The 2018 Checkout Best in Fresh Awards take place on Tuesday 3 July at The Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin. The Awards have been designed to reward, encourage and promote excellence in fresh food retailing in Ireland, with retailers of all sizes and formats recognised for their high standards in this area.
The Awards are open to all retail groups and independent retailers, including multiples, symbols, discounters and non-affiliated stores. In the overall store categories, stores are judged against their equivalent counterparts – a forecourt store is compared with a forecourt store, and a large supermarket with a large supermarket.
In the departmental categories, a department is judged against its competitors in the category; however the store’s size and format is also considered – for example a superb Bakery in a small convenience store will outperform an average Bakery in a large supermarket.
The Best in Fresh Awards are aimed primarily at mixed-traders or non-specialist retailers such as supermarket or c-store operators. For example, the Fruit & Veg category judges excellence in Fruit & Veg retailing within a mainstream format, not in a specialist greengrocer. However, in categories where specific cross-category strengths are being assessed, mixed-trader specialists will be considered.
There are a total of 19 categories being judged this year. Retailers can enter up to five categories per store, and should indicate their store’s relevance to each category entered using the form attached.
All entries will be subjected to a mystery shop (carried out by Customer Perceptions), with the best-performing stores going on to the second round of judging. Each store that enters the Awards is entitled to receive a copy of the mystery shopper audit which is used to shortlist the entrants.
The level of detail contained in each entry form is at the discretion of the retailer, however the more information that is provided, the greater the level of understanding that judges can have of the store and its commitment to fresh food retailing.
Areas that judges will consider and that entrants should address include:
Range – What makes it different, what makes it better?
Sourcing – Is there a commitment to Irish and local suppliers?
Value for money – Does your store offer good deals in the fresh food categories?
Hygiene – What policies does your store have in place?
Presentation – How do you showcase your fresh offering to the customer?
Replenishment – What are your replenishment policies?
Consistency – How do you ensure that your store is always good, not just at peak times?
Uniqueness and individuality – How have you set out to make your store different?
Scratch preparation – Do you prepare products in-house?
Training and knowledge – Do your staff really understand the fresh food categories?
New developments – How have you improved your store’s fresh food categories?
As with last year’s event, this year’s Checkout Best in Fresh Awards will also acknowledge Ireland’s leading fresh suppliers, rewarding category leadership in the fields of Fruit & Veg, Meat, Seafood, Bakery, Dairy and In-Store Equipment. Retailers that enter the Checkout Best in Fresh Awards will be called upon to nominate a leading supplier in each fresh category as part of their entry; from which finalists in each category will be determined. Details included in the entry form below.
Best in Fresh 2018 – Category List and Description
1. Excellence in fresh food retailing in a large supermarket (over 15,000 sq ft.)
This category measures large-scale supermarkets – contenders need to display overall excellence across all fresh food categories.
2. Excellence in fresh food retailing in a medium supermarket (10,000-15,000 sq ft.)
This category measures medium-sized supermarkets – contenders need to display strong credentials in all fresh food categories.
3. Excellence in fresh food retailing in a small supermarket (4,000 to 10,000 sq ft.)
This category measures smaller supermarkets (as distinct from convenience stores) – space constraints are taken into account, but retailers must still demonstrate excellence in areas such as fish, meat, bakery and fruit and veg.
4. Excellence in fresh food retailing in a forecourt store
This category focuses purely on the forecourt format – including symbol c-stores based on forecourt sites. Particular focus is placed on deli and hot-food-to-go, however retailers will also be assessed on other fresh food categories within their stores
5. Excellence in fresh food retailing in a convenience store
This category focuses on c-stores that are not part of a forecourt site, and are focused at a convenience customer rather than a take-home shopper (these stores should enter into the small supermarket category). Deli and hot food are key areas here, however a wider commitment to fresh food excellence must be displayed.
6. Excellence in fresh food retailing in a discounter store
This category assesses fresh food retailing in the discount format. While recognising the more limited fresh food offerings in the discount channel, the award seeks to reward excellence in areas such as fruit & veg, dairy, bakery and chilled meat/fish. Please note that this award applies to an individual store, as opposed to a group.
