Martin Hesp is the editor-at-large of the Western Morning News. He’s also the food editor of the largest daily paper in South West England and maker of the Adventures in Rural Journalism podcast. We are delighted to have Martin on our Farm Shop & Deli Awards judging panel as he has fantastic insight into what consumers are looking for from independent food businesses.

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

I like to see independent food-based businesses taking on the giant supermarket chains and also enjoy seeing the owners of these businesses inspiring and promoting good local food and drink in their areas. It’s fantastic for me to be able to report back to consumers who read our food pages on what’s happening within the local area and food industry.

What will you be looking for when judging these awards?

When reading through the entries, I am going to be looking for elements of uniqueness and innovation. I’ll also be on the hunt for initiatives which show how a business is promoting high-quality locally produced, grown or reared food and drink.


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

My advice would be to go the extra mile in making sure you outline what is different and/or unique about your business. In what areas are you going the extra mile? Why are you going the extra mile? What difference does this make to your customers? Show this in your entry and catch the attention of the judges.

How can entering awards help a small food business?

As a journalist, I can definitely say the awards help those who enter. To be shortlisted or even better to win outright will guarantee your business fantastic publicity in the local media. It’s the kind of publicity that you simply could not pay for by merely embarking on an advertising campaign.

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

Uniqueness, innovation and passion

Read more Awards blogs here.