Greencore Chilled Soups & Sauces was unveiled as overall champion of the Food Manufacture Excellence Awards at a lavish dinner at the Marriott, Grosvenor Square, London, on November 13.
The business - crowned Company of the Year - wowed the judges with its variety of achievements. From 2005-2008, the firm almost doubled production, staff numbers and product lines at its Bristol headquarters. Determined to turn the factory into a centre of excellence, the company has invested £2M in new production equipment and £1M in a new cold store.
“Greencore Chilled Soups & Sauces experienced a major refrigeration breakdown [in 2007] - they were out for eight days,” added one judge. “How it handled that speaks volumes.” Another praised its health and safety improvements and added: “You got the feeling it was empowering staff.”
New communications initiatives such as ‘Greencore Solutions’, a new colleague forum and newsletter energised and inspired staff. Meanwhile, the processor has undertaken in-depth customer research for Asda and Sainsbury to boost sales. The business also trumped rivals to come top in the Chilled Ready Meals & Prepared Foods category of the awards.
The awards honour the very best food and drink manufacturing companies, assessing their progress across criteria ranging from category and supply chain management to health, safety and environmental management. Host for the evening was TV sports presenter Steve Rider.
Premier Foods won the Judges Special Award and Mash Direct nailed the Small Company of the Year Award. Of the category winners, Greencore Grocery won the day in Ambient & General Groceries.
Peters Food Service swung the judges’ votes in its favour in the bakery & confectionery category, while in dairy, it was Kerrygold that made the best impression on the judges. The frozen foods award went to Greencore Frozen Foods, while Aimia Foods was described by the judges as “a worthy winner” in hot & cold beverages. In meat, poultry & seafood, Lossie Seafoods scooped the award. The firm had achieved an impressive array of savings and had tripled net profit in 2007-2008.
In the Skills Excellence Awards, Premier Foods’ Natalie Scott, a senior operative at Premier Foods, Methwold, was the winner in the apprenticeships category. Greencore Group won the productivity through skills trophy and for diversity in recruitment, Gibsons Foods pipped the opposition for its exemplary work in the deprived area of Ellesmere Port.
The Personality of The Year award winner, as voted for by industry peers via an online poll, was Philip McIvor, chairman of Farmhouse Biscuits. The title goes to someone who has significantly contributed to the sector in the past year by transforming their own business or by furthering the interests of the wider industry.
For more information, and pictures of the evening, visit http://www.foodmanawards.co.uk/page/home.html.