FWD Gold Medal awards 2023: The best of the best

Celebrating success was the name of the game at Old Billingsgate as wholesalers, suppliers and individuals were recognised for their passion, commitment, innovation and service at the FWD Gold Medal awards 2023


  • 950+ guests (the guests (the biggest audience to date)
  • 25 awards
  • 30 sponsors
  • 12 supplier awards
  • 6 individual wholesale awards
  • 1 special special guest host
  • £10k raised for raised for FareShare


Henderson Foodservice
Henderson Foodservice is in a different league. The Northern Ireland wholesaler has demonstrated the use of tech across all parts of its business, having invested £200,000 in this area over the last 12 months. The judges commended the way data and insight has been instrumental in an impressive jump in turnover, up 44% to £188m this year. Henderson’s tech-first approach has won new business, with 432 new independent accounts in NI and 149 in the Republic of Ireland.

Shortlisted: Bestway Wholesale, Henderson Foodservice, Woods Foodservice


Sysco GB
Sysco demonstrated commitment to decarbonising its own operations and supply chain, taking significant action in key areas such as vehicles, buildings and supply chain. It reduced logistics emissions by investing in low-carbon innovation in two 19-tonne multi-temperature trucks – among the first commercial electric vehicles of this size in the sector. Wider collaboration includes hosting sustainability engagement days with customers to focus on creating aligned strategies and share successful initiatives that demonstrably reduce carbon emissions. Sysco’s 2030 targets signal its continuing ambition to achieve deep decarbonisation.

Shortlisted: Booker, Lomond Food, Sysco GB


Kevin Peacock, JJ Foodservice
Judges were blown away by Kevin’s heroic move to save a woman’s life this year. While on his usual delivery route, the car in front abruptly slammed on its brakes and he noticed that the driver, a woman with two young children in the car, was rapidly losing consciousness, leaving all the doors locked. Kevin smashed the car window and safely removed the two- and four-year-old children to a secure location, dialled 999 and placed the lady in the recovery position. Days later, a phone call from the victim’s grateful mother confirmed the severity of the situation: a brain haemorrhage had threatened her daughter’s life. Kevin’s manager hailed him as an ‘absolute hero’.

Shortlisted: Nick McKeegan (Bidfood), Kevin Peacock (JJ Foodservice), Stephen Preston (Creed Foodservice)


Gail Davidson, Henderson Foodservice
Gail has become a firm favourite within the Henderson team and customers, and is the ultimate professional in her role. A calming influence, problem solver and brilliant at communicating with others to find solutions, customers love and trust her implicitly. Gail has an encyclopaedic memory of Henderson’s product range and is outstanding at upselling and pushing promotions, as well as visiting new customers and introducing herself personally as a point of contact. Henderson says she makes every person in her team a priority, nothing is too much to ask and everything is done with a passion for the company.

Shortlisted: Gail Davidson (Henderson Foodservice), Ewelina Lojas (Bidfood), Claire Webb (Creed Foodservice)


Patrick Nayler, Creed Foodservice
Paddy’s all-rounder approach is impressive, making him a stand-out winner in this category. Paddy is passionate about the business and people, always going the extra mile to ensure customers and his team are happy. He has been instrumental in attracting new business for Creed, such as Center Parcs, and has a sharp eye trained on the metrics within the business.

Shortlisted: Mike Bradley (Bestway Wholesale), Patrick Nayler (Creed Foodservice), Chris Snowdon (Costco Wholesale)


Kane Pearce, JJ Foodservice
Kane impressed with his outside-the-box thinking and introduction of the festival market to JJ’s. His vision for success saw 45 new customers join JJ’s, generating more than £700,000 in sales revenue. Kane epitomises everything the industry strives for, including passion, drive, innovation, commitment, creativity, and proactivity.

His customers say he treats them as if their business was his own, and his personal approach sets him apart as he consistently goes above and beyond to meet his customers’ needs.

Shortlisted: Geoff Baird (Henderson Foodservice), Stewart Fenn (Booker), Kane Pearce (JJ Foodservice)


Amanda Casey, JW Filshill
Amanda has made an outstanding contribution to not only Filshill but the wholesale sector as a whole. She takes a holistic approach to her work, making a difference to all Filshill employees. Judges noted Amanda goes above and beyond to share the work she is doing with the wider industry, which is to the benefit of Women in Wholesale, being an active member of its steering committee. One judge said: “Amanda has moved the wellness sector on and taken us out of the dark ages. She is the blueprint for the sector.”

