Gilfresh Produce has won a top award at the Henderson Wholesale Local Supplier of the Year awards announced during a special ceremony at the Balmoral Show.
Gilfresh, based in Loughgall, Co. Armagh grows root veg and has been supplying swedes, sweethearts, carrots, parsnips, leeks, kale and cauliflower to the Henderson Group since September 2015. The company picked up the Tomorrow Matters Award which recognises their outstanding contribution to CSR.
As a progressive family business, CSR is at the heart of everything Gilfresh does. From caring for their own staff, reaching out in their local communities and ensuring charitable giving throughout the year, to building the most energy efficient infrastructures on their land.
Last year, the company completed the building of an Anaerobic Digester Plant; this structure will process 7,500 tonnes of waste vegetables, combined with grass and maize, which will be used to generate gas, which is then turned into electricity. This will produce around 4million FW per year and will be used to power the entire business.
Gilfresh is also mindful of water consumption, and has a mechanism in place which ensures waste water from their washing plant and pack house is linked to spray guns which pump water to approx. 45 acres of land surrounding the factory. This water is filtered through limestone rock, with the clean water naturally fed back to a bore hole where it is available for use once again by the factory.
Freda Magill, Chairperson of the UFU’s Rural Affairs Committee and member of the independent judging panel for the awards, attended the ceremony and presented William Gilpin from Gilfresh Produce with the award. Also in attendance was Steven Millar, Head of Agri-Food Support Services within the Department of Agriculture, Environment & Rural Affairs (DAERA) who spoke of the importance of growing our local agri-food industry.
Now in their fourth year, the prestigious awards scheme allows the Henderson Group, who owns the SPAR and EUROSPAR franchises in Northern Ireland to recognise the outstanding efforts of local supply companies their Wholesale business is developing fresh and ambient ranges with.
Joining Freda Magill on the judging panel this year, were some of the most respected names in agri-food and business including agri-journalist Richard Wright, Head of Food Technology Development at CAFRE, Joy Alexander and Ulster Business editor, David Elliott.
Neal Kelly, Fresh Foods Director at Henderson Group said; “We had an outstanding level of entries for the fourth year of our awards and we’re hugely grateful to both our local suppliers and panel of judges for embracing this initiative each year.
“Gilfresh Produce demonstrated a high level of commitment to bettering the communities where they work which has allowed them to go forward and win the Tomorrow Matters award. They are entirely supportive of our own Passionate about Local messaging and we are confident our relationship will only grow stronger to create even better services for our stores and shoppers.