Suppliers are under pressure to make products that fit the tighter requirements of each supermarket, but they clearly recognise the pressure buyers are under when growing the category and assessing innovation.
For a category that often takes up a relatively small footprint in relation to the total floor space of a store, a large number of yoghurt and pot desserts buyers were nominated for this feature and competition was fierce to get into the top six.
Sainsbury's Emma Dunlop emerges as the Star Buyer. Suppliers praise her for being clear on her requirements. She also gets recognition for the fact that she "is efficient and follows up on proposals," and also wins respect for showing enthusiasm.
"Dunlop is pragmatic and judges business cases with the category in mind," says one supplier. "Her passion and determination to develop a winning joint business is, with my eight years in the industry, the best I have seen."
Dunlop isn't the only buyer who displays noteworthy determination. Tesco's James Cornish stands out because he is "always looking for solutions and opportunities", says another supplier.
Cornish gets praise for being fairly easy to reach on the phone and "to the point and fair. He strikes the best deal for Tesco but is also supportive of smaller businesses."
Understanding and having a passion for the category is an admirable quality. Jane Hills, Waitrose's dairy buyer, is rewarded for having "detailed knowledge of the sector". Suppliers think warmly of her because she is keen to try new products and doesn't shy away from new ideas.
Another person who is receptive to new challenges is Steve Dixon, trading controller at Nisachill. Suppliers consider him to be open, pragmatic and "willing to take a risk". Others say they have established good working relationships with Dixon to develop their brands.
A friendly approach is another winning quality. It's why Laura Kingsman from Budgens takes her place in the top six. As well as her approachability, Kingsman can strike the best deal for Budgens and that earns her the respect of suppliers.
Nicky Lees, Asda's dairy buyer for yoghurts and health drinks, is noted because she "is not afraid to challenge her business to drive new opportunities she feels are right for the category". She is supportive of NPD but "demands they are supported by a strong launch package in return".