Some of the biggest names in Irish grocery descended on The Shelbourne Hotel on Tuesday 23 June for the 2015 Checkout Best in Fresh Awards, the only annual event to acknowledge excellence in fresh produce retailing.
More than 250 retailers were present at this year’s event – a record attendance – to celebrate outstanding industry achievements in the areas of fruit and veg, meat, dairy, seafood, bakery and the myriad of other categories that comprise a winning fresh offering.
Notable winners at the event included SuperValu Blackrock, in south Dublin, with the former Superquinn store taking the award for Large Supermarket (over 15,000 sq ft), sponsored by Cold Move. SuperValu Killester took the Medium Supermarket (10,000 to 15,000 sq ft) award, sponsored by Invest Northern Ireland, while Fresh: The Good Food Market, Grand Canal won the Small Supermarket (4,000 to 10,000 sq ft) category, sponsored by Bank of Ireland.
There were honours too for Mighty Mols XL, Mountrath, in Co. Laois, which took the prize for Best Forecourt, while Spar Dame Street won the Best Convenience Store category.
This year also saw the presentation of a special Industry Innovator Award, to FoodCloud, a social enterprise that connects businesses with surplus food to local charities and community groups.
Lastly, a total of six Supplier Awards were presented at the event, acknowledging the suppliers that go the extra mile when it comes to assisting retailers with developing a strong fresh proposition.
Winners included Donnelly’s (Best Fruit & Veg Supplier), ABP Food Group (Best Meat Supplier), Nolan’s Quality Seafood (Best Seafood Supplier), Cuisine de France (Best Bakery Supplier), Glanbia Consumer Foods (Best Dairy Supplier) and Martin Food Equipment (Best Fresh Equipment Supplier).
Judges for this year’s event included Valerie Rice, Damien Carolan and Jeanne Quigley, as well as Customer Perceptions. Sponsors included Invest Northern Ireland, Cold Move, Cashguard and Bank of Ireland.
Winners & Finalists
LARGE SUPERMARKET (OVER 15,000 SQ FT.), sponsored by Cold Move
Finalists: McInerney's SuperValu Loughrea, Ryan's SuperValu Glanmire, O'Toole's SuperValu Tuam, SuperValu Lucan
The judges said: “This has always been a flagship store, first with Superquinn and now under the SuperValu brand – and from the smell of the bakery as you walk in to the massive deli and butcher counter, the standards have not changed at all… One of the best, if not the best, supermarkets in the country…”
MEDIUM SUPERMARKET (10,000-15,000 SQ FT.), sponsored by Invest Northern Ireland
Finalists: Ryan's SuperValu Grange, Caulfield's SuperValu Loughboy, Ardkeen Quality Food Store
The judges said: “This is the finest example of fresh food retailing I have seen in a medium sized supermarket, and deserves every honour it gets. A must see store for everybody, that punches way above its weight...”
SMALL SUPERMARKET (4,000 TO 10,000 SQ FT.), sponsored by Bank of Ireland
Fresh: The Good Food Market, Grand Canal
Finalists: Morton's of Ranelagh, Donnybrook Fair Morehampton Road, Rooney's SuperValu Manorhamilton, SuperValu Charlesland
The judges said: “This is the closest you can get to the New York deli experience in Ireland; really innovative products, high quality, great range – a pleasure to shop…”
Mighty Mols XL, Mountrath
Finalists: O'Shea's Gala, Blennerville, Topaz Manor Stone Ballacolla, Tuffy's Gala Ballina, Spar Newcastle
The judges said: “The star of the show at Mighty Mols is the in-store bakery, with an amazing range of delicious cakes and breads and real evidence of creativity. Strong food to go and great presentation make this a deserved award winner…”
CONVENIENCE RETAILER, sponsored by Cashguard
Spar Dame Street
Finalists: Londis Adare, Skelly's Costcutter, Virginia, Kelly's Centra Mountaintop, Donnybrook Fair, Baggot St
The judges said: “For a store right in the heart of Dublin city centre, Spar Dame Street still manages to excel when it comes to range, presentation and creativity – arguably one of the best food to go counters in Dublin, and friendly, knowledgeable staff…”
BEST MULTIPLE/RETAIL GROUP
Winner: Fresh: The Good Food Market
The judges said: “A couple of years ago, this chain took the opportunity to revamp its stores, focusing more on presentation, creativity, innovation, unique product selection and all the aspects that make up great fresh food retailing. The result of these efforts has given this retail group a real point of difference – stores that retain their neighbourhood feel, but are also seeking to push the boundaries when it comes to city centre retailing.”
