THE Grocer Cup sounds like something from a race day at Leopardstown or Cheltenham. In a way, it is a champion hurdle of sorts – but for the retail and food services sector in the UK. And among those to make the shortlist for this year's prestigious award are Greencore boss Patrick Coveney (inset) and Dubliner Fiona Dawson, the president of Mars UK.
'The Grocer' – the influential industry publication that runs the awards – says the Grocer Cup is won by an individual who has "inspired their team to achieve exceptional results in the preceding year". Of Coveney, it says that while he was foiled in his bid to acquire Northern Foods, "he's impressed with his speedy integration of Uniq, while Greencore's buyout of US-based Market Fare Foods, and its new US sandwich supply deal with Starbucks, are already delivering".
On Dawson, 'The Grocer' says that Mars Chocolate brands continue to outperform the market. The amiable Dawson, in an interview this year with the Irish Independent, confessed that as a young girl she had aspirations to be Taoiseach. "The ability to be able to expand your horizons is amazing. I'm as ambitious for my family as I am for my career and my business," she said. A Grocer Cup might just be some icing on top.