Top food suppliers are in the mix for Henderson awards at Balmoral Show
Northern Ireland's biggest convenience store operator Henderson Group is to recognise the contribution of its suppliers at the Balmoral Show tomorrow.
McAtamney's Butchers, bakery Genesis Crafty and dairy processor LacPatrick are among the finalists in the Local Supplier Awards.
There are 12 suppliers to Spar and Eurospar stores from across Northern Ireland nominated in five categories.
The awards programme aims to recognise the best products and ranges sold through Henderson Wholesale in 300-plus Spar and Eurospar stores around the province.
Categories include best own brand supplier, best direct to store supplier and supplier of the year.
Last year's overall award went to bagged lettuce company Willowbrook Foods in Comber.
Winners will be announced at an awards breakfast tomorrow - day three of the agricultural extravaganza at Balmoral Park outside Lisburn.
Neal Kelly, Henderson Group fresh food director, said: "The Balmoral Show is the pinnacle of all that is great about our local agri-food industry and as industry eyes turn to the event, we feel it's a great opportunity to showcase the incredible work of our local suppliers who work hard throughout the year to deliver such exceptional produce for our customers.
"I'd like to thank each of the companies who took the time to enter the awards this year and for demonstrating so capably all of their fantastic achievements.
"I know the judges, with their combined food, agri and business expertise, had some incredibly tough decisions to make in order to select the winners and were blown away by the consistently high standard of entries.
"I look forward to welcoming all of the companies who entered to our awards ceremony at the show tomorrow, where the all-important announcements will be made."
The entries have been judged by agri-food experts and agri-business experts including David Elliott, editor of Ulster Business Magazine; UFU rural affairs committee chair Freda Magill; Joy Alexander, head of food technology development at the College of Agriculture Food & Rural Enterprise (CAFRE), and Sam Butler, Irish chairman of the Guild of Agricultural Journalists.
Spar is a platinum sponsor of the four-day Balmoral Show and is hosting events at an arena and marquee, including a cookery demonstration by ambassador chef Paula McIntyre.
All-island dairy processor LacPatrick, butcher K&G McAtamney, ready meal maker Daily Bake and fruit and vegetable supplier Quinfresh are nominated in the own brand category.
Bakeries Genesis Crafty and Irwin's are finalists in the corporate social responsibility category.
The bakeries are again finalists in the best direct to store supplier, along with sandwich-maker Around Noon.
And Genesis Crafty and Irwin's Bakery are also finalists in the brand innovation category, with Hovis, Moy Park and McAtamney's.
Around Noon, Genesis Crafty, Patton's Bakery, McAtamney's, onion grower Milgro and pork processor Fred C Robinson from Ballyclare are nominated in the overall award of local supplier of the year.