farming technology with renewable energy, using electricity and waste heat from the bioenergy plant next door, which means the farm is not affected by the energy price increases squeezing greenhouse and conventional farmers in the UK. 

GrowUp Farms is B Corp certified with a high B Impact Score of 104.7 points, against the pass threshold of 80 points. The score reflects GrowUp Farms' commitment to the high standards set by B Corp to achieve social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability in all areas of the business as well as contributing to the economic and social well-being of the communities that GrowUp Farms operates in, alongside a commitment to environmental causes.

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Fresh Leaf Co

Our deliciously crisp leaves stay fresher for longer. There is no need to wash off any nasties, as we don’t use them. So you can eat them, straight out of the bag! We only grow in the UK, building resilience into the British food ecosystem.


University of Kent

Kent's fantastic location, accommodation, and facilities makes it the perfect choice for conferences and events.

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Shepherd Neame Ltd

The fifth-generation independent family business produces Kentish ales of such renown that they are afforded Protected Geographical Indication from the EU.