The 10th annual Grocer Gold Awards are approaching fast. As a prelude, we reveal the shortlist for the Suppliers of the Year

The 10th annual Grocer Gold Awards are coming soon. In next week’s issue of The Grocer, the full shortlist of nominees will be revealed. Then, on Tuesday 11 June, deserving award winners will pop corks in celebration of a memorable and well-deserved win.

Among those celebrating on the night will be the winners of the two hotly contested supplier of the Year awards. Nominated by buyers from the top five supermarkets, symbols and buying groups, and other grocery wholesalers and retailers, over the next few pages we take a close look at the 20 category winners, who are now shortlisted on both the branded and own-label side.

On the night itself, the ultimate winners of the Branded and Own-Label Supplier awards will be decided by top trading and commercial directors. And an equally lengthy and rigorous process will take place to choose the always popular Store Manager of the Year award, which sees a Grocer 33 winning manager from each of the top five retailers face down a panel of industry judges, in Dragons’ Den style, as they put forward their case for why they should win.

It’s not an easy pitch. The judges know their stuff. Last year they picked Sainsbury’s GSM George Paton as Store Manager of the Year. Four months later he went on to score a perfect 100% in the Grocer 33 mystery shop - the first store manager to do so in the history of the mystery shopping and price survey.

The Grocer 33 will also generate three other awards on the night. One for price, which -predictably - will be heading up North to take pride of place in Asda’s head office in Leeds. There is also the availability award, for which - with six weeks to go - Sainsbury’s looks odds-on favourite to win plus the award for customer service, which is currently neck and neck between Sainsbury’s and Tesco. It looks like that one will go right to the wire - can Tesco secure a first-ever Grocer 33 win for customer service?

Other awards being handed out on the night include Britain’s Favourite Supermarket, which is decided every year by a Nielsen poll. Last year Asda scooped the prize again. Can it make it three in a row?

New for 2013, the award for Technology and logistics has been split into two separate awards to reflect the increasing use of technology beyond the confines of supply chain and logistics. Symbol Group of the Year, Brand of the Year (food and drink) and Own-Label Range of the Year are among the other hotly contested awards up for grabs, as the evening builds to a climax when the winner of the biggest award of the night is revealed, for The Grocer of the Year.

“This year is set to be another fascinating contest,” says Adam Leyland, editor of The Grocer. “Last time, the big winners among the supermarkets were Morrisons and Asda, but Aldi and Waitrose have led the industry this year, and among the big four, Sainsbury’s has seen the best performance. As for Tesco, you can never rule them out, and the UK business juggernaut has started to turn around under CEO Philip Clarke and his new UK managing director Chris Bush, who are introducing interesting and new ideas to cheer up their big sheds. It’s some turnaround for them to be challenging at the top.

“With record entries again this year, I’m thrilled by the way the shortlist is shaping up,” adds Leyland. “And it promises to be the best awards ever, with stunning food and drink once again, and comedian Patrick Kielty hosting the evening.”

Held in the historic setting of London’s Guildhall, guests on the night will enjoy a Champagne drinks reception before heading into the magnificent main hall for a delicious three-course dinner before the entertainment and the awards begin. The guest list includes a who’s who of industry bigwigs, making it a great night for entertaining, entertainment and networking.

“If you’re shortlisted,” adds Leyland, “you should buy your tickets soon because The Grocer Gold Awards is always a sellout due to the limited number of tickets available, and the fact it’s such a great night.”

To book tickets, for the full shortlist and for more information (plus a list of previous winners going back to 2003), go to Details will also be published in The Grocer next week.

The suppliers going for Gold