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Ireland’s health food retailers celebrate their 2023 Awards

Twenty-two of Ireland’s natural health retailers were handed awards in seven categories at the inaugural ‘Putting Our Best Foot Forward’ event in Shannon, County Clare, earlier this year.

The day was focused on networking, panel discussions and sectoral awards, with 40 trade exhibitors and over 60 retailer participants representing more than 70 health food shops.

The return of the annual Health Stores Ireland / New Natural Business retailer awards was the centrepiece of the day with retailers picking up prizes under a range of categories, receiving due recognition for their resilience and innovation through turbulent trading years.

These are the results:

Marketing & Social Media

Joint Winners:

Natural Health Store, Wexford
A new website and full-functioning eCommerce store with 4,500 products and more added daily, together with a new VIP Club Newsletter and Webchat feature. There’s even an array of holistic gifts and crystals with monthly special offers, plus a blog and recipe section.
Pictured (right): Patrick Meehan, Natural Health Store, Wexford and Kilkenny receiving the award from Sharon Munn-Giddings of New Natural Business.

Dr Clare Apothecary, Galway
Using the Trading Online Voucher Scheme, this store has upgraded everything online including a webstore, and now has more than 5,000 YouTube subscribers and a clean list of Instagram and Facebook followers, monthly newsletters and a free herbal course.

Highly Commended:

Only Natural, Wexford
For its post-pandemic revamp including strong links with education and local producers and a relaunched webshop.

Remedies, Dungarvan
For social media campaigns supporting ‘Buy Local’ and new initiatives on Instagram.

Environmental Initiatives


The Hopsack, Dublin
A powerful and selfless initiative to tackle waste, including a Keep Cup library of branded coffee cups which could cut the waste of more than 1400 cups a week, plus charges for paper bags donated to charity and a range of environmental controls, despite the cost to the business.

Highly Commended:

Organico, Bantry
For its dry goods and cleaning liquids refill area and comprehensive recycling policy.

Healing Harvest, Kinvara
For its support of local environment groups and an ever-expanding range of cleaning and bodycare refills.

Training & Education


Evergreen Healthfoods, Galway
How better to further advance such a strong training programme than to develop an in-house training platform to help store teams strive for excellence in product knowledge and customer service?
Pictured right: Keiran Hurley of Evergreen

Highly Commended:

Golden Health Store, Longford
All staff have the Customer Care Protocol, some hold the HFI diploma and Certificate and all are encouraged and paid to attend functional medicine and herbal courses.

Health Store, Galway
For its funding of a variety of external training on top of HFI courses.

Community Engagement

Joint winners:

Open Sesame, Gort
The owner of this store has tirelessly devoted time and resources to a River Walk campaign that has become a focal point for the community, including using her store and social media as a fundraising HQ.

Healthy Haven, Thurles
All local campaigns are supported with vouchers and hampers, schools are engaged with projects and work experience, plus a busy programme of local presentations on various health aspects.

Highly Commended:

Loop de Loop, Castletownbere
Sponsorship of community programmes, numerous talks and demonstrations for local groups and support for sports clubs and activity groups.

Nice & Natural, Cootehill
Strong support for the community including backing for the Christmas Market and assisting Cancer Care, plus a prime spot for local producers.

Local Food Champion


Health Connection, Ennis
Winner of The Sally McKenna Plaque for two years running, this store trades with more than 100 local and Irish producers, all highlighted across social media platforms and loved by the customers.
Pictured right: Health Connection's Olivia Cahalane

Highly Commended:

Fruit ‘n Nut, Portlaoise
Bakery and dairy delivered twice a week and a depot for local organic produce.

Food For Life, Callan
Local producers take pride of place in window displays backed by social media campaigns supporting ‘buy local’.

Innovation & Business Development

Joint winners:

Simple Simon’s, Donegal
A new upstairs restaurant combined with a health food store and deli, offering fresh local food and vegan and gluten-free options doubled staff numbers last year. Spare a thought for the dedicated manager who raised funds with 12 ocean dips in December!

Horan’s Healthstores, Tralee
Two new branches opened recently – in Dun Laoghaire and Sligo – taking the number of stores to 17, plus a nomination for a Digital Business Ireland award.

Pictured: Deirdre Murphy of Horan's

Highly commended

Natures Hand, Limerick
A commendable initiative to hold Green Friday instead of Black Friday to highlight Irish products and companies.

Evolv, Enniscorthy
This store has developed three products recently, each unique to the Irish market and technically distinct from their branded competitors, helping to capitalise on being an advice-based business.

Best Newcomer


Celestial Times, Kilrush
This is a new store in town since last year, part of the local Business Alliance, with lots of knowledge to share while helping the community and is now expanding its local organic produce offer.

Highly commended:

Horan’s, Sligo
No stranger to business expansion and numerous awards, this chain is expanding from its Munster base and delighting new customers everywhere through its comprehensive online presence.

Winners in the New Natural Business/Health Stores Ireland Retailer Awards

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