Healthy lunch_single use

Own-label products are paying greater attention to consumers’ health concerns, according to the judges of The Grocer Own Label Awards 2017.

Food and drink experts lauded the “incredible” products among those submitted for consideration in this year’s competition – with 366 across 68 categories chosen through consumer testing conducted by Cambridge Market Research. Those then underwent scrutiny from an expert panel.

Many of this year’s long-listed entrants had “thought long and hard about nutritional value”, said Euro Food Brand MD Peter Butler, one of a panel comprising development chefs, nutritionists, brand developers, food journalists, independent buyers and other industry experts.

Jonny Bingham, director of Bingham & Jones, added: “We’ve seen some really innovative stuff, especially within free-from.”

The variety of products also had “more traceability and provenance coming through”, said Jack Hamilton, director of Mash Direct, who also noted the trend towards “cleaner” packaging.

Overall, the own-label items being considered set a standard that encouraged brands “to get better and better”, claimed Clare Blampied, MD of Saclà UK. “These awards recognise a huge amount of effort: perspiration and inspiration.”

There are just over two weeks to go before the winners are revealed at a lavish lunchtime event at London Hilton on Park Lane.

On Friday 12 May, prizes will be handed out by hosts Anneka Rice and Adam Leyland, editor of The Grocer, with two winners in each category: one for overall champion and the other for finest innovation. An overall champion of champions will also be announced.

Most tables have been filled, but a few remain. Book your place now via the dedicated awards site.