Supermarkets, suppliers get ready for a night of magic

The biggest night of the year happens for supermarkets and their

suppliers next Wednesday with the annual SuperMeat Awards.

Now in its eighth year, the awards will see supermarket head office and store staff, their suppliers and trade VIP's gather to celebrate excellence in meat and fish retailing.

A total of 30 products and 18 stores are up for awards. Category winners for beef, pork, lamb, fresh meat, poultry, sausage, ready meals and seafood will be named as well as the best stores in Scotland, Wales and four regions of England. From these category and regional winners, the best overall product and top store will be named. Awards for the best meat and fish serve-over counters will also be given.

The Red Meat Industry Forum will also use the glittering occasion to

announce the winner of its Supply Chain Excellence Award. The award will go to the company that has demonstrated continuous business improvement over the past year. There are three contenders - Geo Adams & Sons, for bringing significant savings to its supply chain and involving staff at every step of the way; Romford Wholesale Meats Food Group, for developing an integrated supply chain where improvements benefit each of the businesses involved; and Turton Quality Foods, for building innovative partnerships with other companies, enabling it to grow its core business.

While the awards' primary aim is to recognise those stores, product developers and suppliers that have achieved most during the last year, entertainment will be firmly on the evening's agenda. This year TV personality, journalist and writer Quentin Willson will host the show. Best known for fronting motoring TV shows including Top Gear, Britain's Worst Driver and The Car is the Star, Wilson is also building a name for himself as a champion of consumer awareness and customer service in all areas of life.

Magician and ventriloquist Paul Zerdin will also bring his unique style of entertainment to the evening. Zerdin won TV's The Big Big Talent Show, by more than 100,000 votes and has since toured with Ronnie Corbett, and appeared in the Royal Variety Performance. No doubt he will have a few surprises up his sleeve for the evening. More than 500 guests are scheduled to attend the event, which will be held at the Hilton Hotel in London's Park Lane. It is organised by MTJ through William Reed Events. The evening is sponsored by Bord Bia, BPEX, DBMC, EBLEX, HCC, RMIF and Vion.