Calling all UK bakers: 2024 Retailer Awards wants to put you on the national map

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

Kj’s Bothy Bakery was named best small retailer in Scotland in 2023, recognised for its inspirational leadership and close-knit team. Pic: William Reed
Kj’s Bothy Bakery was named best small retailer in Scotland in 2023, recognised for its inspirational leadership and close-knit team. Pic: William Reed

Related tags Retailer Awards Farm Shop & Deli William reed business media The Grocer Bakers independent retailers Awards

Farm Shop & Deli Show - part of the William Reed-owned UK Food & Drink Shows (29 April-1 May 2024, NEC Birmingham) - in partnership with The Grocer, has opened submissions for the Retailer Awards for 2024.

The Retailer Awards 2024​ celebrate specialist retailers - including artisans bakers - to champion their achievements in the independent sector. These retailers are defined as those selling regional fresh/farm produce or with a deli counter directly to consumers/individuals.

Entries are open until 29 September across 11 categories and seven regions across the UK:

  • Baker
  • Butcher
  • Cheesemonger
  • Delicatessen
  • Farm Shop large (turnover over £600.001)
  • Farm Shop small (turnover under £600,000)
  • Fishmonger
  • Food Hall
  • Greengrocer
  • Online Business
  • Village store/ Local Shop

Entrants for one of the specialist categories will be automatically entered into the pool for the Best in Region:

  • Anglia
  • Midlands (East and West Midlands)
  • North England (North East, North West and Yorkshire, and the Humber)
  • Northern Ireland
  • Scotland
  • South England (London, South East and South West)
  • Wales

The 2024 awards are supported by Fieldfare, a family-owned business based in Kent that supplies loose, individually portioned frozen fruit, veg, meat, pastries, desserts and more to farm shops, garden centres and independent stores across the UK. Started over 40 years ago, the ‘scoop your own’ idea provides customer with the quality produce all year round and in the exact quantity they need - no waste and way less packaging.

It's a thinking-outside-the-box concept the judges will be looking to highlight through the Retailer Awards.

“The businesses that enter these awards - many of which are independent or family-run - are so creative and constantly in pursuit of delicious products and new ideas to develop their businesses and pioneer fine food retail,”​ said Matt Whelan, Fairfield’s MD.

“These qualities match so well with Fieldfare’s own values, which is why we are so pleased to be involved.”

The 2024 awards

Retailer Awards 4
  • Entrants will be judged across 11 specialist categories, from bakers to village stores. 
  • Judges are also looking for ‘Best in Region’ with winners selected from the category judging stage. 
  • The Retailer of the Year will be selected from the pool of retailers that have won their category and ‘Best in Region’. 
  • The Newcomer of the Year is looking to root out the outstanding businesses that opened after 1 January 2021.

The panel of judges will be evaluating what initiatives retailers have implemented over the past 12 months to develop and grow their business. The initial judging process of the online entry forms in will include a weighted scoring system to decide the category and Best in Region winners.

Winners will be revealed at the Farm Shop & Deli Show on Monday, 29 April 2024.

“It continues to be a great honour to chair our fabulous panel of judges and be involved in celebrating the champions of the specialist retail food and drink sector,”​ said Nigel Barden, food and drink broadcaster and co-chair of judges.

“I’m delighted that the category awards are returning this year. Alongside the regional accolades, Newcomer of the Year and Retailer of the Year, we can highlight the finest retailers across the UK and I’m looking forward to announcing the finalists in early March.”

What the judges are looking for

Retailer Awards 3
Finalists of the 2023 Retailer Awards
  • What obstacles have you overcome in order to make your business successful through a difficult period for retailers?
  • How does your business engage with the local community?
  • What is the core thing that makes your business unique and worthy of winning?
  • What sustainability initiatives do you have in place?

“What I am looking for - particularly in the early stages when I am doing the paper judging -  is to learn about you and your story,” ​said Elaine Lemm, food and travel writer and co-chair of judges.

“What is it about you and your business? It could be about the people that you work with, it may be the product, the producers it could be your history and heritage. I need you to tell me that story because through it, I can learn about you, your business and the people you work with.

“Later - when we are out on the road visiting - that is when it comes to live and we get to see who you are - and we find that, as judges, so inspirational.”

Added Ian Nottage, head of Food Development at Sysco Speciality Group and awards judge, “It’s really important to celebrate the great work of specialist retailers up and down the country.

“The Farm Shop & Deli Retailer Awards are a fantastic way to put these guys in the spotlight and raise awareness of their business and, hopefully, give the winners the incentive and recognition to keep doing what they are doing - a kind of affirmation if you like.”

Kudos to you

Retailer Awards 2 KJ's Bothy Bakery_Best in Scotalnd Small Retailer Winner
Kj’s Bothy Bakery’s owner Kirsten Gilmour

These awards unite the industry in celebrating the pinnacle of excellence and as such, are a golden opportunity to squarely place your business among the best of the best on the national stage.

William Reed - with all its might in providing up-to-the-minute digital journalism and insight into the F&B sector for over 160 years - will promote the winners through its social media channels, on its website and in email and PR campaigns to put them on the map.

So, no matter how large or small your steps may be, or what financial investment you have made, if you think you provide the highest levels of service, product knowledge, initiative, innovation and community involvement, we want to hear about it.

Alternatively, if you know of such a retailer, encourage them to enter.

Entries are free​ - with a few easy questions to answer and some pics to submit online - but they must be in before Friday, 29 September 2023.

The UK Food & Drink Shows unite four shows under one roof, covering the complete supply chain over three comprehensive days of insight, innovation and inspiration. From 29 April to 1 May 2024 at the NEC Birmingham, Farm Shop & Deli Show will join National Convenience Show, The Forecourt Show and Food & Drink Expo to create an unmissable proposition for progressive food and drink professionals across the industry. 

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