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GroceryAid has hailed the food and drink industry for the level of support it has received with the publication of its annual awards – but warned that its services could be in greater demand as the living costs and food inflation rise.

There was a 20% increase in the number of winners honoured in the charity’s annual Grocery Awards this week, which GroceryAid said was indicative of the continued support it received from both large and small businesses.

The awards are calculated on three different factors, with points allocated to entrants based on their efforts to raise awareness, fundraising and volunteering. In total there were 60 more winners compared with the previous list.

Gold Awards were given to 95 organisations. Sixty-five received Silver, while 95 received Bronze. Arla Foods, Campari Group, Haribo, Asda, and William Reed, publisher of The Grocer, were among those to receive the top award.

An additional 112 organisations were acknowledged by the charity as recognised supporters of the charity.

“It is so important to have the industry’s support and for us to celebrate and recognise the exceptional contribution of our trade,” said GroceryAid CEO Steve Barnes.

GroceryAid provides emotional, financial, and practical support to people working within the sector.

The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, and more recently the rising cost of living crisis, mean that demand for its services is growing, the charity said. 

There was a 61% increase in instances for support provided by the charity in 2021 compared with the previous year, according to GroceryAid’s most recent impact report, published in August.

In total it provided 28,204 instances of support throughout the year. The charity also saw a 98% increase in the number of Relate counselling sessions, and a 101% increase in legal advice referrals during the period.

Latest figures published by the ONS show that the price of food and non-alcoholic beverages rose by 16.9% in December, climbing from 16.5% in November. It is the 17th consecutive month the ONS has logged higher food prices and the highest level since 1977.

“With cost of living worries set to increase, we are expecting colleagues to turn to us more than ever before,” Barnes said.

A full list of GroceryAid award winners is available on the charity’s website.