Ethnic food entrepreneur Perween Warsi has landed a top award – Food Personality of the Year – in the Food Manufacturing Excellence Awards (FMEA): the Oscars of the food and drink manufacturing industry.
This award is made to someone who has made a significant contribution to the sector over the past year, whether by brokering deals, transforming the fortunes of his or her business, or simply delivering exceptional results.
Warsi’s achievements were recognised in front of hundreds of guests at a gala awards ceremony at the Hilton Park Lane, London on Monday (November 5). The founder and chief executive of S&A Foods received her trophy from Mick Doxford, UK sales and marketing manager of Q8, which sponsored this category.
TV celebrity chef
They were joined on stage by the awards presenter TV celebrity chef Simon Rimmer who hosts Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch.
The award judges − led by Paul Wilkinson, who chairs the food and drink sector skills council Improve – said “Perween Warsi is an astute businesswoman. But she is also a doughty champion of women in business. She is no stranger to awards, having received an MBE in 1997 followed by a CBE in 2002 for her various activities – both nationally and locally. So, it is most fitting that she should now receive recognition from her peers in the food and drink sector.”
Rick Pendrous, Editor of our sister title Food Manufacture, said: “The FMEA recognise and reward the UK’s very best food and drink manufacturing companies. I am delighted that Perween won the Personality of the Year Award – it was richly deserved.”
The winner fought off stiff competition from short-listed candidates: Judy Buttriss, director general, British Nutrition Foundation; Michael Clarke, chief executive, Premier Foods; Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, TV personality and chef; James Lambert, chief executive, R&R Ice Cream; and Levi Roots, food entrepreneur.
The award is made to an individual chosen from a shortlist of candidates proposed by the Food Manufacture editorial team. More than 90,000 readers of FoodManufacture.co.uk were then invited to vote for their favourite candidates.
Meanwhile, Birds Eye brand owner Iglo Foods Group won the coveted Food Manufacturing Company of the Year Award and the Frozen Foods Manufacturing Company of the Year Awards.
For the full list of winners and shortlisted candidates, click here .
More information about the big night and a full gallery of photos is available at our awards website .
Perween Warsi – at a glance
- Boss of ethnic ready meal manufacturer S&A Foods, which has a £70M turnover
- Employs 600 people
- Champions the advancement of women in business
- Works with the London-based organisation Everywoman
Warsi – in her own words
- On S&A’s commitment to quality: “What I didn't want to do was compromise on the Wow Factor and the taste. It was a very big challenge, but I was really proud of my team; working together we made that happen.”
- On modern food culture: “The fascination with food has seeped through from the foodies and cooks to the general consumers. And it is great for us because it means they have become a lot braver and are willing to try new things, which gives me the licence to try new things.”
- On the economy: “We live in a tough economic situation. It's about working with your customer, with trust and transparency and honesty to say: 'Well, this is the situation, how do we solve it?' But you have to have a reasonable amount of return, otherwise you are not able to invest in the business, invest in your people you can't grow your category.”
Source: interview with our sister title Food Manufacture.