Passionate about Local

Henderson Wholesale’s Local Supplier Awards at the Balmoral Show are back for 2019.

The Henderson Fresh Innovation Awards aim to showcase the incredible farmers, growers and food suppliers to Henderson Wholesale’s fresh food categories. They will reward the companies striving to be ahead of their competitors, the food innovators creating everyday fresh and quality for the convenience sector, and the individuals who have made the local food industry one of the best in the world.

The Henderson Fresh Innovation Awards will take place at 8am on Friday 17th May 2019, during a private, invitation only breakfast at the Balmoral Show. For more information on attending the awards ceremony and breakfast, contact your Trading Manager at Henderson Wholesale.

Enter Now!

Entry for the 2019 Henderson Fresh Innovation Awards is now open – Download your entry form here!



We’ve updated some of our regular categories, and introduced brand new ones. Read all about them below…

Own Brand Supplier of the Year

Show how your company or its products best display our own brand values in terms of focus on local sourcing, quality, freshness and value.

The Tomorrow Matters Awards

Judges are looking for suppliers who can demonstrate their own company’s initiatives aligned to Henderson’s CSR strategy. Entries should demonstrate an understanding of this policy and activity, and subsequently demonstrate corresponding strategies within their own business.

Young Agri-food Innovator

Celebrating rising talent throughout the industry, this award will recognise a person who is pushing the boundaries of fresh food and brand development locally. We’re looking for young farmers, growers and suppliers who have taken a traditional practice and evolved it for changing tastes or have spotted a niche in the market to create further opportunities for their business.

Excellence in Regional Delivery (formerly Best Direct to Store)

An award for the supplier which can demonstrate how it best delivers to our stores directly due to complex transportation, sensitive product or outstanding regional product.

Product Innovation Award

This award has been developed to recognise the excellence of innovation within our local fresh food industry, especially those creating for the convenience sector. Tell us how your products reflect evolving food and shopping trends in 2018.

Contribution to Agri-food Industry in Northern Ireland (non-entry award)

This non-entry award will celebrate a person or a company that has contributed over and above to the industry, especially in the face of hardship, chosen by Henderson’s Fresh Trading Team and verified by the panel of independent judges.

Overall Supplier of the Year (non-entry award)

Our overall award will recognise outstanding performance in the year. The winner will be taken from our full list of entries and chosen by our independent panel of judges.

Meet the Judges

Sam Butler

Sam is a member of the Guild of Food Writers, President of the Guild of Agricultural Journalists in Ireland and media adviser to the Agri-Food Strategy Board for Northern Ireland. He also manages the food marketing in Northern Ireland and internationally for Invest NI.

Michele Shirlow MBE

Michele Shirlow MBE is the driver behind Food NI, the membership organisation designed to connect the supply chain through a positive promotional message about Northern Ireland’s food and drink and was the driving force behind the successful Northern Ireland Year of Food & Drink 2016 campaign.

Joy Alexander

Joy Alexander has been on the judging panel since the awards began, in 2013. She is the Head of Food Technology Development at the Loughry Campus of CAFRE, the College of Agriculture, Food & Rural Enterprise bringing a wealth of local food innovation knowledge to our panel.

Gary McDonald

Gary is the Business Editor at the Irish News and has been a long-time supporter of the Henderson’s supplier awards at the Balmoral Show. Gary brings his expertise in agri-business to the judging panel, with over 15 years of business journalism under his belt, not to mention a healthy appreciation of good local food.

Dr Lynsey Hollywood

Dr Hollywood is Ulster University Business School’s Agri-Food Centre Manager, after taking up the role when the centre opened in May 2017. Passionate about local sourcing and food excellence, Dr Hollywood also runs a blog with her husband, Robert; Down the Hatch NI which celebrates food, drink and travels that combine the two, in Northern Ireland.

Chair of the Judging Panel, Nigel Dugan

Nigel Dugan is Fresh Foods Trading Controller at Henderson Wholesale, sustaining and creating relationships with some of the top farmers, growers and suppliers in Northern Ireland for the group’s network of over 450 SPAR, EUROSPAR and VIVO branded stores. Nigel’s role on the judging panel is to lend an informed ear to our independent judges and ensure a deeper understanding of the way Henderson’s Fresh Team works with its suppliers.

Enter Now!

Entry for the 2019 Henderson Fresh Innovation Awards is now open – Download your entry form here!


Contact us!

If you would like to contact us please email us at; Henderson Food Innovation Awards
C/O JComms
Unit 9, 232-240 Belmont Road
028 9076 0066
Jane Williams, jane.williams@jcomms.co.uk
Rosemary Allister, rosemary.allister@jcomms.co.uk