Independent retailers visiting Speciality & Fine Food Fair, taking place from Sunday 1 to Tuesday 3 September, will be able to find out all about the Guild of Fine Food’s annual Shop of the Year competition on stand 4109. With a dedicated team located on the Great Taste Deli, which will be showcasing thousands of award-winners from Great Taste 2019, shop owners will have the opportunity to peruse the shelves before discovering the benefits of entering a competition that recognises and promotes excellence in independent retail.
Previously forming part of the Great Taste accreditation scheme, Shop of the Year offers small independent retailers, such as delis, farm shops and cheesemongers, the opportunity to achieve a stamp of approval from respected industry experts. Shop of the Year has five main categories, which businesses can enter themselves into, including Delicatessen & Grocer; Specialist Cheese Shop; Farm Shop (farmer owned); Food Hall; and Specialist Food or Drink Shop. A Newcomer Award will be given to a worthy category entrant that has been trading for less than two years and any entrants considered to be leading the way with new ideas will be considered for the Innovation Award.
Written entries will be reviewed by a panel of expert judges, which includes Edward Berry of The Flying Fork, Stuart Gates, former managing director at Fortnum & Mason and senior buyer at Harrods, award-winning retailer Tracey Colley and food writer, Patrick McGuigan. All finalists will then be mystery shopped by customer experience specialists, Insight6, before the judges complete an announced visit this autumn, where they will assess aspects such as the overall shopping experience, environmental impact and any staff initiatives.
Shop of the Year, which is free to enter, will close for entry on Friday 20 September. Entries can be submitted online at gff.co.uk/awards/soty. The winners of each category will be announced in March 2020 at Fine Food Show North in Harrogate.