MOST CREATIVE RETAILER
Moriarty's SuperValu Palmerstown
Finalists: Ryan's SuperValu Glanmire, SuperValu Killester, O'Hare's Maxol Mace, Wilton
The judges said: “With a massive in-house own-brand selection and exceptionally strong bakery, it’s no wonder that Moriarty’s has such a loyal following – it's a store that is making a real effort throughout all departments…”
Finalists: Maxol Mace Clonakilty, Field's SuperValu Skibbereen, SuperValu Thomastown
The judges said: “Small, but perfectly formed – everything in Avoca Monkstown is immaculately presented, from the walk in cheese shop and deli, to the James Whelan Butchers concession at the back of the store. It’s always busy, and we’re not surprised by that at all…”
BEST NON-AFFILIATED RETAILER
Joyces Supermarket Headford
Finalists: Joyce's Supermarket Knocknacarra, Gerry's Fine Foods, Drogheda, Fresh Today, Carrick On Shannon
The judges said: “This is a store with the wow factor – every department is great, with fantastic presentation and really thoughtful product selection. Pat Joyce and his team should be very proud…”
Pettitt’s SuperValu St Aidan's
Finalists: Barry Collins SuperValu, Carragaline, Ardkeen Quality Food Store, Scally's SuperValu Clonakilty
The judges said: “Pettitt’s SuperValu St Aidan’s has won this category before, and the standards that led to that success are still strongly evident – the aisles are literally bursting with local producers and their stories... This is a store that really wears its local heart on its sleeve…”
Tesco Extra Dundalk
Finalists: Tesco Bloomfields, Joyce's Supermarket Knocknacarra, Topaz Dublin Airport
The judges said: “Placing this section in the centre of the store is a brave move, but Tesco really understands how to make its deli section ‘sing’ – with a huge array of appetising produce…”
Pettitt's SuperValu Gorey
Finalists: Garvey's SuperValu, Church Street, Castleisland, Donnybrook Fair Morehampton Road, Joyces Supermarket Headford
The judges said that: “Pettitt’s meat counter can be summed up in one word: excellent. The group’s Sleeda Farm operation is something of an institution in the South East, and the delicious array of produce on display here is among the best you can find in the country…”
Finalists: Pettit's SuperValu St Aidan’s, Field's SuperValu Skibbereen, SuperValu Killester
The judges said: “There is so much about this former Superquinn flagship store that excels, but the fresh seafood counter is a real point of difference – a great range, strong presentation and product knowledge…”
BEST FRUIT & VEG
Fleming's SuperValu Monaghan
Finalists: Spar Newcastle, O'Toole's SuperValu Tuam, Tesco Blanchardstown
The judges said that “the fruit and veg department in Fleming’s is a pleasure to shop, with a fantastic array of local produce and top notch presentation – even a dedicated section for kids. A terrific store.”
Scally's SuperValu Clonakilty
Finalists: Scally's SuperValu Blackrock, Cork, Barry Collins SuperValu, Carragaline, Tesco Extra Dundalk
The judges said: “The opening of a fully fledged gluten free bakery at Scally’s has cemented its position as arguably the most innovative retailer in the country – a worthy winner both this year, and in previous years…”
Topaz Dublin Airport
Finalists: Kelly's Londis Milltown, Spar Express Junction 14, Tesco Park Pointe
The judges said: “Even though this is a forecourt, no shortcuts were taken with regard to its fresh food offering – product knowledge, presentation and range were all excellent…”
Quish's SuperValu Ballincollig
Finalists: SuperValu Killester, SuperValu Lucan, Scally's SuperValu Clonakilty
The judges said: “Quish’s recently underwent a revamp, and the new cheese counter is one of the real strong points – a huge array of local produce, great product knowledge and attentive, enthusiastic staff…”
BEST FRUIT & VEG SUPPLIER
Fruit and veg is a core USP for so many retailers, and the investment and infrastructure put in place by these suppliers, and indeed the wider industry, deserves to be commended.
Finalists: Keelings, Total Produce
BEST MEAT SUPPLIER
Meat is another area in which product range and versatility are key. The suppliers being honoured in this category excel in delivering product that really showcases why Ireland is considered such a world leader in meat.
ABP Food Group
Finalists: Kepak, Templetouhy Foods
BEST SEAFOOD SUPPLIER
With seafood enjoying a renaissance in Irish stores at present, it’s no wonder that the standards are so high among Ireland’s seafood suppliers. It’s also a hugely competitive market, with demand for innovative products and new seafood species on the increase, as well as for value for money.
Nolans Quality Seafoods
Finalists: Albatross Sea Foods, The Good Fish Company
BEST BAKERY SUPPLIER
Fresh bakery is one of the strongest selling points a store can have, and Irish retailers understand the value in having a high quality, well-stocked range available at all times of the day. With the support of bakery suppliers such as the ones being honoured here, stores both large and small are able to meet the demands of a diverse customer base.
Cuisine de France
Finalists: Complete Cuisine, Cloverhill
BEST DAIRY SUPPLIER
While Irish dairy is making headway overseas, it’s important to remember too that in this country, the quality of dairy product available in stores up and down the country provides Irish retailers with a real point of difference over their European counterparts.
Glanbia Consumer Foods
Finalists: Kerry Foods, Horgan's
BEST FRESH EQUIPMENT SUPPLIER
This award honors the companies on which such fantastic displays and innovative in-store concepts are built, the leading suppliers of Fresh Equipment to the Irish retail grocery sector.
Martin Food Equipment
Finalists: Cross Refrigeration, Kelsius
"It is such an honour to win this award, we are truly delighted," said Iseult Ward, co-founder and chief executive of FoodCloud. "It is great recognition for the organisation and all the hard work our amazing team has been doing. We believe Ireland has a great opportunity to become a leader in developing innovative solutions for surplus food redistribution, and for FoodCloud this award demonstrates that we are on the right path!"