Passionate about Local

Fresh Innovation Awards postponed until Friday, 21st August 2020. Entries received to date will be included in a new judging session and new entries are welcome.

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 21st August 2020, 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 2020 Henderson Fresh Innovation Awards is now open – Download your entry form here!



We’ve made some slight amends to some of our categories and added a brand new one – FRESH PRODUCE SUPPLIER of the YEAR. 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 food Innovator

Celebrating rising talent throughout the industry, this award recognises 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

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 2019.


Henderson Wholesale’s strategy to be Famous for Fresh is continuing with the help of dynamic farmers, growers and wholesale suppliers who are producing and distributing innovative, convenient and great tasting produce. Tell us how your products have influenced and inspired Henderson’s fresh produce categories to be the best in the business..

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 Butler is a food writer and Food NI’s Communications Manager. He is the Regional Coordinator of the UK Guild of Food Writers and a member of the Irish Guild of Food Writers.

Michele Shirlow MBE

Michele Shirlow MBE is the Chief Executive of Food NI and a Board Member of Tourism NI. Food NI enhances the reputation of food and drink from Northern Ireland and in 2019 won Best Food Destination at the International Travel and Tourism Awards at World Travel Market..

Joy Alexander

Joy Alexander has been on the judging panel since the awards began in 2013. She is Head of Future Food Policy, DAERA 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 20 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 Food & Drink Business Development Centre Manager, after taking up the role when the centre opened in January 2018. 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 2020 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