Dampening demand, rising costs, increasing competition… it’s been a year of mounting pressure and seismic shifts. So who’s defied the odds to turn in the best performance?

We need you to pick the winner of The Grocer Cup for Outstanding Achievement, to be announced at the IGD Food Industry Awards on 11 October

Peter Blakemore, MD, AF Blakemore
The king of convenience. Even before the March buyout of Capper & Co, his power was indisputable but now he is in another league. He has 45% of Spar’s buying power at his disposal and presides over an empire of more than 1,000 Spar stores with a turnover of £1.1bn.

Ranjit Singh Boparan, CEO, 2 Sisters
In February he swooped on Northern Foods, thwarting Greencore’s ambitions of acquiring the group. In May the poultry kingpin made the 275 spot of the Sunday Times Rich List with a valuation of £275m. His food empire passed the £1bn mark last year. He wants to hit £3bn by 2015.

Richard Cousins, CEO, Compass
Steadying a shaking ship, Cousins’ superb record since he took over the helm of the planet’s biggest caterer in 2006 has involved bringing in £3bn through divestments and appointing some top-class brass including CEO Ian Sarson. Now Cousins is on the acquisition trail.

Dalton Philips, CEO, Morrisons
Morrisons is flying. Philips has splashed out more than £100m on acquisitions so far this year. His newly revamped own label range hits shelves imminently and the retailer’s first c-store opened last month. If no-one knew who Dalton Philips was last year, they can be in no doubt now.

Justin King, CEO, Sainsbury’s
Sainsbury’s not only trounced its rivals last Christmas, it was also crowned most innovative supermarket in 2010 for its NPD. And, with the success of his recent Feed Your Family For £50 campaign, King has proved that he can do well without a certain Jamie.

Jim McCarthy, CEO, Poundland
The undisputed champ of round pound retailing, McCarthy’s Poundland has moved into everything from walking sticks to DVDs and he’s even working with P&G to develop bespoke products. He also has his sights set on increasing store numbers from 340 to 500 in the next three years.

Ken McMeikan, CEO, Greggs
Since taking over at Greggs in 2008, McMeikan has centralised the business and delivered solid results. Last year he realised record profits of £52.5m (up 8% y-o-y) on sales of £662m. Now he’s dipping his toe in take-home with a trial at Iceland and eyeing 500 more store openings.

Mark Price, MD, Waitrose
The fastest-growing major mult of recent years has a lot to thank the ‘chubby grocer’ for. After Delia and Heston, his Tesco price match strategy scored big, while two new tertiary brands delighted Waitrose’s traditionally posh core. The continued push into c-stores looks set to sustain growth.

Paul Polman, CEO, Unilever
Polman defied soaring costs and weakening demand to deliver an 18% hike in profits earlier this year. And recent acquisitions including Sara Lee, Tigi and Alberto Culver suggest his focus will be on the high-value end of things going forward.

Paul Walsh, CEO, Diageo
In the past year alone Walsh has blazed a trail into India and China and delivered a host of new premix products and flavour spin-offs for Smirnoff. Oh, and he signed Diageo’s biggest acquisition in over 10 years the buyout of Turkey’s biggest spirits player, for £1.3bn.

2010 Winner: Charles Wilson (pictured above)
Booker boss Charles Wilson collected The Grocer Cup for Outstanding Business Achievement from The Co-op CEO Peter Marks and The Grocer editor Adam Leyland at last year’s IGD Food Industry Awards.

“Booker made progress due to the commitment of our colleagues and the outstanding support of suppliers and customers,” said a modest Wilson, as Booker’s share price and profits outperformed the market.

Vote now!
Vote by phone: 01293 846535 or online at www.thegrocer.co.uk/grocercup. But don’t delay. For your vote to count, we need it ­by 31 August 2011.