Henderson's Group launch Local Supplier Awards for Balmoral Show

Launching the 2017 Local Supplier Awards are Paddy Doody, sales and marketing director, Henderson Group; Neal Kelly, Henderson fresh food director and Lyndsey-Anne Coulter from Willowbrook Foods, who were overall winners at last year's awards

HENDERSON's Group has launched its Local Supplier Awards for 2017 to support the north's agri-food industry.

Now in their fifth year, the awards give suppliers in the north a platform to showcase their products, practises and ranges and will take place during a special breakfast ceremony at this year's extended Balmoral Show.

Awards will be distributed across five categories, including Enjoy Local Supplier of the Year, CSR focused Tomorrow Matters, Best Direct to Store Supplier, Brand Innovation Award and Overall Supplier of the Year.

Since 2016, the total number of Northern Ireland farmers, growers and food producers who provide for Henderson's Spar and Eurospar network has increased to more than 20 suppliers providing produce for 168 enjoy local lines.

Henderson's fresh foods director Neal Kelly said that the core focus for the group was to source and promote produce grown in Northern Ireland as much as possible.

"Listening to our customers, it is clear that provenance and traceability is important to them and so supporting our local producers enables us to better meet customer needs," he added.

"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."

A panel of judges has been formed and tasked with the difficult challenge of selecting this year's winners.

The panel 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.

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