In search of excellence

Related tags Food manufacture excellence Food

In search of excellence
The Food Manufacture Excellence Awards, now in their sixth year, recognise the very best in the UK's food and drink sector. An independent panel of judges, including experts in continuous improvement and customers from retail and foodservice, will select those that deserve particular praise

There are some great people out there, working in progressive companies and doing some truly amazing things in food and drink manufacture. But they don't always get the recognition they deserve. And that's precisely why the Food Manufacture​ Excellence Awards were set up: to provide a stage upon which to celebrate the achievements of these unsung heroes of the industry.

Now in their sixth year, the Excellence Awards - to be presented at a glittering awards ceremony at the Dorchester in London on Tuesday October 31- are the industry's Oscars for continuous improvement across the sector.

It is often said that anyone can be successful with unlimited resources and a 'state-of-the-art' factory, supplying customers in growth sectors where margins are healthy.

However, it's much more difficult to be successful when you are selling into mature markets; with production constraints and to very demanding retail and foodservice customers that expect you to be innovative while keeping your costs to a minimum.

Today, manufacturers are also faced with the political backdrop of health issues; a tougher regulatory environment; and a national press which is frequently antagonistic. And then there are consumers who want indulgence and health in the same product! We want food and drink that protects us from obesity without the need for us to make lifestyle changes - a tall order indeed!

Not all firms succeed in such a difficult and competitive environment, as recent high profile failures have proved only too graphically.

But some not only survive, they actually thrive on the challenges with which they are presented. And these are precisely the sort of companies for which the Food Manufacture​ Excellence Awards aim to provide recognition: not necessarily the biggest; nor ones that are awash with cash - simply the best.


Entries are judged within nine manufacturing categories:

  • Ambient and general groceries
  • Bakery
  • Beverages
  • Chilled ready meals and prepared foods
  • Confectionery
  • Dairy
  • Frozen foods
  • Meat and poultry
  • Seafood

As well as a winner from each sector, the judges will also select the best overall winner, which will be awarded the prestigious Food Manufacture​ Company of the Year​ title, sponsored by Food Manufacture​.

There is also the Judges' Special Award​, which will be presented to a company that has achieved excellence in a specific area of activity.

This year, entry to the Food Manufacture​ Excellence Awards was simplified to make it much easier for entrants to submit their entries. The entry form - also available on-line at​ - was divided into six separate sections covering the six criteria upon which entries would be judged: supply chain improvement; quality assurance and food safety; process innovation; environmental management; human resource development; and new product developing and marketing. All entrants needed to do was submit details and supporting evidence, where available, in at least three of the six categories.

Following the successful launch of the Food Manufacture​ Skills Excellence Awards last year, companies have once more been invited to enter this year's awards, which are again sponsored by Improve, the food and drink sector skills council and Pepsico for the Diversity in Recruitment award.

The three awards in the skills category are:

  • Apprenticeships
  • Productivity through skills
  • Diversity in recruitment

Again entry forms were available on-line.

For more details about the awards contact: Emma Wiles​ on 01293 867630


The Food Manufacture​ Company of the Year is selected from the nine individual category winners. Last year's recipient of this coveted title was Tryton Foods. Previous winners have included other well known companies, such as Ginsters and Coca-Cola Enterprises.

Much anticipation will surround this year's winner. To find out how you can be one of the first to know, contact: Emma Wiles​ on 01293 867630.


Pinsent Masons' specialist Food & Drink Team acts for UK and international companies throughout the commercial food chain - from producers and processors through to retailers.

In addition to advising on the core legal issues that affect most businesses, Pinsent Masons has specialists in food and drink-specific legal areas, such as labelling, food safety, hygiene, health claims and the application of radio frequency identification (RFID) technology within the food and drink supply chain. The company understands what makes food and drink businesses tick: the commercial pressures manufacturers face; the opportunities open to them; and the challenges they need to negotiate. Pinsent Masons can work with companies to provide legal advice that protects their business interests and actively adds to the bottom line. Whether looking for legal advice at the moment or not, the firm would be happy to talk to companies to learn more about their business needs.

Pinsent Masons

Contact: Linda Crow​, Head of the Food & Drink Team on 0845 300 32 32


Bacteria in all environments are a fact of life. But the question is: in hygiene conscious industries such as the food industry, how can we best control bacteria levels and potential cross contamination? BioCote provides antimicrobial technology that will control bacteria levels and reduce them to a minimum in between regular cleaning procedures. BioCote technology is not a replacement for cleaning but a complement to regular cleaning procedures.

