More than 20 local companies have been shortlisted for the Henderson Wholesale Local Supplier Awards with winners being revealed in a special ceremony taking place at this week’s Balmoral Show.
Now in its fourth year, the prestigious awards scheme allows The Henderson Group, who own the SPAR and EUROSPAR franchises in Northern Ireland, to recognise the outstanding efforts of the local supply companies their wholesale business is developing their fresh and ambient ranges with.
This year, companies were invited to submit entries across five categories which included enjoy local Supplier of Year, open to companies who supply goods for Henderson Wholesale’s popular range of own brand products; Best Direct to Store Supplier; Brand Innovation Award; the CSR focused Tomorrow Matters Award and the Overall Local Supplier of the Year.
Organisers were delighted with the high level of entries received which came from a range of companies of varying size and structure from across Northern Ireland.
An esteemed panel of judges including agri-journalist Richard Wright; UFU Rural Affairs Committee Chairperson, Freda Magill; Ulster Business Editor, David Elliot and Head of Food Technology Development at CAFRE, Joy Alexander, had the unenviable task of deliberating over the entries to select winners to be announced at the biggest food and agri fair on the island.
SPAR is a platinum sponsor of the Balmoral Show, giving Hendersons the perfect opportunity to showcase the excellent produce, practices and ranges of the suppliers it works with all year round, especially as the Show marks the 2016 Northern Ireland Year of Food and Drink Initiative.
Commenting on the awards scheme, Neal Kelly, Henderson Group’s Fresh Foods Director, said: “The Balmoral Show is the highlight in the calendar year for the agri-food industry in Northern Ireland and so for us it’s the perfect time to give back to our fantastic supply companies who enable us to deliver the very best quality, fresh, local food to our retailers and shoppers.
“We’ve been overwhelmed by the high volume of entries this year and blown away by the excellence suppliers can so easily demonstrate. I’d like to thank our panel of judges for coming on board and bringing their food, agri and business expertise to our awards.
“We look-forward to welcoming all of our shortlisted companies to a special breakfast event taking place at the Show where the all-important winners’ announcements will be made.”
Outside of the awards, SPAR will have a much wider presence at the show than ever before with a broad range of activities planned across the 3-day event. The popular enjoy local marquee will be twice as big this year and visitors are invited along to watch live cookery demonstrations by celebrity chef and SPAR Ambassador Paula McIntyre.