We get, I am glad to say, very few complaints about the FreeFrom Food Awards – but the one comment that crops up every year is –
‘Well it’s always the same – the supermarkets get all the gold medals and the small people don’t get anything….’
We know that this isn’t true but on this occasion we thought we would put together a few facts and figures to prove it. So, put your statistical hats on and focus….
Total number of entries: 485
Total number of supermarket entries (Asda, Tesco, Coop, Ocado, Morrisons): 124
All other entries: 361
Total number of entrants who were shortlisted: 305
Other shortlisted: 234
Total number of Gold, Silver or Bronze awards: 173
By supermarkets: 47
By others: 126
Total number of Gold awards: 40
Total number of Silver awards: 66
Total number of Bronze awards: 67
It is true that the supermarkets (well, Asda, Tesco and, off and on, the Coop) dominated certain categories – Meaty and Fishy Ready Meals and TeaTime! spring to mind. But overall they were very thoroughly out numbered by small new producers or well established medium sized freefrom enterprises – Doves Farm, Orgran, Ugo Thrive, BoojaBooja, BFree, Bute Island, Wildcraft Bakery, My Gammies, Anila’s, Nairn’s, Pulsin, Gluten Free Kitchen and many, many more.
And while we all love to hate the supermarkets, freefrom would certainly not be in the position it is today if the supermarkets (Tesco, Sainsbury and Asda in particular but latterly Morrisons and the Coop with Ocado and Waitrose gradually becoming more involved) had not picked up on it and run with it. They have put serious effort into NPD (new product development) and, certainly in the early days, a disproportionate amount of effort into promoting it.
Yes, we know it is good PR to be seen to be supporting allergic and coeliac customers, and we know that although small, it is the one area of the food business which is actually growing. But over the years we have been really impressed with the dedication of many people in the supermarket freefrom teams to actually getting a better offer out there for their food restricted customers.
So yes, we do love the supermarkets – they have contribute hugely to the growth of our industry – but, they most certainly do not dominate the FreeFrom Food Awards!