The technology used by BioCote is based upon silver, therefore the antimicrobial will not break down and leach out or rub off surfaces with the technology. BioCote technology is proven to remain effective for the useful life of the product.

BioCote technology is up to 99.9% effective against a wide range of microbes, including salmonella, E-coli and Listeria. BioCote works with equipment manufacturers, providing them with the knowledge and technology to deliver antimicrobial products to the food industry.

Clinical trials have also been launched at Birmingham Heartlands Hospital, where products are BioCote protected.

It is now possible to take advantage of the 'in between cleans protection' that BioCote provides in the food industry by using products manufactured by Comark, DEB, Link Lockers and Burgess Ceilings.


Tel: 01902 824450

Fax: 01902 824453


Vandemoortele is proud to once again sponsor the Bakery category of the Food Manufacture​ Excellence Awards 2006.

Vandemoortele operates in 12 European countries, offering its business-to-business customers excellent ingredients from 19 factories. Products available in the UK range from sophisticated margarine and 'artisan' breads, to speciality shortenings and mouthwatering continental patisserie.

Turnover in 2005 rose to euro 857M generating a euro 37M net profit. Vandemoortele employs 3,200 staff.

As a major producer of margarine and fat for the bakery sector; running some of Europe's largest, high quality bakery factories; and as a supplier to very demanding bakery businesses; Vandemoortele has embedded the concept of excellence in its own activities, products and in its business partners. Vandemoortele's customers are provided with products that exceed their expectations.

Vandemoortele believes that it is only by fostering excellence that the enterprise it shares with its customers will succeed in the increasingly demanding commercial environment of the future.


London office - Tel: 0208 814 7802

Liverpool office - Tel: 0151 242 0870


British Sugar is a leading UK sugar supplier, meeting diverse market needs from soft drinks to bakery, and chocolate to pharmaceutical. This diversity drives its product development programme and the introduction of new speciality sugars such as the highly successful Celebration range.

These products are the result of listening to customers with both problem-solving and market opportunities forming the basis on which they are successfully developed. In many ways, this approach epitomises British Sugar's central core value: excellence in customer service.

Sponsoring the beverage category reflects the strategic importance of this market; with the company's interests covering carbonated, alcoholic, dilutables, high-juice, functional and hot drinks. With two liquid sugar plants, British Sugar is able to match response time to the rapid changes of demand brought about by seasonal changes - a critical factor in the relationships it has with its customers.

British Sugar is very pleased to be involved with this award category, as it knows it will bring out the very best from manufacturers in the sector and continue to set the standard for the future.

British Sugar

Tel: 0800 0688 022

Fax: 01733 422967

Email: vasb@oevgvfufhtne.pb.hx


Jarvis Johnson is one of the leading providers of specialist interim and permanent recruitment solutions for the food and drink industry. The company recruits for this sector alone and its ever-increasing portfolio of satisfied customers includes many chilled ready meals and prepared foods manufacturers.

Established in 1999, the company has built up unrivalled expertise in resourcing, covering both permanent roles and short-term interim contracts. It has a growing database of over 13,000 candidates from technologists through to managing directors - all with food industry expertise.

Jarvis Johnson's interim managers are highly qualified and skilled, and are immediately available for assignments in all functions. Jarvis Johnson applies the same sense of urgency and proven methodology when briefed on permanent roles to ensure the very best candidates are available to its clients.

When dealing with Jarvis Johnson companies can expect quality, experience, professionalism and value from a team that is totally dedicated to doing it right. Jarvis Johnson - a zest for recruitment, a passion for excellence.

Jarvis Johnson

Tel: 01302 760 176

Fax: 01302 763 010

Email: vasb@wneivfwbuafba.pb.hx


S A Partners is the longest serving 'lean enterprise' consultancy in the UK. It has been applying lean principles to its clients' businesses since 1993. It has a no-nonsense approach; plus breadth and depth of experience with consultants and specialists from a variety of industry backgrounds. These ensure it understands its clients' needs.

S A Partners' people are all experienced practitioners who live and demonstrate the company's business values, which centre around excellence, simplicity and integrity. They enjoy what they do, while remaining focused on their clients' businesses.

The capabilities the company offers include strategic management, supply chain development, lean enterprise, six sigma, and change management - the complete lean solution. The company's specialists work as facilitators, coaches and mentors. They use proven techniques that enable the their clients to reduce waste and achieve sustainable, profitable growth.

S A Partners has a successful track record in food manufacturing and is delighted to sponsor the Confectionery category.

