Six of the best to battle for East of England Co-op Producer of the Year 2017 title
- Credit: Archant
Every year, East of England Co-op customers vote for the regional retailer’s top local suppliers out of six finalists from across Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk. Now it’s time to choose the 2017 Producer of the Year. SARAH CHAMBERS reports.
Six regional producers are set to go head-to-head in an eagerly-anticipated annual competition.
The East of England Co-op has selected two shortlisted producers from Suffolk, Essex and Norfolk to compete in its Producer of the Year Awards, aimed at celebrating the regional retailer’s local suppliers.
This year’s shortlisted producers are Alder Tree Cream Ice and Hillfarm Oils from Suffolk, Marriage’s Flour and Great Tilkey Honey from Essex and Krusty Loaf and Dann’s Farm Ice Cream from Norfolk.
East of England Co-op members and customers are being encouraged to show their support for their favourite producer, with the public vote now open.
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Now in its fifth year, the awards are a celebration of local farmers, growers and producers from across the three counties and aim to raise the profile of food and drink producers in the region.
From Monday and all through January, members and customers are able to vote for their favourite producers both online and in East of England Co-op stores on selected dates.
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These votes will select the three county champions, who will then be visited by a panel of food and farming experts who’ll select the overall Producer of the Year, to be announced at the annual Supplier Supper in March.
The retailer works with more than 100 local producers through its Sourced Locally initiative, and the awards play a useful role in highlighting the importance of shopping locally.
Local sourcing and fresh food product manager Kevin Warden said: “These awards provide consumers with an insight into how the local food and drink on our shelves is produced and the opportunity to say thank you to those producers whose products they’ve enjoyed this year.
“The six shortlisted producers were chosen for their innovation and performance, packaging and promotion, and for demonstrating true co-operative spirit.
“Each year we create short films so you can hear first-hand from the people behind the products and learn what it takes to create the food and drink it’s often too easy to take for granted.”
Over 15,000 votes were cast in 2016, which saw potato and hand cooked crisp producers Fairfields Farm crowned Producer of the Year. Everyone who casts a vote this year will automatically be entered into a prize draw to win £100 of shopping vouchers.
To find out more about each of the shortlisted producers, visit www.eastofengland.coop/poty2017 where you can cast your vote. Voting opens Monday and stays open until January 31.
Customers can vote online at www.eastofengland.coop/poty2017 or in-store on selected dates.
The overall Producer of the Year will be announced on March 16.