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 last Thursday.
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.
The awards continue to commend retailers’ success in speciality sectors and regions respectively. Category awards are up for grabs across 13 different specialisms including Food Hall of the Year, and Ludlow Food Centre is one of the finalists in the running.
Managing Director, Jon Edwards shared the Centre’s delight in this announcement, “We are thrilled to have been announced as a finalist in the Food Hall of the Year category at the prestigious Farm Shop and Deli Awards. The awards are highly competitive and have such a high standard of entries that to reach this stage is a great reflection of the hard work and commitment of our staff in continuing to bring great food to our customers. We have our fingers crossed now for the 16th April when the final winner will be announced.”
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.”
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.
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