S A Partners

Contact: Carmen Crocker​ on 01443 844048 or fax: 01443 844034


Air Products serves customers in technology, energy, healthcare and industrial markets worldwide with a unique portfolio of products, services and solutions, providing atmospheric gases, process and speciality gases, performance materials and chemical intermediates.

In 1965, the company helped pioneer the use of liquid nitrogen for ultra-fast food freezing. Since then, it has been helping food industry customers use the latest gas-based technologies in all kinds of applications - from tunnel, batch and immersion freezing to modified atmosphere packaging, waste water treatment and more.

In fact, Air Products has derived many of its greatest product innovations from problems its customers asked it to solve.

Whether your packaging, cooling, chilling or freezing applications include bakery goods, fruit and vegetables, poultry, meats, ready meals or anything in-between, Air Products' Freshline solutions offer you the high-purity gases and equipment, the international supply capability, and - most important - the unmatched industry experience and technical support to help you succeed, just about anywhere in the world. Ask Air Products ... and expect more.

Air Products works closely with its customers to select the optimal supply solution for their food applications: single cylinders; on-site gas generation systems; bulk; and microbulk.

Air Products

Tel: 0800 389 0202

Fax: 01932 258 502

Email: serfuyv@nvecebqhpgf.pbz


Christian Salvesen manages outsourced logistics for manufacturing and retail customers in the food, consumer and industrial sectors through a network of sites covering the Benelux, France, Portugal, Spain and the UK. Salvesen has been market leader in the Benelux and the UK in the frozen sector, and also in Spain and Portugal in the chilled sector.

The company operates seven shared user frozen sites and a distribution network that targets a very high level of service to retail and wholesale distribution centres throughout the UK. Recent investments in infrastructure have further improved its capability to deliver.

Following significant management changes over the past few years, Salvesen is now a customer focused organisation, which is aiming to expand its range of services with both existing and new customers. The company continues to build on its long-standing relationships with a number of blue chip customers, by winning new business at the same time as investing in advanced technology to provide customers with improved information.

Christian Salvesen is proud to be associated with leading food manufacturers as it continues to develop its services to the food industry in the UK.

Christian Salvesen

Tel: 01604 759900

Fax: 01604 584101


Macphie of Glenbervie is the UK's leading independent food ingredients manufacturer. Last year, it was recognised as one of the top three employers in the UK food manufacturing industry, in a survey conducted by Food Manufacture​. The company's passion for food technology combined with an understanding of 21st Century consumers makes it a trusted partner for leading bakers, chefs, foodservice operators and food manufacturers.

Macphie has nearly 80 years of expertise developing innovative food ingredients. Its wide range includes: cake and bread mixes; sweet and savoury sauces; desserts; cream alternatives; glazes; icings and fillings; and release agents. These guarantee optimum taste, versatility and convenience.

It also manufactures a range of customised, added-value meal components, for ready-to-cook meals, ready meals and foodservice operators. These include sweet and savoury sauces, soups, flavoured butters, stuffings, marinades and glazes. These meal components are developed by chefs for chefs, using fresh, authentic ingredients of the highest quality.

A range of different packaging formats is also available, including: Tetra Paks; bag-in-box; pails; re-sealable bags; one-tonne bulk units; Cryovac bulk bags (5-10kg); sachets (60g-6kg); and a range of individually quick frozen (IQF) pellets and extruded logs.

Macphie can help to problem-solve, give hands-on demonstrations, recipe ideas, and identify areas where best practice can be applied. Its name stands for innovation, creativity, quality and service.

Macphie of Glenbervie

Tel: 01569 740641

Email: vasb@znpcuvr.pbz


International Laboratory Services (ILS) is a leading supplier of contract food testing, offering a comprehensive range of microbiology and chemistry analyses.

ILS, based in purpose-built facilities in rural Derbyshire, is one of the finest equipped and most professional contract testing and consultancy organisations in Europe. Divided into separate divisions, it works for both the food and pharmaceutical industries providing a total quality service to its clients.

Within its testing facilities, which are amongst the most extensive and best equipped in Europe, it provides a wide variety of microbiological, chemical, nutritional and sensory analysis.

The services it offers are of the highest standard and quality. ILS achieved UKAS accreditation in 1991 and was one of the first laboratories to achieve accreditation to the new ISO 1725 standard. It offers one of the most extensive range of tests in the UK.


Tel: 01332 793000

Email: zxg@vyfznvy.pb.hx


Improve, the food and drink sector skills council, is responsible for determining the key elements of apprenticeship programmes for the sector, designing new frameworks, and reviewing and revising existing ones to ensure they are fit for purpose, and reflect employers' needs.

