Brakes has put in its best-ever performance at the Chefs’ Choice Awards taking home nine category wins and six awards for Highly Rated products as well as the overall award for best product.
Judges praised the foodservice wholesaler’s La Boulangerie Small Dark Chocolate Tart for being a “premium product with a luxurious feel that really delivered.”
Rival wholesaler Booker put in a strong performance too with four winning products and five Highly Commended products.
Created by The Grocer’s parent company William Reed Business Media, the annual awards are designed to highlight the quality credentials of mid-market food service products and bring together professionals from the hospitality, wholesale and food manufacturing industries.
This year’s awards received a record amount of entries, with nearly 100 products shortlisted across 19 categories including chilled salads, preserves, meat, and cheese and dairy products.
While the UK’s big three foodservice companies Brakes, Booker and Bidfood were well-represented, the awards also showcased a diverse selection of smaller suppliers including Love Taste Co., Whitby Seafoods, Delifrance and Major International.
The latter put in an especially strong performance, winning both the free-from category and the soup and stock category.
As ever, there was lots of innovation on display, and nowhere more so than in the vegan and plant-based category which saw Vivera take home a Highly Rated award for its Plant Shawarma Kebab and Bidfood win with its Everyday Favourites Vegan Sausage Roll.
The full list of Winners and Highly Rated products is available here.
The products were judged at Food Innovation Solutions’ Waterloo development kitchen by a panel that included experienced chefs from a number of different sectors.
All the entries were assessed on a range of criteria including appearance, aroma, flavour, texture, value for money and innovation.
The awards give category Winners, entrants achieving a Highly Rated standard and Finalists the use of respected endorsement logos on packaging and in all marketing at no cost.
“Chefs and the pubs, restaurants, hotels and other catering businesses they represent need all the help they can get in these challenging and uncertain times. Competition is as intense as ever, operating costs are high and hiring and retaining skilled staff is a challenge,” says event director Sonia Young.
“The right product can help stretched teams meet their customer’s expectations, and that’s where quality foodservice suppliers come in. Think of these awards as a seal of approval to improve customer trust, engagement and sales, allowing suppliers to independently validate the taste and value of their products.”
The Chefs’ Choice Awards will return next year.