Fresh look for awards to celebrate agri-business at Balmoral Show

Jo Scott from BBC’s Home Ground and Neal Kelly, fresh food director at Henderson Group look forward to this year’s Fresh Innovation Awards, which will take place on Friday May 18 at the Balmoral Show.

TO celebrate the return of Henderson Group's supplier awards for the sixth year at Balmoral Show, organisers have revealed a new look and name for the event.

The Fresh Innovation Awards will take place during a specially curated breakfast and awards event on Friday May 18 at the show, the heart of the agri-business community in the north.

Jo Scott from BBC Northern Ireland's Home Ground will host this year's event, which will also have two new and two refreshed categories for suppliers to enter; Excellence in Regional Delivery replaces Best Direct to Store, while Product Innovation takes Brand Innovation's place for 2018.

New categories include Young Agri-food Innovator, which aims to celebrate rising talent throughout the industry, recognising a young person who is pushing the boundaries of fresh food and brand development locally.

The final new award, Contribution to Agri-food Industry in Northern Ireland, is a non-entry category, where Henderson Wholesale's fresh trading team will celebrate a person or a company that has contributed over and above to the local industry, chosen with the help of the independent judging panel.

The judges include: food writer Sam Butler; former rural chair of the UFU, Freda Magill and head of food technology at CAFRE, Joy Alexander, while joining the panel this year are Irish News business editor, Gary McDonald and Dr Lynsey Hollywood, Ulster University Business School's agri-food business development centre manager.

Fresh food director at Henderson Group, Neal Kelly said: “Each year these awards grow in terms of entries and in interest from our suppliers. We're delighted to be able to roll out this initiative, with a fresh look for 2018, reward their innovations and the mark they're making on the agri-food and business industry in Northern Ireland. Choosing to rebrand to the Fresh Innovation Awards was a nod to how much our suppliers have helped us raise our game in the business. They are constantly creating new ways of producing fresh food to meet our retailer and shopper demands for fresh, local and convenient food offerings. We're really looking forward to the awards breakfast at the 150th Balmoral Show.”

Local suppliers to Henderson Group can enter the Fresh Innovation Awards online at:

SPAR Northern Ireland, owned by the Henderson Group will once again support the Balmoral Show as a Platinum Sponsor during its 150th year.

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