We make no apologies for the fact that this issue is dominated somewhat by coverage of The Grocer Gold Awards 2006, which were presented on Thursday night at an industry dinner at The Dorchester in London.
The evening was a great chance for us to celebrate everything that is so fantastic about this industry; the very things that we are probably all guilty of forgetting as we focus on the (sometimes very scary) day-to-day issues facing our businesses. But it doesn&'t matter whether you are a retailer, wholesaler or supplier, you should be proud to be part of an industry that is truly innovative, customer-focused and responsible.
It was great to see The Dorchester was packed for the awards, with a room full of suppliers, wholesalers and retailers big and small - a diversity that reflects the readership of this magazine.
We pride ourselves on being the &'critical friend&' of this vast, complex and exciting industry. We see our role as being its independent voice, not its mouthpiece. So we will criticise where we see things that we think are wrong; praise the stuff that impresses us; and defend you when you are under attack (usually for the wrong reasons).
That means our awards are one, very special, way in which we can do the praising bit of that equation.
They take a lot of time to pull together (the supplier awards are based on six months of research, for instance) and we take a lot of care to make sure the entire judging process represents everything you would expect from The Grocer. But it&'s all worthwhile, because we think our awards have real credibility (even if you were not among the winners). So congratulations to all those who picked up gongs. You are truly the best of the best.