Balmoral Show sponsor launches awards
Balmoral Show platinum sponsor Henderson Group has launched its 2017 Local Supplier Awards. Now in their fifth year, the awards give Northern Ireland suppliers a platform to showcase their products and will take place during a special breakfast ceremony at this year's show.
Suppliers are invited to enter across five categories, including 'Enjoy Local Supplier of the Year', 'Best Direct to Store Supplier' and 'Brand Innovation Award'.
This year's panel of judges includes Joy Alexander, head of food technology at CAFRE; Sam Butler, food and drink columnist; David Elliott, editor of Ulster Business magazine, and Freda Magill, UFU rural affairs committee chairperson.
Last year, Willowbrook Foods was named the overall supplier of the year. The Co Down firm supplies a wide-range of products including mashed potato and potato, leek and bacon gratin for the Enjoy Local range, as well as the Green Vegetable Medley for The Kitchen range sold throughout Spar and Eurospar stores.
Since 2016, the total number of Northern Ireland farmers, growers and food producers supplying the Spar and Eurospar's network has increased to more than 20, providing produce for Spar's 168 Enjoy Local lines.
Henderson fresh foods director Neal Kelly said: "We primarily source from local growers and only look to further fields if absolutely necessary.
"We are so fortunate in Northern Ireland to have an abundance of excellent suppliers, from primary producers right through to smaller, artisan companies who are breaking into the market and these awards allow us to stop and applaud the brilliant work that they do all year round."