Every time a new Farm Shop & Deli Awards entry comes into our inbox we feel inspired reading about the amazing independent food retailers up and down the UK. We know many of you are still busy finalising your entries but don’t forget to hit the submit button no later than Friday, 21st September, 2018.

To help you make sure your entry will catch the eyes of the judges, we’ve been chatting to Farm Shop and Deli Awards judge, Holly Shackleton. She is the editor of Speciality Food, a magazine read by independent retailers across the UK - from farm shops, delis and food halls to garden centres and cheese/wine etc specialists.

Why do you like to judge the Farm Shop & Deli Awards?

I like to judge the Farm Shop & Deli Awards as I love celebrating retailers who are at the top of the game. These awards bring to light independents who are doing a great job of inspiring their customers, challenging the multiples and bringing the best of the food and drink industry into their stores - and it's thoroughly enjoyable to be a part of the process.

What will you be looking for when judging these awards?

When judging the Farm Shop & Deli Awards, I look for retailers which stand out from the crowd in terms of their philosophy/mission and how they're going about making it a reality. That could be something relatively small-scale, such as wanting to support local producers and promote the food and drink of their local area, or grander - for example, they could have an aim to be entirely eco-friendly by 2020.

If someone is considering entering for the first time what advice can you offer them when writing their entry?

My advice would be to provide as much detail as you can. Something which seems everyday to you could just be the thing which makes you stand out from the crowd. I'd rather an entrant demonstrated their passion by writing reams about what they do than came across a bit uninspired (and missed out important details) by keeping it overly brief.

How can entering awards help a small food business?

Small businesses can benefit hugely by entering the Farm Shop & Deli Awards. These are the Oscars of the independent retail world, and by being named as a regional or category winner you'll become known and respected across the UK. If you go on to get the overall winner accolade, you'll be recognised as the very best in an already exciting market.

How does entering awards motivate employees?

Winning an award really is something that employees can be proud of, and entering awards makes every member of the team work that little bit harder to prove that their team is worthy of gaining recognition.


Tell us three words that every winning food retailer will need to have.

Passion, an innovative approach and the drive to make it happen.


Read more Awards blogs here.