Also in contention are Perween Warsi, founder and chief executive of S&A Foods, Judy Buttriss, director general, British Nutrition Foundation (BNF), James Lambert, chief executive of R&R Ice Cream, and TV chef and environmental campaigner Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.
To place your vote for one of our six shortlisted candidates, click here .
Need help to make your mind up? Here’s a brief reminder of their achievements:
Judy Buttriss: As well as leading a charity dedicated to raising public awareness about the science of nutrition, Buttriss is a high-profile ambassador for the BNF itself. Under her leadership, the organisation has expanded its reach – working with teachers in schools.
Michael Clarke: Clarke has won the respect of City analysts for his rescue plan for debt-laden food giant Premier Foods. His policy of disposing on non- core businesses and focusing on eight so-called Power Brands, while dealing with a damaging botulism outbreak linked to Loyd Grossman sauce, seems to be paying off. With Clarke at the helm, reviving Premier was definitely “not mission impossible,” one analyst concluded.
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall: Earlier this year the TV chef lead a high-profile campaign to ban fish discards based on his Channel 4 TV series Fish Fight. More than 650,000 people signed his petition including celebrity supporters Stephen Fry, Ricky Gervais and Jeremy Paxman. In June, EU fisheries ministers reached agreement on ending fish discards.
James Lambert: Yorkshire farmer turned ice cream magnate aims to build an ice cream business to rival market leader Unilever in Europe. Successive acquisitions – including Eskigel in Italy last week – is keeping the firm on course to achieve that objective. In addition to acquisitions, Lambert has forged key partnerships with firms such as Kraft Foods and Nestlé.
Levi Roots: Founder of the Reggae Reggae brand, Levi Roots has carved out a reputation as an approachable food entrepreneur, who is grounded in south London community. His growing portfolio includes chilled meals, snacks, soft drinks and pasties. High on his list of priorities for this year is cracking the US market.
Perween Warsi: From Derby housewife to Curry Queen, Perween Warsi has is the boss of a £70M turnover ethnic meals business employing 600 people. Warsi is also a passionate champion for women in UK business through her involvement with the London based organisation Everywoman.
So, who will you vote for? Click here to make your selection.
The winner will be presented with his or her award at the Food Manufacturing Excellence Awards to be staged at the Hilton Hotel, London on November 5 - bonfire night. It's one night that is sure to go with a bang.
In their own words:
Judy Butriss: “The obesity situation has not arrived overnight and it will take a while to change the habits of a lifetime and to see this reflected in statistics. But there is some light at the end of the tunnel – obesity in children seems to have plateaued.”
Michael Clarke: “How could it [the business] have let itself get itself into this state?” (Clarke’s first thoughts on taking over Premier Food last August.)
James Lambert: “I fully expect the Kraft deal to transform the European business in much the same way as the 2001 acquistion of the Nestlé ice cream business changed our UK operations.”
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall: “We want to see a discards ban. Half a million tonnes of fish – including prime cod – are thrown away every year because fishermen are over quota.”
Levi Roots: "I was one of 30 people waiting to see the dragons and someone [another candidate] came up to me and said: 'What's your USP [unique selling point]? "I held up my guitar and said: 'This is my USP.' There are two things I am passionate about; food and music. I wasn't there to sell my sauce but to show my passion for the sauce that I knew could out-sell Heinz Tomato Ketchup."
Perween Warsi: "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."