- The competition – run by the East of England Co-op – pits two locally-sourced suppliers from each county against one another in a public vote
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Of the six finalists, just three – representing Suffolk, Essex, Norfolk respectively – are crowned county winners before one is picked as the overall champion.
Roger Grosvenor, joint chief executive at the East of England Co-op, said the awards – now in their seventh year – are a celebration of produce from across the region.
“East Anglia is packed full of businesses which produce some of the most diverse and delicious products in the UK,” he said.
“Producer of the Year aims to celebrate the success of these businesses and I would like to urge everyone to vote and show support for the six producers that have been picked to showcase the best of Suffolk, Norfolk and Essex.”
Choose Spice, which operates from the Suffolk Food Hall at Wherstead, is up against The Cake Shop in Woodbridge, Suffolk.
In Essex, jam producer Thursday Cottage is competing for votes against sandwich maker Raynors.
And in Norfolk two brewers are going head-to-head, with The Norfolk Brewhouse and Woodforde’s Brewery – both in the running.
Last year’s winner of the Producer of the Year title was Fergus Howie, owner of Maldon-based Wicks Manor Pork.
He said the win had helped boost the business in terms of reputation, customers and turnover.
“It meant so much to have the hard work of the whole team acknowledged and it was especially meaningful to reach the final, which is solely down to votes from the public,” he said.
“Becoming the East of England Co-op’s Producer of the Year gave us additional credibility and gave customers another reason to choose our products to serve to their family on the dinner table.
“Since the award was announced earlier this year, the business has gone from strength to strength. Wicks Manor has grown over 10 per cent this year, which in uncertain times, and with a very competitive retail sector, has been a great result.”
The public vote stage for Producer of the Year 2019 will run from 21st January until 21st February.