Award-winning chef Ellis Berrie is joining the Co-op Group in celebrating Wales’ produce at its inaugural Welsh Supplier Awards.
The retailer, which stocks over 500 Welsh products, is inviting suppliers to enter the awards as part of its campaign to support local produce. All its own-brand fresh meat is sourced in Britain, which ensures Welsh lamb’s availability in-store all year round.
Mr Berrie, who with brother Liam runs restaurant Marram Grass in Newborough, Anglesey, is known for using local produce and seasonal ingredients, and will help the Group choose the winners.
He said: “The beauty, surroundings and abundance of fresh ingredients around our restaurant in Wales is a constant inspiration for our team, and we know this to be the case for many producers and growers in communities across Wales who create stand-out quality food and drink.
“I have a passion for local sourcing and seasonality which, I know, is at the heart of the Co-op’s approach, and I am delighted to team up with the community retailer as it launches its first Welsh Supplier Awards to celebrate and showcase the breadth of great Welsh food and drink.”
Mr Berrie won through to the final week of The Great British Menu in 2018 with his fish dish served up at a banquet to celebrate 70 years of the NHS. He is also planning to open a restaurant on the famous Albert Dock in his home city Liverpool.
The awards will recognise exceptional food and drink products, innovation, sustainability and suppliers who are active in their communities.
Tina Mitchell, director for Co-op Food, Wales, said: “Nothing brings people together quite like great food and, we know by listening to our Members and customers that quality, provenance and trust really matters – it is something that they care about. Launching the inaugural Welsh Supplier Awards provides an incredible opportunity to showcase a feast of Wales’ finest producers.
“Highlighting the impact that these farmers, growers and producers have, not only in producing great food and drink, but also the vital part they play in creating jobs, investing in communities and, ensuring that great Welsh food and drink is firmly on the map, where it belongs.”
Simon Dryell, head of local sourcing at the Group, added: “As a community retailer, locally sourced produce is an area where we see continued sustainable growth. This is driven by growing consumer demand and, increased awareness in locally produced food and drink, which is made with a mix of quality ingredients, pride, history and innovation.
“We build close relationships with our growers and producers, they are at the heart of local life and we want to support them and see them thrive in our communities.
“A co-operative is a different kind of business, and we believe a strong Co-op can create stronger communities by creating value in the towns, villages and cities that we serve. These award’s present a unique platform to showcase and celebrate our Welsh producers.”
The winners will be announced at a ceremony in Cardiff on 7 March.
The 12 categories are:
- Bakery Product of the Year
- Own Label Supplier of the Year
- New Product of the Year – market leading innovation produced Jan ‘18 – Feb ‘19
- Beers, Wines and Spirits (BWS) Product of the Year
- Fresh Product of the Year
- Grocery Product of the Year
- Best Agriculture Initiative
- Active in the Community
- Most Sustainable Supplier
- Local Supplier of the Year
- Succeed Together Award
- Supplier of the Year (Judges Award)