Judging Structure

Judging structure Meet our judges What judges look for


Judging structure and process

What awards can be won?

The Farm shop and Deli Awards aim to recognise and reward excellence in the specialist retail market. Developed to cover the length and breadth of the UK's specialist retail market and support the independent food sector, the awards include:

12 Category winners:
• Baker
• Butcher
• Cheesemonger
• Delicatessen
• Farm Shop - Large Retailer
• Farm Shop - Small Retailer
• Fishmonger
• Food Hall
• Greengrocer
• Newcomer*
• Online business
• Village Store / Local Shop

*If your shop/business opened after April 2017, you will automatically be entered into the 'Newcomer of the Year' award, as well as proceeding in the category you chose.


9 Regional Winners (to be selected from all category entries):
• East Anglia
• Midlands
• North East
• North West
• Northern Ireland
• Scotland
• South East
• South West
• Wales

The best performing businesses across the region go head to head and will be judged by comparative entry scores.


Overall winner, ‘Farm Shop & Deli Retailer of the Year’
• The outstanding entry, displaying excellence in all criteria. Judged by selecting the outstanding all-round retailer from those who have won both their category and region.


These awards are set to be the national benchmark for all specialist retailers.


Click on the link below to hear what our judges look for in a winning entry through our videos:

What judges look for button



Award stages

stages banner 2020

Initial judging criteria

The initial judging process of the online entry forms in October and November will include a weighted scoring system to decide Category and Regional finalists/winners.

Independent retailers must be selling regional fresh/farm produce or with a delicatessen counter, and only independent retailers (who sell directly to consumers/individuals) can enter the awards.

Take a look at our category descriptions:




Initial judging scoring structure
  • The initial scoring system will include elements on: consumer votes, business statistics, sustainability, people, community involvement, products/suppliers and innovation.

The category finalist/winners will be judged against structured scoring system and quality of entry (see below):
• 20% weighted scoring on consumer votes (10% - number of votes and (10% - quality of feedback).
• 80% on online entry answers and content


  • Once the online scores have been submitted, the judging panel meets for face-to-face deliberations in mid November. Here the individual scores and consumer feedback are discussed and evaluated, before our category and regional finalists are shortlisted.

  • The Category and Region awards will be made to those who have, in the opinion of the judging panel, consistently met the highest level of quality whilst scoring consistently above all competition within a minimum of 5 and maximum of 10 judging criteria.

  • The judges will be looking for exceptional specialist retail effort and the ‘deli attitude’ as well as great business practises and useful information in the following answers:

    1. What category are you entering this business for? (scroll down to the'Choosing your category' section below).
    2. Did this business/store open after 1st April 2017? If so you will be asked to provide month and year it opened.
    3. What is your business mission? (This is a statement of the purpose and values of your business that will form your profile on our 2020 entrants website page).
    4. What % has the business increased it's gross profit margins YOY
    5. Tell us how your business has grown YOY
    6. What are your plans to grow the business over the next 12/18 months?
    7. How do you and your staff develop the relationships with your customers, and your community?
    8. What makes you different to everyone else?
    This question is about what sets you apart from your competition.

    Our chair of Judges Nigel Barden will be joined by leading specialist retailers and key industry figures to bring a wealth of knowledge to the awards judging. The whole process will be rigorous and thorough to ensure the maximum value in the market for these awards.

Take a look at the 2020 judging panel:




Secondary judging structure (mystery visits)

The secondary judging process may include mystery throughout December, January and February to decide the overall ‘Retailer of the Year’.