East of England Co-op recognises local food heroes

The Taste of Suffolk award

Roger Simons and Chris Simons, managing director of The Taste of Suffolk, with Roger Grosvenor at their plant in Bury St Edmunds. - Credit: Jason Dodd

One of Suffolk's best-known food producers and the large supermarket in the heart of Woodbridge have won top awards from the East of England Co-op this year after a public vote.

Bury St Edmunds-based The Taste of Suffolk produces sausages, gammon, burgers and other meats that are sold in Co-op stores across Suffolk, Essex and Norfolk and was named Producer of the Year in the Co-op's 2021 Sourced Local awards.

East of England Co-op joint chief executive Roger Grosvenor said: “What’s fantastic about this year’s awards is that the winners were chosen by the communities that our local producers and colleagues have worked so hard to support. It’s lovely to see them being celebrated by our customers and members.”

After accepting his award Chris Simons, managing director of The Taste of Suffolk said: “It’s a real honour and privilege to receive this award on behalf of the company and all the staff that have really worked hard.

Their commitment and effort during the lockdown to produce the products has helped us win this award. It’s been a massive boost to our business working with a company that has a like-minded ethos and the same values, it’s really helped us thrive.”

The Co-op's Woodbridge Supermarket was nominated as a finalist for Store of the Year because of colleagues’ hard work promoting and supporting local suppliers. The team likes to visit local sites, such as strawberry and asparagus fields, to gain as much knowledge about local products as possible.

Woodbridge Co-op award

Roger Grosvenor presents the Store of the Year award to Shirley Pierce at the Woodbridge Co-op supermarket. - Credit: Jamie Niblock

Shirley Pierce, Customer Service Assistant said: “Receiving this award means the world to me and to all my colleagues here who have worked extremely hard to get this award.

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"The steps we’ve taken to support local suppliers is that we always order in large quantities, and we sell large quantities. People in the town and surrounding areas come here specially for locally sourced items because it hasn’t had to travel 100 miles and the quality is marvellous.”

The East of England Co-op works with about 100 local producers through its multi-award winning Sourced Locally initiative, which has generated millions of pounds for the regional economy since launching in 2007.