Shortlisted: Amanda Casey (JW Filshill), Malgorzata Lasota (JJ Foodservice), Debbie Spear (Sysco GB)


Holly Pennington, Parfetts
Holly has made an enormous contribution to Parfetts’ continued success and is described by her colleagues as a first responder, always ready to take up a new challenge and think outside the box to exceed expectations. The judges were impressed with Holly’s introduction of an absenteeism model, which has reduced the costs of absence by 25% across the business. Holly’s commitment to FWD’s Future Leaders Forum was also praised, culminating in her presenting at this year’s Diversity in Wholesale conference.

Shortlisted: Niamh Gregory (Henderson Foodservice), Leyla Motisi (JJ Foodservice), Holly Pennington (Parfetts)


Dunsters Farm
This was a strong category with a number of excellent submissions, but Dunsters Farm stood out as the worthy winner. The foodservice wholesaler has made big investments over the last 12 months, and impressed the judges with a commitment to support its own employees with measures including flexible working.

Judges said: “Everything they do they seem to do with quality and class; they execute it all well. Dunsters is a best-in-class example of wholesale.”

Shortlisted: Dunns Food & Drinks, Dunsters Farm, Woods Foodservice


Adams Foodservice
Adams demonstrated stand-out initiatives, supporting businesses in central London with out-of-hours deliveries, investing in AI and in students and graduates. Low-emissions vehicles have also been introduced. As a result, this wholesaler has seen business growth jump 15% over the last 12 months. Judges said that Adams has clearly positioned itself as a major player in the foodservice market.

Shortlisted: Adams Foodservice, Bidfood, JJ Foodservice


Everything Parfetts does is an industry game changer and the wholesaler is constantly innovating and evolving. It opened a new state-of-the-art depot in Birmingham in March, and the team of 80 colleagues have already recruited more than 1,800 customers. The three Go Local fascias grew by more than 200 stores in the year to June, to a total of 1,100. Parfetts’ like-for-like turnover increased by 5% in the year to June 2023, taking it over the £600m mark, and the Parfest festival in July 2023 brought in a record £21m sales in a week.

Shortlisted: Bestway Wholesale, Lioncroft Wholesale, Parfetts


Small Beer
Small Beer demonstrates an impressive 18% growth year-on-year. The company’s ethos stood out from the crowd with its passion to support regional and independent pub owners, and doing that really well. Small Beer clearly demonstrated its strengths and the moves made over the last 12 months to ignite a jump in sales. These included six field sales reps recruited specifically to go out and support independent pub owners, and an increased stock holding, with additional trucks.

Shortlisted: Cellar Drinks Company, Greene King, Small Beer


Creed Foodservice
Creed Foodservice clearly demonstrates a diverse and inclusive culture, led by senior managers who have all received equity, diversity and inclusion training. It has made great in-roads in supporting colleagues’ mental health and wellbeing across the business and has made significant adjustments to ensure it is an attractive employer for colleagues who have a disability or are neurodivergent, and aims to have an understanding of each employee’s ‘whole self’.


Budweiser Brewing Group
BBG is committed to decarbonising its own operations and supply chain, having already taken significant action in key areas, such as renewably sourced electricity and supply chain emissions. BBG has invested in on-site renewables such as wind turbines and solar panels at breweries, which has enabled all its UK production to be powered by high-quality, renewably sourced electricity.

Shortlisted: Budweiser Brewing Group, Molson Coors Beverages Company


Issy Blatherwick, Budweiser Brewing Group
Issy’s dedicated efforts and focused management of account relationships resulted in impressive results, doubling volume and simplifying customer processes. Issy is a great team player and recognised by their peers for being a supportive and positive influence in the team, as well as taking initiative with new projects. Issy has played a pivotal role in championing diversity and empowerment, establishing a mentoring programme.

Shortlisted: Issy Blatherwick (Budweiser Brewing Group), David Walker (Heineken UK), Pete Wood (Arla Foods)


Heineken UK
This award was judged by a panel of experts, who said Heineken UK had clearly demonstrated it had diversity and inclusion principles running through the heart of its business, as well as partnering with external experts for support where needed. Heineken UK has a raft of workstreams covering the whole spectrum of the D & I agenda, including a gender network with a women and allies group, together with a roadmap to help close the gap between senior male and female roles. It runs mentoring events, has expanded its maternity buddy scheme, and teamed up with Fertility Matters and Over the Bloody Moon for menopause support.

Shortlisted: Heineken UK, KP Snacks, Molson Coors Beverages Company

FWD Gold Medals