Lovingly Artisan Bakery has clinched the title of Retailer of the Year at the Farm Shop & Deli Awards 2024.

The bakery, based in Kendal, and at Altrincham Market, Manchester, beat stiff competition across the UK and Northern Ireland to scoop the award.

The celebrated bakery did not stop there, however, as it also picked up the Baker of the Year and North England regional winner accolades.

These awards followed a detailed judging process, culminating in a ceremony held on April 29 at the annual Farm Shop & Deli Show at NEC Birmingham.

The event, attended by fellow finalists, show visitors, exhibitors, and enthusiasts, saw a total of 11 category winners, seven regional winners, Newcomer of the Year, and Retailer of the Year revealed.

Speaking about Lovingly Artisan Bakery, judges commented: “Innovative business methods, knowledgeable and passionate staff, fantastic turnover. Strong brand identity on website, fabulous subscription boxes online and high following on Instagram. Love the bread truck concept. Great entry!”

Their new wood chip oven was also highly praised for increasing turnover and lowering their carbon footprint.

Some categories saw such close competition that the judges decided to award Highly Commended to multiple finalists.

Nigel Barden, chairman of judges, said: "I’m delighted we’ve awarded category and regional winners, and this year’s Retailer of the Year has also picked up the accolades of Best Baker and Best Retailer in the North of England.

"Aidan Monks has been baking for 35 years and the Kendal and Altrincham bakeries that he and Catherine Connor, his wife, run, are sublime - as are the team who work with them.

"Such worthy champions, joining a select band of previous Retailers of the Year.

"All in all, another year of fabulous entries, reflecting how vibrant the artisan food and drink retail sector is.”

Catherine Connor from Lovingly Artisan Bakery said: "We’re all totally blown away!

"We didn’t expect to win any awards, but to come away with three demonstrates just how exceptional every member of our team is.

"The annual Farm Shop & Deli Retailer Awards are one of the biggest in the food and drink industry and to come away with the overall title is absolutely amazing.’

’For us the customer journey is extremely important, you can have the best products in the world but if you don’t get the whole customer experience right from the start people will simply vote with their feet.

"Every single member of the team works hard each and every day to ensure that all of our customers get the best possible experience when they shop with us, so that they can really enjoy the whole experience of buying healthy nourishing artisan sourdough bread for their family table."

This year, the awards were supported by Fieldfare, who will be championing the Awards for the next three years.

Matt Whelan, managing director at Fieldfare, said: "It is an honour to be involved in these important awards.

"We have been impressed by the exceptionally high quality of the entries and look forward to supporting our industry colleagues by continuing to champion the Farm Shop & Deli Retail Awards again next year, and beyond."

A complete list of the winners can be viewed by visiting http://event.farmshopanddelishow.co.uk