Delicatessens are alive and well, Dorset-based food company Olives Et Al has claimed.

Although statistics suggest the number of delis is in decline, Olives Et Al has launched a Deli of the Year competition, with more than 4,000 votes already cast across the country.

"Entries have come in from some great delis, but we've also had entries from farm shops, corner shops and butchers who all feel that they have a touch of the deli attitude about them," said Giles Henschel from Olives Et Al.

"This is not about the best-looking or the smartest deli or farm shop," he said. "It's about a real sense of pride in giving customers an experience they will want to repeat and above all a feeling that the produce has been chosen by someone who understands food."

The competition will run until the end of June.