East of England Co-op Sourced Locally Awards winners crowned

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Nearly three thousand votes were cast online by members and customers for this year’s Producer of the Year and Store of the Year.

The East of England Co-op has announced that The Taste of Suffolk and Woodbridge Supermarket are the winners of their 2021 Sourced Locally Awards. This year, for the first time ever, the champions were decided exclusively by customer and member votes.

The local retailer’s 2021 awards celebrate the amazing efforts of local producers to meet unprecedented demand during the pandemic and recognise outstanding work by colleagues to support local producers. Six finalists were shortlisted in each of the categories, recognising outstanding local food and drink producers, and stores that have gone the extra mile to champion local produce.

The winners were announced via surprise visits from East of England Co-op joint chief executive, Roger Grosvenor. The visits were captured on camera and you can watch the films here:

Producer of the Year, The Taste of Suffolk.

Store of the Year, Woodbridge Supermarket.

Roger said: “It was a privilege to present this year’s winners, The Taste of Suffolk and Woodbridge Supermarket, with their Sourced Locally Awards. Their awards represent an unwavering commitment and passion to providing our customers with the highest quality food and drink through a period of unprecedented challenges.

“What’s fantastic about this year’s awards is that the winners were chosen by the communities that our local producers and colleagues have worked so hard to support. It’s lovely to see them being celebrated by our customers and members.”

The Taste of Suffolk is a third-generation family business based in Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk, and has been producing quality sausages, bacon and cooked meats for more than 40 years. With demand for barbecue products sizzling during lockdown, The Taste of Suffolk decided to launch a new range of burgers for customers to enjoy at home.

After accepting his award Chris Simons, managing director of The Taste of Suffolk said: “It’s a real honour and privilege to receive this award on behalf of the company and all the staff that have really worked hard. Their commitment and effort during the lockdown to produce the products has helped us win this award. It’s been a massive boost to our business working with a company that has a like-minded ethos and the same values, it’s really helped us thrive.”

East of England Co-op Woodbridge Supermarket in Suffolk was nominated as a finalist for Store of the Year because of colleagues’ hard work promoting and supporting local suppliers. The team likes to visit local sites, such as strawberry and asparagus fields, to gain as much knowledge about local products as possible.

Shirley Pierce, Customer Service Assistant said: “Receiving this award means the world to me and to all my colleagues here who have worked extremely hard to get this award. The steps we’ve taken to support local suppliers is that we always order in large quantities, and we sell large quantities. People in the town and surrounding areas come here specially for locally sourced items because it hasn’t had to travel 100 miles and the quality is marvellous.”

The East of England Co-op works with approximately 100 local producers through its multi-award winning Sourced Locally initiative, which has generated millions of pounds for the regional economy since launching in 2007.

Read more about the winners and all twelve 2021 Sourced Locally Award finalists.