Awards night at Culloden set to recognise Northern Ireland's top grocers
Northern Ireland's most successful food retailers and manufacturers will enjoy an evening of celebration at the annual Ulster Grocer Marketing Awards tonight.
The event, at Belfast's Culloden Estate & Spa, unites grocers of all sizes - and their suppliers - from across Northern Ireland.
The awards are part of the GroceryAid Ulster Grocers' Ball and are open to any company involved in retail grocery trading, from suppliers and wholesales to retailers and producers.
And Business Telegraph sponsors the Green Retailer of the year award, which recognises companies who are working to improve the environment.
The awards are chaired by marketing analyst Michael Maguire of Quintus, while the judging panel also includes Marian Norwood, lecturer in marketing at the Ulster University, and Emma Cowan, a writer, editor, designer and business consultant specialising in food, drink and retail.
Other sponsors include economic development agency Invest NI, crisps brand Hunky Dorys, Henderson Food Machinery and Reach Retail Services.
Winners will be announced in categories including best marketing campaign, best new product launch, best artisan foods campaign, best food export marketing award and best corporate social responsibility initiative.
Ulster Grocer manager Mark Beckett said the strength of this year's shortlist was particularly apt during the 2016 Year of Food and Drink.
Tonight's event is held to raise funds for GroceryAid, a charity set up to help people in need in the grocery trade.
Earlier this year a campaign by GroceryAid raised money for debt charity StepChange.
Sponsors of the 2016 awards, and category winners from 2015, gathered at the Culloden Estate & Spa ahead of tonight's gala event.