The winners of the 2021 Farm Shop & Deli Retailer Awards have been announced. Judges have revealed their 9 Regional Winners and 30 Commended Retailers, chosen from a shortlist of 153 outstanding UK speciality retailers.
The 2021 Retailer Awards, held in partnership with The Grocer and sponsored by Garofalo and Food & Drink Wales, changed the judging criteria this year to shine the spotlight on those retailers who deserve recognition for their courageous commitment shown to their customers, community, staff & suppliers. Therefore, the 2021 winners were selected from ‘Best in Region’, rather than the traditional categories from previous years.
The difficult decision on who to crown as Regional Winners fell to broadcaster, journalist and judges’ chair Nigel Barden. He was joined by a panel including food writer and co-chair Elaine Lemm, Deputy Editor at British Baker, Amy North, Hero Hirsh, Branch Manager at Paxton & Whitfield, Fresh Foods Reporter for The Grocer, Henry Sandercock and Andy Swinscoe from The Courtyard Dairy and 2020’s Retailer of the Year award winner.
Looking at both the retailer’s online entry and customer nomination comments, the judges scored all shortlisted entries to determine the Commended Retailers, with the top scorers being crowned the Regional Winners.
Nigel said: “We are all aware that the past 15 months have been like no other and that the traditional retail world of food and drink has dramatically changed. The Farm Shop & Deli finalists have illustrated how crucial they are to their communities at a time when many consumers remained in their homes. This includes dedicated online businesses which have witnessed huge growth during these difficult times, and traditional retailers who increased their online offer.
But it’s the stories of innovation and imagination way beyond these that took our judges’ breath away. Florists who became greengrocers, farmers who loaded their trailers to deliver to the vulnerable, providing a human face and voice to the isolated. The food offer from our finalists has been sublime while the consideration of mental health and well being for customers and staff has been paramount. It has put independent retailers right back in the heart of their communities, with an increased appreciation from grateful shoppers. It’s been a privilege to read some of these stories and to now be able to tell the world about these remarkably dedicated people; the Farm Shop & Deli Awards Commended Retailer and Regional Winners.”
The 2021 Regional Winner for the South West is Veg in a Box, Exeter
Judges said: “A super entry that wowed the judges. They grabbed the situation and hit the ground running employing 8 people, some who had lost their jobs because of the pandemic. They set up a hotline for the elderly and vulnerable, pensioner boxes which included scones and Jam, which in turn helped keep a Jam producer they work with afloat and on their website, useful links to other sites, such as financial support for struggling families and so much more.”
Full list of South West Commended Retailers:
Brace of Butchers, Dorchester
Forest Deli, Coleford
The Barn at Severn & Wye, Westbury-on-Severn
Veyseys Butchers, Cullompton
Winners: Veg In A Box, Exeter