7. Most creative fresh food retail outlet (any format)
This category recognises retailers from any store format who are truly creative in their presentation, range, sourcing, menu formulation, shopper engagement and creation of theatre within their fresh food departments. In addition, it acknowledges a fresh product range or in-store concept developed by a particular store, that has gained a strong following in both the local community and further afield.
8. Best presentation of fresh food (any store format)
This category will recognise retailers who have a specific flair for presentation and showcase their range of fresh food in the best possible manner. It is open to retailers from all store sizes and store formats.
9. Best non-affiliated fresh food retailer (not part of a symbol or multiple group)
This category seeks to recognise retailers that display a particular excellence in fresh food retailing, and are not affiliated to any particular symbol group or multiple. It is an overall award so retailers need to display evidence of strong fresh food credentials across all key departments. As with all the Awards, it is aimed at mixed-traders and not specialist stores.
10. Best ‘local champion’
This award will reward retailers that go above and beyond the call of duty to support local suppliers of fresh produce. Stores in this category should display a close-knit relationship with suppliers in their area, and be prepared to ‘sing about it’. Strong evidence of local produce on the shelves is a key criteria.
11. Ireland’s best fresh food offering in a deli area
This category recognises excellence in the deli area, including range, quality, value for money, scratch preparation, participation (in terms of overall store turnover), staff knowledge and expertise, display and presentation. It is open to stores of all formats and sizes.
12. Ireland’s best fresh meat offering
This category recognises excellence in the meat category, including range, quality, value for money, local sourcing, participation (in terms of overall store turnover), staff knowledge and expertise, display and presentation. In particular, staff knowledge is of paramount importance.
13. Ireland’s best fresh fish/seafood offering
This category recognises excellence in the fish and seafood category, including range, quality, value for money, local sourcing, participation (in terms of overall store turnover), staff knowledge and expertise, display and presentation. In particular, staff knowledge of sourcing policy and advice on preparation is key, as is demonstrating the consistent availability of fresh fish throughout the day and the week.
14. Ireland’s best fresh fruit and vegetable offering
This category recognises excellence in the fruit and veg category, including range, unique or unusual lines, quality, value for money, local and Irish sourcing, participation (in terms of overall store turnover), display and presentation. In particular, stores need to provide evidence of their sourcing policies in relation to fruit and veg throughout the year.
15. Ireland’s best bakery offering
This category recognises excellence in the bakery category, including range, quality, value for money, scratch baking/in-house preparation, participation (in terms of overall store turnover), display and presentation. In particular, retailers should provide evidence of scratch preparation and/or the use of local suppliers, and how this contributes to the uniqueness of their offering.
16. Ireland’s freshest food-to-go offering
This category recognises excellence in the food-to-go category, including range, quality, in-house preparation, value for money, local sourcing, participation (in terms of overall store turnover), staff knowledge and expertise, display and presentation. The award will look closely at the variety of menus and range at all times of the day (breakfast, lunch, dinner), with presentation and consistency a key factor.
17. Ireland’s best dairy offering
This category recognises excellence in the dairy category, including both the dairy wall (milk, yoghurt, cream etc) and cheese. Product knowledge is essential. Key factors being considered include a commitment to Irish suppliers, presentation, hygiene, range and value-for-money.
Specific Awards for Retail Groups
18. Best Multiple or Retail Group fresh food retailer
This category is aimed at a group level for both multiple stores (including discounters) and symbol groups, and assesses overall excellence across the entire store network. Entrants should demonstrate how standards are upheld across every store, and how consistency in offering and quality is achieved at a group level.
19. Best fresh logistics/supply chain operation
This award is open to retail multiples and symbol groups, and acknowledges innovation and efficiency in the fresh supply chain. Given the increased emphasis on fresh produce in-store and a growing need to improve supply chain efficiency and costs, Checkout will honour a retailer that has excelled in delivering a fully-optimised logistics solution. Applicants for this award should contact [email protected] for details.
Terms and Conditions
All entrants can receive the preliminary audit results for their store by request. Please contact Checkout directly for any queries on group or block entries. Finalists are chosen at Checkout’s discretion and judges’ decisions are final – no correspondence will be entered into in relation to disputes on shortlists or the auditing process. Any information supplied in the entry form may be used in Checkout’s coverage of the overall award winners in Checkout Magazine (unless specifically requested otherwise).