Retailers across the country were recognised for their outstanding contribution to fresh food at Checkout Magazine’s “Best in Fresh” awards last Tuesday, and there was cause for celebration for one Galway store. The event saw hundreds of stores across Ireland audited by independent judges and Joyce’s Supermarket in Knocknacarra was awarded the title of Best Non–Affiliated Retailer in Ireland. According to the judging panel, Joyce’s offer the best fresh food offering, with a large selection of the freshest food sourced from many local suppliers. The fresh food team were commended for their passion and knowledge of the food.
The Best in Fresh awards were established to recognise stores and outlets with the freshest food offering in Ireland. With the country in the middle of a recession and price war, it was refreshing to see these retailers committed to a fresh offering for their customers. Across 20 categories, Ireland’s most innovative multiples, independent supermarkets, convenience stores, and forecourts compete for the prestigious accolades.
The judging process began with a comprehensive nationwide preliminary audit, conducted by leading customer-based market research and mystery shopping services company Customer Perceptions, followed by visits from a judging panel comprised of Valerie Rice, food industry consultant with clients including Bord Bia, Bulmers, Gilbeys, and Donnelly Fruit and Veg; Jeanne Quigley, Secretary of the Irish Food Writers Guild; and John Ruddy, Editor of Checkout Magazine and its retail intelligence news service.
Each entry was assessed across a number of key criteria, including overall freshness, range of offer, management and display of food in-store, traceability, and service and advice in-store.
John Ruddy of Checkout Magazine said: "In what is a hugely difficult economic climate, Irish retailers have been placed under significant pressure to deliver better value to their customers. What is refreshing to see, however, is that the winners and finalists in the Best in Fresh Awards have refused to take part in a race to the bottom, and are offering both great value and superb fresh food offerings. It is the retailers who are refusing to compromise on standards and excellence, especially in a fresh food context, that are differentiating themselves from the competition and remaining relevant to today's shopper.”