Waitrose's British Farming Counts initiative, designed to support farmers and reconnect consumers with their food, was "beautifully done" and "inspirational to the hilt", according to the judges.

The four-strand initiative brought farmers into the living rooms of Waitrose customers across the country with a memorable "The Toughest Breed of Them All" TV ad campaign, which featured a number of the retailer's suppliers.

In addition, it held Meet the Farmer events across the country where farmers were invited into its stores to meet customers, talk about their products and hand out samples.

In the final planks of the initiative Waitrose worked with Country Living magazine for its Fair Trade for British Farmers campaign, which raised consumer awareness of the issues facing British farmers, and invited the public to Hampshire to see a working farm in action.

"This was a good initiative by a retailer to bring back trust in local meat after foot and mouth disease," was one judge's verdict.

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