Willowbrook Foods has taken home the top award at the Henderson Wholesale Local Supplier Awards, which took place on Friday at the Balmoral Show.
The Co. Down supplier of salad bags and bowls, freshly prepared vegetables and cooked meal accompaniments has been trading with Henderson Wholesale for 20 years, while constantly developing innovative new ranges to meet convenience consumer demands.
Other successful local food companies at the awards breakfast included Around Noon for Best Direct to Store Supplier, Kerry Foods who took home the Best Brand Innovation award, Quinfresh was named the enjoy local Supplier of the Year for their contribution to the wholesaler’s own-brand range and Gilfresh Produce won the Tomorrow Matters award for outstanding practice in CSR.
Now in their fourth year, the prestigious award scheme allows the Henderson Group, who owns the SPAR and EUROSPAR franchises in Northern Ireland, to recognise the outstanding efforts of the local supply companies their Wholesale business is developing fresh and ambient ranges with.
This year, the judging panel included some of the most respected names in agri-food and business including UFU Rural Affairs Committee Chairperson, Freda Magill, agri-journalist Richard Wright, Head of Food Technology Development at CAFRE, Joy Alexander and Ulster Business editor, David Elliott.
Neal Kelly, Fresh Foods Director at Henderson Group said: “We had an outstanding level of entries for the fourth year of our awards and we’re hugely grateful to both our local suppliers and panel of judges for embracing this initiative each year.
“Willowbrook Foods demonstrated a high level of innovation and awareness of our brand, retailers and consumers to go forward to win the Overall Supplier of the Year award. They are a key supplier to the enjoy local own-brand range and we are confident our relationship will only grow stronger to create even better products for our stores and shoppers. I wish to congratulate every one of our shortlisted, winning and highly commended local suppliers as we simply couldn’t provide the fresh and local range at the value we do for our shoppers without them.”
Speaking of Balmoral Show’s Platinum sponsor presence at the show, Paddy Doody commented: “We have enjoyed a fantastic sixth year with SPAR as Platinum sponsor of the Show. From daily barbeques with brand ambassador Paula McIntyre, sampling in our enjoy local marquee, family fun in the SPAR Arena and providing daily essentials to visitors and exhibitors at our SPAR pop up shop, the three days have been a huge success.
“To round it up with a fantastic display of the quality of our local suppliers through these awards is testament to our relationships within the agri-food community. We’re already looking forward to next year!”