The shortlist for the prestigious awards has been announced with winners due to be unveiled at Farm Shop & Deli Show Monday 16th April at the NEC, Birmingham
2018 Farm Shop & Deli Awards judges at judging day
The 2018 judging panel of industry experts met up last November at Windsor Farm Shop for a day of evaluation and deliberation. Secret visits and mystery shops followed over the next couple of months, before finally announcing the 2018 Farm Shop & Deli Awards category finalists, with the winners being revealed live at the Farm Shop & Deli Show, 3.30pm on Monday 16th April 2018.
Chair of Judges Nigel Barden, Co Chair of Judges Elaine Lemm, Holly Shackleton, Editor of Speciality Food and John Gill, Head of Commercial Operations & Buyer at the fabulous Booths are just some of the 2018 Farm Shop & Deli Awards judges who faced the difficult task of whittling down the category finalists this year.
Five years of celebrating speciality
2018 is the fifth year of the awards and their success and reputation grows from strength to strength. Recognising the best in class in the specialist independent retail market, they celebrate the very best standards, levels of service, product innovation and community involvement in the sector.
Nigel Barden, Chair of judges, commented: “It’s gratifying to see lots of new names amongst the finalists as the Awards are becoming even more respected. The food & drink retail sector continues to attract inventive, hardworking entrepreneurs, many of whom have transferred their business skills from other industries.”
The awards continue to commend retailers’ success in speciality sectors and regions respectively. Category awards are up for grabs across 13 different specialisms including Baker of the Year, Delicatessen of the Year, Farm Shop of the Year and Online Business of the Year. Plus, over 10% of the total entries also qualified as Newcomer of the Year contenders, and are represented in over half of the 13 categories. Newcomer finalists include Great Cornish Food Store, Blair Drummond Smiddy Farm Shop, Love Cheese and Low Howgill Butchers.
Challenging the judges
Year on year the high standard of the the entries continues to rise, making the judges’ deliberations in November an important, but challenging, task. But, as their comments show, it’s one they relish with enthusiasm:
“This year was outstanding which made judging extremely hard! Inspiring! I have enjoyed learning more about these dynamic and inspirational businesses. Some real foodie pioneers out there.”
Jamie Hall, UK Retail and Rest of World Market Sales, Neal’s Yard Dairy
“When scoring I was looking for the businesses that are doing it for the love of the food and produce they are selling, rather than running it just as a place of business, it was great to find those who are really putting their heart and soul into it.”
Chris Mcneill, Editor & Owner, Delicatessen Magazine
2017 overall winner Victoria Robertshaw joined the judging panel this year and added: “I have loved the judging process, it has been fun and there is such a nice mix of fellow judges from the industry including chefs, retailers, journalists and publishers. As a retailer it is great to see how people view it from the outside and I have enjoyed the debates amongst the other judges.”
This year there are 58 category finalists who have been shortlisted. The regional winners, who represent the very best retailers that stand out among their local competition from across nine UK regions, will be selected from the category finalists and also announced live at the awards ceremony on Monday 16th April as well as the coveted Farm Shop & Deli Retailer of the Year.
The winners of the awards, held in association with sponsors PriceCardPro will be announced at Farm Shop & Deli Show, 3.30pm on Monday 16th April for visitors to get the first glimpse at those companies leading the sector.
Take a look at the 2018 Finalists here
Find out more about Farm Shop & Deli Show 16 – 18 April 2018, NEC Birmingham