This year, Improve has developed a Young Apprenticeship in Food and Drink Manufacturing for school pupils aged 14-16, which is being trialled from September 2006. This is the first time young people will be able to achieve a vocational qualification in food and drink while still at school.

The frameworks for the two levels of bakery apprenticeship have been revised, cutting down the hours apprentices spend in the classroom and ensuring more practical skills are delivered. In Scotland, the framework for the modern apprenticeship in meat and poultry processing has been updated with input from employers.

A quarterly apprenticeship newsletter, The Source, is also available.


Tel: 0845 644 0448

Email: vasb@vzcebirygq.pb.hx


PepsiCo is one of the world's most prestigious organisations, with brands in over 200 countries, more than 140,000 employees worldwide and global revenues reaching $29bn.

Incorporating well known food and drink brands such as Walkers, Pepsi, Quaker, PJ Smoothies and Tropicana in the UK, PepsiCo UK & Ireland was formed in 2004 and has grown rapidly ever since.

At the cutting edge of the fast moving consumer goods industry, PepsiCo is constantly striving to innovate across every area of the organisation, not only with new products and company growth, but also in developing its people.

With more than 5,000 people playing a critical role within the £1bn UK business, the company embraces diversity and different ways of thinking, recognising its value in driving innovation and world-class performance.

From 10 key sites in the UK, PepsiCo manufactures and delivers snacks on a massive scale. 17M bags of crisps are handled by the Leicester distribution centre each day, while the 10-storey production area in Southall covers 21,925m2 and its delivery fleet travel the equivalent of 13 trips around the world each week. PepsiCo is a truly global company, but one that recognises the achievements of each individual.


Contact: Nicola Eddy​ on: 0115 947 7999 or fax: 0115 941 7593


Improve, the food and drink sector skills council, is dedicated to driving up manufacturing workforce skills to help employers achieve world-class productivity and higher profits.

A crucial initiative towards this end is the development of the first Skills Academy in food and drink, which Improve hopes to launch this September. It aims to strengthen UK food and drink manufacturing against international competition and drive the sector forward to become the most productive in the world. The Skills Academy is being shaped and will be governed by employers to ensure training programmes meet employers' needs.

Improve is also engaged in numerous other major projects to drive up skills, including a groundbreaking initiative to create a qualifications framework - the sector's first comprehensive, fully co-ordinated system of progressive, work-related qualifications. Improve is leading on the development of the new Manufacturing Diploma for 14-19 year-olds, which will be available from September 2009.

Other ongoing projects include: introducing the Green Card, the sector's first 'skills passport'; designing new apprenticeship programmes; and devising frameworks for foundation degrees.


Tel: 0845 644 0448

Fax: 0845 644 0449

Email: vasb@vzcebirygq.pb.hx


Company of the Year:

Tryton Foods

Ambient and general groceries:

Worldwide Fruit


Memory Lane Cakes


Hork Norton Brewery

Chilled ready meals and prepared foods:

Greencore Chilled Sauces and Soups


Müller UK

Frozen foods:

Tryton Foods


Cumbrian Seafood

Best Newcomer

Focused Nutrition

Judges' Special Award

The Glenmorangie Company


Hygrade Cooked Meats

Diversity in recruitment:

Memory Lane Cakes

Productivity Through Skills:

Müller UK



Rick Pendrous​ - Chairman of judges,

Food Manufacture​ editor

Steve Adams​ - Coca-Cola Enterprises,

Site operations manager

Jonathon Bayne​ - Musgrave Budgens-Londis, Technical development controller

Darren Blackhurst​ - ASDA, Trading director

Mark Colvin​ - Leanpal, Consultant

Sarah Gray​ - Compass Group,

Technical services manager

Liz Jarman​ - Sainsbury,

Head of product technology

Alan Speight​ - Food Solutions Associates,


Kevin Swoffer​ - BRC,

Head of technical services

Andy Underwood​ - Brakes,

Commercial director

Ian Weare​ - Suiko WCS, Consultant

Jon Woolven​ - IGD,

Strategy and Food Chain Centre Director

Paul Wilkinson​ - Improve, Chairman


Rick Pendrous​ - Chairman of judges,

Food Manufacture​ editor

Andy Child​ - Jobcentre Plus,

External partnerships manager

Derek Williams​ - Improve,

Development director

Follow us

Featured Jobs

View more


Food Manufacture Podcast

Listen to the Food Manufacture podcast