The winners of the 2021 Farm Shop & Deli Retailer Awards have been announced. Judges have revealed their 9 Regional Winners and 30 Commended Retailers, chosen from a shortlist of over 150 outstanding UK speciality retailers.
The announcement was broadcast via social media over 2 days, following the postponement of the flagship Farm Shop & Deli Show due to the Covid-19 restrictions. On Monday afternoon, 5th July, the 39 Commended Retailers were announced by region. And, to build anticipation, they were informed that one listed retailer from each region would find out they had won by receiving a Winners Award package the following day by courier.
On Tuesday afternoon these winners were then revealed to all on Social Media, with a video from Nigel Barden, Chair of Judges, sharing why the judges had crowned them the Regional Winners.
The organisers of the Awards, William Reed, were disappointed not to be able to reveal the winners as planned live from the Farm Shop & Deli Show on Monday 5th July. However, upon communicating their revised plans, they received many messaged of support from the shortlisted entrants including:
“Thank you for all that you and your team have done to promote artisan and small producers/businesses.”
“What a great solution to another set back! Well done for keeping going, roll on 2022!”
“We will await the results (with goosebumps) on 5th & 6th July, it’s just been lovely to look forward these awards. Well done & thank you for organising.”
The 2021 Retailer Awards, held in partnership with The Grocer and sponsored by Garofalo and Food & Drink Wales, changed the judging criteria this year to shine the spotlight on those retailers who deserve recognition for their courageous commitment shown to their customers, community, staff & suppliers. Therefore, the 2021 winners were selected from ‘Best in Region’, rather than the traditional categories from previous years.
The difficult decision on who to crown as Regional Winners fell to broadcaster, journalist and judges’ chair Nigel Barden. He was joined by a panel including food writer and co-chair Elaine Lemm, Editor at British Baker, Amy North, Hero Hirsh, Branch Manager at Paxton & Whitfield, Fresh Foods Reporter for The Grocer, Henry Sandercock and Andy Swinscoe from The Courtyard Dairy and 2020’s Retailer of the Year award winner.
Looking at both the retailer’s online entry and customer nomination comments, the judges scored all shortlisted entries to determine the Commended Retailers, with the top scorers being crowned the Regional Winners.
Nigel said: “We are all aware that the past 15 months have been like no other and that the traditional retail world of food and drink has dramatically changed. The Farm Shop & Deli finalists have illustrated how crucial they are to their communities at a time when many consumers remained in their homes. This includes dedicated online businesses which have witnessed huge growth during these difficult times, and traditional retailers who increased their online offer.
But it’s the stories of innovation and imagination way beyond these that took our judges’ breath away. Florists who became greengrocers, farmers who loaded their trailers to deliver to the vulnerable, providing a human face and voice to the isolated. The food offer from our finalists has been sublime while the consideration of mental health and well being for customers and staff has been paramount. It has put independent retailers right back in the heart of their communities, with an increased appreciation from grateful shoppers. It’s been a privilege to read some of these stories and to now be able to tell the world about these remarkably dedicated people; the Farm Shop & Deli Awards Commended Retailer and Regional Winners.”
The 2021 Regional Winners in full:
East Anglia: Barron’s Mobile Shop, Colchester
Judges said: “Remarkable entry. Turning a 3 day December farm-shop into a viable business, much appreciated by the community & supplying nutritious produce is pretty special & a great example of rapid improvisation & reacting to customer needs. No stock problems, or wastage. Like something from the Darling Buds of May, but with instagram! Sarah we salute you.”
Midlands: The Farm Stratford, Snitterfield
Judges said: “Outstanding entry for a young business, 11 months old at lockdown & had to quickly survive a flood. Picnic circles, walks, yoga classes, shepherds huts turned into outdoor dining/picnic spaces, food vans. Silver stream hair salon & yoga, solar panels & own water system. Parcel drips to local villages. All very, very impressive”
North East: Corbridge Larder, Northumberland
Judges said: “Bit of a tear-jerker! I was so impressed with the support and outreach (especially the care homes and the families who got to cook together). The spirit this is written in is so lovely, not boastful or all about them, it is their kindness and consideration to the community and to their staff.”
North West: Seasons bakery, Ingleton
Judges said: “Wow, very impressive, they clearly have a passion and care about people the way they approached everything in lockdown and with a new baby in tow and the other four children. This is a lovely entry. The bunny rabbit, selling at cost, creating jobs for those who had lost them. buying from producers who had lost their business - all these aspects are commendable.”
Northern Ireland: Wilsons Butchers, Downpatrick
Judges said: “I'm so impressed by all the work that has been done here to turn the business around. In such a short space of time the business was completely transformed and modernised to create a real asset to the community. Charities and the local community have been looked after and online opportunities have been maximised, but he hasn't strayed from the heart of what a great local butcher should be. Absolutely heart-warming work.”
Scotland: Pro Fish Services, Aviemore
Judges said: “Great business who have adapted a hospitality led business and really gone above and beyond to the extent of feeding members of local community who lost their jobs due to C-19. Supported local smaller suppliers and creative ways of getting food to customers - Lots of great external recommendations.”
Take a look at all the Commended Retailers and Regional Winners, including the videos from Nigel Barden, Chair of Judges, here.
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